Let me tell you about my BREAST FRIENDS!

Last year, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the incredible team of ambassadors for 26.2 with DONNA, the National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer. In addition to working with a talented team of passionate runners to spread awareness and train for an incredible cause, we created something even more incredible – a sense of community, all guided by the uplifting philosophy of event namesake Donna Deegan that with facing cancer, embracing LOVE over FEAR is the first step to moving forward and accomplishing the seemingly impossible.

With Donna (THE Donna!)
With Donna (THE Donna!)

It was an interesting mindset to consider, but one that has truly changed my life. So many times, when we see messaging about cancer, it’s about FIGHTING. BATTLING. Now, this may seem motivational to some, but I think we lose some strength when we think of challenges as negative entities. When facing breast cancer, instead, why not think of the diagnosis as something to RISE ABOVE and to simply FINISH, so we can get back to life, and our loved ones?

Last year, I shared a story by a good friend, Suzanne, where she shared her thoughts on CHOOSING LOVE, and each word she wrote fell right in step with that of Donna’s in her book – so really, two brilliant strong women, sharing the same message of hope and love? Yeah, that CANNOT be a coincidence!

When the 2015 ambassador application popped back up, there was no question that I’d be back, if the team would have me! On top of having one of the best marathon experiences ever (and my 3rd best finish time), I was able to re-connect with fabulous running pals as well as meet “IRL (in real life)” so many of the people who I’d been working with for months.

I could go on and on about how special the relationships are that I have made from running (future lonnnnnggggg post) but I cannot express just how very lucky I am to have met Elisabeth as part of the DONNA experience.

unnamed
E and Me!

An experienced runner, current Atlantian (is that a word, LOL) and all-around-awesome person, Elisabeth is one of those people that you are instantly drawn to. She’s funny, super duper smart, and is always up for a crazy adventure. In fact, after the race this year, we even discussed the idea of taking on 110! We were realllllllly close to committing too, but in the long run (I am so punny) we decided that both of our winter race schedules were a little too packed to take it on next year – and we loved the 5K a little too much to miss it (stay tuned, of course, as we look ahead to 2016 and beyond…) so 2015, we are OFFICIALLY in for what shall henceforth be referred to as our 29.3 with DONNA Weekend! 🙂

So, to make a long story longer…DONNA is so much more than a race. It’s a spirit. It’s all-encompassing. It’s LOVE. AND OMG this year’s team is AS STRONG AS EVER. We’ve got some returning ambassadors mixed in with some new teammates, even a few incredible survivors, ready to dedicate their energy and heart!

Next question – are YOU in yet?

Register NOW with Ambassador Code “AmbLuv15” for $10 OFF for the half, full or relay option – and don’t forget to mention that you learned about the race from us!

Not able to travel to Jacksonville in February?

Why not check out the Virtual Options? Of course, you may also make a DONNAtion (hehe) to our fundraising efforts HERE, as I work to raise my goal of $2,620. Your donations are safe, secure, and tax-deductible, and truly, every dollar counts, so thank you to all my past and future donors for doing your part to FINISHING breast cancer for good! After all, I am SO thankful for the friendships that I’ve been able to make while working for this cause, but I’d love it EVEN MORE if all our work means we can keep friends, wives, sisters, moms (and dads, and brothers, and husbands!!) out of harms way.

Stay tuned to the blog for more updates on the fundraising, training and more (I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT WHAT’S COMING UP IN JUST A FEW WEEKS!!)…and as always, PLEASE feel free to comment, leave your questions, suggestions and ideas for me – I read each and every one! Or, email me – khiguchi at gmail dot com – if you’d prefer!

Current Awareness Promotions:

 

Welcome to PINKtober!

showyourcolors
2014 Photo Challenge!

2013/2014 was the first season that 26.2 with DONNA introduced the Ambassador Role. With a December roll out, we still had plenty of time to spread word about the event, the cause, and of course, to fundraise, but we missed out on garnering support during one of the biggest opportunities for spreading awareness – October.

Well, we’re not missing the chance this year! 🙂

While some may argue that specific awareness months may not always bring desired results (check this article for more), as an Ambassador (and fan) of the 26.2 with DONNA organization, I am honored to share the message and fundraise for the ONLY marathon in the United States dedicated solely to raising money for breast cancer research, care and awareness.

Of course, it is a lot to ask that people open both their hearts and wallets, so in addition to seeking funds, I think it’s important to also have a little fun when it comes to spreading awareness – so I created this challenge on Instagram to get the conversation started.

