It’s officially summer! That means sunshine, and ice cream, and bathing suits, and going to the pool or the beach. I’m actually really excited about summer this year. I’m not where I want to be physically, but I am where I want to be emotionally and that’s what’s important.

I’ve been hitting the gym hard and this week, I’m upping it. I’m adding a riser in step classes and I’m adding weight during my lifting classes. I’m pushing harder and feeling good!

And despite not really running in months, I’m signed up to do the Orlando United 5k this weekend in Lake Mary, because that’s what runners do. All proceeds are going to the One Orlando Fund set up by the City of Orlando. And I can’t be prouder about that.

I’ve been focusing so hard on conditioning that I had been blowing off actually running. I wanted to do as much as I could to prepare for the training that starts in a few weeks, but when this race came up I jumped at the chance. Living in Florida, and only a couple of hours from Orlando, makes this personal for me. The shooting at Pulse could have been here. And I could have been there with my friends. It’s terrifying to think about, really.

So when a friend of mine from Final Mile Race Management had posted that she was thinking about doing a race to honor those who died in the mass shooting, I jumped at the chance. I said yes, I would run that. I said yes, I would help promote it. I said yes, this needs to happen.

I did the same thing with the Boston Marathon Bombing. 1st Place Sports, among thousands of other race management companies and shops, planned a race where the proceeds were donated to the funds to help those injured and the families of those lost.

Because it’s not about the race, really. It’s not going to matter that I will take forever and a day to finish a 3 mile run, or that we get a medal at the end, or that we are raising money to help those in need.

It’s about standing up and saying “you haven’t destroyed us with your hate” and being proud of that. It’s about standing up and looking hatred and evil in the eye and saying “you aren’t strong enough to destroy me” and meaning it. It’s joining with others who are wanting to do the same thing, to raise awareness, to stand up and do something for people we don’t even know but want to make sure get the respect they deserve.

The physical race is full, capped only three days after it launched, but the virtual option is still open. You will still get your shirt and your medal, and proceeds will still be donated to the One Orlando Fun. All services have been donated to this race so we are hoping to raise the most money possible to help those in need.

You can register for the race here. I know that a lot of people in Jacksonville are registering and trying to gather together to run it together on Saturday. I encourage you to register and ask your running community to do so as well.

Let’s show evil that runners are strong. We are stronger than the demons we face. We are Orlando United.



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