Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Kyle Jennings, a writer and editor with a penchant for marathoning her favorite shows on Netflix. She’s a fan of running and is taking on a different kind of marathon, a real one, this fall. She’s mostly excited, but a little nervous, and wants to make it count.
What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
Scrounging up the courage to actually register for a marathon. That was a big deal for me. I ran my first half-marathon last summer and that experience got me hooked - I knew I wanted to run a longer distance, but the thought of attempting 26.2 miles was really intimidating. I’m really glad I got over my immediate anxiety and did it.
How did you achieve it?
I’ve always had the goal of running a marathon, but really lacked the driving motivation to do it. After what happened at the Boston Marathon, something inside of me flipped on, as it did with so many runners. I wanted to jump head-long into our community of runners and show my solidarity for those who ran Boston. I pledged that day that as soon as I could (I was rehabbing a stress fracture in my foot at the time), I would find a marathon to run. It didn’t take long for me to settle on the Philadelphia Marathon - it was far enough out that I would have time to get my foot healed and to train appropriately. I also knew that I wanted my race to count for something.
I contacted the Joyful Heart Foundation (joyfulheartfoundation.org
), whose mission it is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and set up a fundraising page for my race. I knew I wanted to do my part to help carry the weight of what they hope to accomplish. In choosing to run for Joyful Heart, I found the courage I needed to take the plunge. Now, the real work begins and I cannot wait to see what can be accomplished.
What motivates you to make the world a better place?
I guess I’ve always had an innate sense of optimism about the world and the people in it, our potential. It breaks my heart to see others in pain or suffering. I just refuse to let that happen on my watch. It’s a sense of social responsibility - that’s what I love about Charity Miles. It allows me to be working towards the betterment of the world in even the smallest way at any given time. It’s heartening to know that I’m part of a vast network of do-gooders and I know that little by little, we are having an impact. That keeps me going. It does make a difference.
What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
I love to run and I do it almost daily. But, I like to mix it up, too. Cycling has recently become one of my favorite things. I love to lift, too. There’s just something really empowering about racking up the barbell and banging out some squats (especially when I’m the only girl in the weight room). Outside of the gym, I love to hike.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
"Catch it first." My dad wrote that to me on a note card, filled with other tips of the day, during basketball when I was in high school. He was reminding me to slow down and take my time - catch the ball first and have control before I made a move. Sometimes my brain moves too quickly and my ambition gets ahead of me and I have to slow down and remind myself to catch it first. Get control of an idea or issue before making a call on it, so that when I do make a move, it will be successful. I still have that note card - it lives in my wallet, where those basketball tips are frequently applied off the court.
What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
My favorite aspect of Charity Miles is the ease with which I can use it. Living in DC, I walk - a lot - and I always have my phone with me. It’s so easy just to start up the app on a day when I’m out and about. I plan on using it on every training run I do for the marathon. It’s such a no-brainer to me and it’s such a great motivator.
Who do you exercise for, and why?
Mostly, I exercise for me. It’s the time during my day that I have to myself to work off the stress and weight of the day. Running gives me a chance to clear my head. Banging the weights around is therapeutic and empowering. Sweat is liquid catharsis. The endorphin rush doesn’t hurt either! Since using Charity Miles, I also exercise for others and that adds a whole other level of responsibility and accomplishment to my work outs. I get such a sense of fulfillment knowing that every step I take is doing a little bit of good.
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