So, how does it work? Pretty easy! All you need is an Instagram account and a fun-seeking attitude! Next, follow these steps:

  1. Re-post the image you see above – it’s on my Instagram account. You can do this by taking a screen shot, or using a re-post application on your smartphone.
  2. Play! Each day in October, capture an image that fits the day’s challenge. Be sure to use hashtags #showyourcolors and #runDONNA so I can see it!
  3. WIN! Yes, there ARE prizes! I will be scrolling through the hashtags each week and awarding one participant a week.

And what, you ask, are the prizes? I thought you’d never ask!

BCAMbracelet

 

Each week, ONE participant will win a pink PURA VIDA bracelet and at the end of the challenge, one participant will be chosen to win the bracelet pack with a variety of gorgeous pink bracelets that not only look cute, but help spread awareness!*

I am so excited to kick off October, and look forward to hosting even more fun activities and events to get the word out about thinking pink – this month, and all year!

* PURA VIDA is not a sponsor of this challenge, I purchased these on my own as an incentive prize for this photo challenge. No purchase is necessary, but donations are always welcome at my fundraising site.

Seriously Surrounded by Love.

So, yeah, friends. This was a week ago. Just one week ago, we hit the $1K mark and I announced a challenge to keep pushing – and you answered, LOUDLY:

$1,500+!
$1,500+!

I am blown away. Just so thankful, grateful and lucky to be surrounded by an incredible community of supportive friends and family – and this, too:

Help us paint the map PINK! Map updated 1/30/2014
Just AK, WI and KY remain.

I mean…really.

Just like I said in my last thank you note, fundraising is NOT required for this event, but when we learned as an Ambassador Team that ALL proceeds go directly toward patient care and research, we jumped at the opportunity  and since we began fundraising, our team has raised more than $2,500! With a little over three weeks to go til race day, it’s so exciting to be surrounded by so much positive energy!

So, again, I feel like words are just not enough, but know that as I write these words, it bears repeating: THANK YOU. For every donation, every retweet, every share on Facebook – it all means a lot, and it is all going to something so amazing. 

Some important notes:

  • Donations will continue to be accepted on My Fundraising Site through 3/31/2014, but my state challenge goes through 2/22 (so I have time, to y’know, PINK my hair ;)).
  • If you have already donated and are interested in the Oiselle Giveaway, please visit this post to enter. You can tweet for more entries everyday through contest close on 2/7/2014.
  • The “90 percent of registration fees for Outrunning the Monorail Online Coaching” promo is running through 2/23/2014.

 

 

Run to Napa – and a few words on Inspiration

1606887_10152268395498777_1563428910_nWhen the “Run to Napa” contest was announced this week, I was ecstatic. I mean, who wouldn’t be – the opportunity for an all-expense paid trip to an incredible destination with the added bonus of bringing a reader? Wow! I entered immediately, and began to  rally for votes.

Since the voting process is done through Facebook, and is essentially a tally of clicks, within hours, I began to realize that this was a popularity contest that would be challenging to win. Now, I don’t state that in a defeatist way, but as a realistic one – the person with the largest online network is going to be the one who wins. No sour grapes – building up yourself as a brand is rough! However, I did want to take the opportunity to address the theme of the contest, which is Inspiration.

You’ve inspired us and your readers, now we want to invite you to ‘Run to Napa’ with ZOOMA’s inspirational blogger contest,” the image announces…and here, a few days after my first ZOOMA experience, I can definitely attest that attending a ZOOMA event is the perfect venue to celebrate life in a wholly motivating and inspiring atmosphere. But, if this contest is measuring the MOST inspirational blogger, is that synonymous with the highest number of votes? I can see both sides of that argument, and over the past few days, have been working to express my thoughts on the matter.

As much as I believe that I am AN inspirational blogger, I know 100 percent that I am not THE most inspirational blogger. I receive messages, emails, and simple notes from readers, twitter followers, and fellow bloggers, which is incredibly gratifying to me, and provides the inspiration for me to continue to share my stories. To my husband’s chagrin, I don’t make money off of my blog – I do it for the love of it, and do my best to keep it free of senseless advertisements, choosing instead to highlight products/services I actually use, and when a sponsored opportunity comes about, any income it produces goes toward charity – either my own fundraising efforts, or that of a fellow charity runner.

My story, in itself, as not the most inspirational one – I mean, I started running to get active, and almost four years later, I’ve learned a lot, shared a lot, and have discovered my love of endurance events. I train regularly to achieve my goals. With the right mindset, I really do believe that you can do anything.

