I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now that REI, one of the nation’s largest outdoor gear and equipment retailer, will be closed on Black Friday. They’re promoting it with their website and hashtag OptOutside. That’s cool and all. And I’m equally impressed and envious that something like this didn’t happen when I worked in retail years ago. But I’m going to take it one step further, and twist it in a slightly different direction. Follow me, won’tcha?
As you know, I’m an RRCA certified running coach. Through the network of coaches, I’ve met and engaged with some truly amazing, tremendous people. I’ve been mentored by the best of the best, and I’ve even garnered my own coach from this group. He’s an incredible person and I’m truly honored that he’s been such a great mentor and coach.
I’ve also met another incredible person named Eric. Eric is one of the founding members of Track Friday. In 2012, after Hurricane Sandy, Eric challenged himself to run a marathon on a track if he could raise $5,000 in a three week timeframe for the Hurricane Sandy relief effort. One thing led to another, and the series of events that have unfolded between now and then has seen charitable contributions, donations, and runners and walkers all over the country raising over $60,000 in just three short years.
When I heard of Eric’s organization and mission, I knew I wanted in. As a former retail employee, I have grown to loathe the day after Thanksgiving. Everything about it drives me crazy. From stores opening at 6:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day to the fights that break out over dolls and televisions to the “blackout” vacation dates the retail workers can’t take off during the holiday season. America, let’s face it. You’re a mess. We need to fix things and we need to fix them now.
I’m honored to be taking part in Track Friday this year, and I hope I can encourage you to participate. You can participate by choosing your own cause, organization, or charity to donate or fundraise for — or you can donate to the cause I’ve chosen. Let me tell you about mine…
I’ve chosen to fundraise for InMotion. InMotion is a non-profit community and facility created for and dedicated to those afflicted with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. InMotion offers lectures, fitness classes (yoga, cycling, boxing — to name a few), art and wellness courses, and provides many other services to those in need. The best part? Services provided are all free of charge. Which means one thing — all the funding for InMotion comes from private donations, grants, and sponsorship funds.
Why did I choose InMotion? Several years ago, I chose my OB/GYN by the name and face of a nice lady named Karen Jaffe. Karen is an amazing person and I liked her, but I moved away and used someone else as my doctor. I moved back and a few years ago became pregnant with my daughter. I went back to see Dr. Jaffe and she gave me world class care. She answered all my questions, swapped running stories with me (she’s the one that inspired me to run a marathon!), and was generally a fantastic person to have in my corner. She calmed my many unfounded fears throughout pregnancy and kept things real. Just how I like ’em. Well, after I had my daughter, I received a letter in the mail stating Dr. Jaffe was retiring due to her battle with Parkinson’s disease. I was floored. I had no idea she had this disease and I was immediately saddened and felt so guilty that I had never known through all my months under her care. The next time I saw her, at my follow up appointment, we briefly discussed her condition and I gave her a big hug and then we parted ways.
I’ve kept in contact with her over the last couple years, and I hope to continue to do so, but I chose InMotion because it’s close to her heart — and now mine. Dr. Jaffe is a founding member of InMotion and it affects her both personally and professionally. I want to give back to her for all the wonderful care she gave me throughout my time as her patient. I feel it’s the least I can do to pay it back to her.
Now that you know some history and my goal, here’s how Track Friday works. I chose InMotion as my organization. My goal is to raise $300 in the next three weeks. I will be at the track on the Friday after Thanksgiving running a few recovery laps. (I’m hesitant to pinpoint an exact distance since I’m still coming back from injury.) In the next couple weeks I’m going to hit up as many people as possible to join me at the track and/or to donate to my cause.
You can participate, too! You can find a location on the Track Friday website, or if you want to participate virtually with me, post your selfie from Track Friday and use the tags #TrackFriday and #WeRunCLE to show your support! You can find your own charity, organization, or cause to support and make the Track Friday personal for you. The goal of Track Friday is to get people moving, supportive, and to show thanks and gratitude on a holiday based on thanks and gratitude.
What else can you do to help? SPREAD THE WORD! Tell everyone you know about Track Friday, our goals, and how to get involved. The more the merrier, so let’s hear it!
Questions? I’d love to help! Please comment below, contact me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and I’ll be happy to answer all your questions!
Will YOU be participating in Track Friday this year? Do you have an organization to support in mind?