So, tomorrow is the big day--the day I've been training for these past 12 weeks. Tomorrow, several readers of this blog and I will participate in the Run for Congo Women 5K in Chicago. I want to thank all of you for coming along with me on my journey to improve my own fitness and help my sisters in the Congo.
I'm fitter than I have been in years
These several weeks of running faithfully three times a week have transformed my body, but most importantly, my mind. I am now doing something consistently that I didn't think I could do. I'm a runner!
After completing C25K, I switched to the One-Hour Runner program. My first short-term goal is to run an entire 5K by the coming spring. No, I won't be running the whole way on Saturday. In 30 minutes, I can cover almost two miles. My game plan for the weekend is to run the first mile, walk the second and run the final 1.2 miles to cross the finish line. I'll be pushing myself. Please send all the good juju you can muster to help me along my way.
Did you see Run for Congo Women and Women for Women International on Oprah?
On Oct. 1, "The Oprah Winfrey Show" explored efforts to empower women around the globe. The show featured Run for Congo Women founder Lisa Shannon, who explained how she was moved by a 2005 report by Lisa Ling to launch her effort to support women in the wartorn country. The show included some of the footage below:
More than 5,000,000 people have died in DR Congo since 1998 as a result of what has been called "Africa's First World War."
45.5% of those deaths have occurred in children under 5.
Women regularly endure savage gang rapes, torture and mutilation, forced cannibalism, being forced to watch family members brutally murdered, and are held as sex slaves by militias.
Women who survive have no means of supporting their surviving children, which accounts for the staggering death rate among small children.
An expert recently reported that conditions for women in DR Congo are the worst she has ever seen anywhere. (Reuters. July 30, 2007.) Yet there are very real, simple things we can do to save lives and help women to regain a foothold for life for themselves and their surviving children. Women for Women International, an award winning non-profit, operates a year long sponsorship program that provides these women with direct cash aid; healing group work with other women who share similar experiences; training in how to operate a small business; literacy training; rights awareness training, and seed money to start a business when they complete the program.
Thanks, in part, to your generosity and support I have raised more than $500 for women in the Congo.
I also pledged to support a woman through Women for Women International. My new sponsored sister is named Mary and she lives in the Sudan. I look forward to getting to know her.
I encourage you to consider sponsoring a woman, too. Or, there is still time to support my run tomorrow. Simply click the link below before Monday morning. I'll be mailing in my monies then.
Are you running with me tomorrow?
I know several readers have decided to join me in tomorrow's run: Meghan, Tracy, Tanisha and Paula. There may be more. If you are running or walking tomorrow, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to make sure we connect so I can thank you in person and, hopefully, snap a photo for the blog.
I will try to Twitter my experience--at least the before and after parts. If you're not already, follow me at www.twitter.com/whattamisaid.
See you at the starting line!