No, I am not the most inspirational, but through my blog, I have had so many amazing opportunities to meet others who are, and share their stories. Here are just a few I’d like to share:

inpspiration

(1) Robin Nichols – I can’t pinpoint the moment, the date, or even the year that I first came across Robin, but I feel like we became instant friends. She’s a mommy of two that challenged herself to run the Walt Disney World Marathon as a kickstart to her weight-loss journey, and has since rocked 16+ marathons, even qualifying (multiple times) and running Boston.

(2) Dani Holmes-Kirk – As a weight-watchers leader, Dani demonstrates daily (see that alliteration!?) that losing and maintaining weight is a challenge that is worth it everyday. Through her race recaps, twitter chats and more, she provides inspiration daily with her positive, yet realistic outlook on healthy living.

(3) Jamie Brubaker-Wane – Working on the front lines of Amercia’s most popular destination was incredible, and an experience I will never forget – and this is all thanks to the people – guests, colleagues, and of course, my fellow Cast Members. In 2007, I worked at Soarin’, and met a lovely young lady named Jamie – probably the sweetest and most caring person I had ever met. Tragically, her life was taken far too soon, and she left behind a husband and daughter – but no one could take her spirit! In 2012, I ran the Baltimore Marathon and saw her face once again, on the back of a charity runner. Her legacy of giving lives on, and I truly believe love and inspiration are things that last forever.

(4) Michele King – Juggling life and shattering personal goals – these are two things that Michele showcases daily on her blog. As a Military Veteran, Michele demonstrates the challenges and reward of maintaining discipline in one of the most hectic and wonderful careers possible: motherhood! She never boasts about her accomplishments, though they are many!

(5) Erin Henderson – Whenever I feel like I have too much on my plate, I think about Erin. Not only did she log 3,480 miles last year on her quest to qualify for the Olympic Trials, but she did it while caring for 12-children – and no, that is not a typo! She and her husband have 12 amazing children, and her youngest has severe disabilities – a challenge she only sees as inspiration.

(6) Krysten Siba Bishop – her blog “The Misadventures of a Darwinian Fail” may sound like fodder for a humorous story, but the truth is, her real-life struggles are anything but – though she never wallows in them. Positive energy, an incredible support system, and an innate drive to succeed showcase her incredible attitude through any challenge that is in her way.

(7) Laura Rose Monk – when I first became involved with Team in Training, I did not have a personal connection to cancer, but within weeks, I found out what drove me to the cause: an honored hero. You see, Laura became a very young widow when her husband, a 22-year old soldier in the U.S. Army, lost his battle, not on a field worlds away, but to Leukemia. Losing a spouse is never easy, but even at her young age, she moved forward with grace, and she continues to be an inspiration to many in her work toward providing support and encouragement to other young women.

(8) Morgan Crutchfield – Have you ever dreamed of packing up everything to follow a dream? Well, she’s doing it, and despite the struggles, she’s pouring blood, sweat and tears into her vision of providing the most timely and helpful information for optimal Disney Vacation planning. Morgan demonstrates everyday, to her young son, her supporters (and haters!) that no matter what your passion is, it’s worth pursuing it.

(9) runemz – It wasn’t until I started writing this list that I realized I don’t even know Emily’s full name, but really, here’s what you NEED to know: she’ll make your whining about a short treadmill run look just silly. I mean…SHE RAN 24 HOURS. 100+ miles! To raise money for a non-profit that serves students and teachers in India. Need I say more?

You see, through blogging, I have met some of the most inspirational, incredible role models, and fantastic women – and this is why I want to continue to give back, to share, and celebrate inspiration.

I’d really appreciate your vote, and even if I don’t make the top 3, I just want to thank YOU all for inspiring me to even ask. And while you’re on the voting page, I challenge you to check out some new bloggers, add them to your reader list, so we can all continue this cycle of inspiration.

Who inspires you? Please leave links, I’d love to share them!

WE DID IT!

March 7, 2012, 11:16 AM

So many emotions.

We made it, y’all – THANK YOU so much. I can not even BEGIN to express how I feel right now. When I first signed up for Team in Training, I was excited, but so nervous – how would I be able to make my minimum $1,500 contribution in fundraising? It was intimidating, but I kept telling myself, “you CAN do this, do it for those who CAN NOT.” And I went with that…from the first donation, to hitting my original goal, to officially moving my goal to +1K to today.

The one that put it over the top? An amazing donation from my WSU lil sis, Amy!

Holy Cow, we are awesome 😉

Thank you, Amy, thank you EVERYONE.

And now…well, I have to hold up my end of the bargain, so I am shopping for some green dye… 😉

 

Purple-y Goodness!

Inspiration Dinner top + Race Jersey!

It’s real, it’s real!

Tonight, our team met at Boylan Heights for our “send-off” dinner – it was a good meal with even better company; lots of excitement and laughs, for sure!

We received our little goody bags, plus our two pieces of attire (shown above) that we’ll be bringing along on our journey to Virginia Beach in just 12 days 😀

It’s feels CRAZY to say, “I am running a marathon next weekend” but it’s true! We have our official bib numbers too..I’m 1341!

On top of it all, I am BEYOND blessed/ecstatic/stunned that I’ve approached the -$90 point to achieving ROCKSTAR status, by raising $1,000 over the official fundraising amount for the event. Words cannot express my gratitude, and I am scheming fun thank you notes for my many generous donors.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

There is STILL time to donate (just visit my site here) and y’know what, I didn’t hit the goal by March 5, but March 7 marks ONE MONTH until my 28th birthday so if we can reach $2,500, I will show my green spirit anyway!

What fun events are coming up in YOUR life this March??

Awesome bloggers!!

In my fundraising quest, I have had the pleasure of being connected to so many amazing people….and one segment that has really helped me along has been the very active blogging community!

Still have about $350 to go 🙂

Since the beginning of my involvement with Team in Training, I’ve received donations / assistance / RT’s from some of my favorite bloggers out there, including, but not limited to:

As mentioned above, this is just a SEGMENT of the outpouring of support I have received. If you haven’t donated yet, please consider it…and if you already have, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Every happy thought, every $1, every word of encouragement of push to help…it means so much. Change someone’s life today and GIVE what you can – whatever that means to you! 🙂

My Fundraising Pageif money is tight, please consider visiting to leave a comment!

Marathon Monday: 13 days until my second marathon!

Shamrock is coming!

(source)

After more than 400 miles logged, I am officially in the taper…and this is Florida State’s Spring break…living is easy 😉

But I could still use your help…

Please visit 

My Fundraising Page

…if you can, and please donate whatever amount is comfortable for you – you really are making a difference.

I am thankful everyday for my health, friends, family and even strangers..who have become friends, through a common bond of running and a cancer-fighting! Tomorrow, I will attend our official send-off dinner with my Team as we ramp up for this special event we’ve trained and worked for.

As I reach this pivotal point in my Team in Training journey, I want to also reflect on some special moments that, if not for Team in Training – I would not have had the chance to experience…

  • My first donation – my friend Jaz was the first to step up to the plate. She may not realize it, but she solidified the idea that I could fundraise what seemed to be a huge amount.
  • When I first signed up for the team, I didn’t think I knew anyone personally effected by Leukemia or Lymphoma. As fate would have it – I was led to the true reason I was doing this – my friend and trainer Joy posted on Facebook that a fellow friend of hers (and former fellow castmember at The Jungle Cruise attraction) had lost her husband, an Army veteran, to leukemia. Well, I knew this was it, and when I run 26.2 miles on March 18, I will be wearing my Honored Hero bracelet in commemoration for a young life taken much too soon.
  • The Silent Mile was another incredibly moving event that brought together our team with several others in the region. We ran and shared stories with teammates not only running to beat cancer, but literally…running with it. I met teammates that are currently fighting battles much bigger than themselves and was humbled immensely by their strength.
  • Before 2011 wrapped up, I reached my minimum fundraising goal of $1500. I thought I’d lay off for a while, but as my competitive spirit would have it, I ramped it back up soon after.

These are but a handful of my positive TNT experiences…and I can’t wait to add more happy stories! Thank you again, and see you at the finish line…hopefully seeing green! 😉

 

Today…tomorroww…

Hi all! Hope your weekends are going FANTASTICALLY!

So close!

I’ve got two days to:

  • reach my goal of +$1,000 my fundraising goal, which is $2,500 toward finding cures and helping patients and their families with the burden of expenses and stresses related to Leukemia and Lymphoma!
  • reach my personal goal of a donation from EVERY U.S. State – as you can see from the map above! I have received donations from 34 states as of this moment, and from this challenge alone, $664 has been raised. As I mentioned before, a special surprise is headed to you if YOU are the first to donate from YOUR state, so please consider a donation today! Remember, even $1 is a donation! Please consider it today, I thank you in advance!

I’ve said it once (twice, three times & more!) but I want to say it again (and again and again) THANK YOU to everyone that has joined me in this mission to fight cancer! I am so incredibly thankful for all of you – and if it isn’t in the budget, I am thankful for your words of support.  IT ALL COUNTS.

Please visit My Fundraising Page today!