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Before a run, I wake up—excited… Usually it’s about 4 a.m. and I begin forcing myself to eat some oatmeal and a spoonful of peanut butter. I am anxious to leave the house, but I take my time filling up my water bottle, eating my breakfast and dressing for my big run. My mind wonders over every laborious bite of food. Is today the day that I will fall in love?

Okay, I am going to be honest. Please forget what I am about to say after you read it. I am so embarrassed to admit, I do not like running, not one bit! Even so, every time I tie up my laces and head out; I am hanging on to a glimmer of hope. Today will be the day that I magically turn into a real runner!

I see real runners every time I go out for my runs. Real runners love to run. Real runners don’t feel the pain that I feel while running—especially the pain I feel after a run. Real runners enjoy the solitary moments of thought while running. At least, that is what I imagine it is like to be a real runner.

Last Saturday, I set out to run 12 miles. I arrived to Central Park; running for the first time with the Manhattan team instead of the Brooklyn team. At first, the run was going well. I enjoyed the company of a couple of runners I hadn’t met yet—both of which actually ran my pace. It was the first Saturday that I was running comfortably with others. The first 8 miles went so well. I was actually enjoying myself. My inner voice proclaimed, “This is the day! I am falling in love!!!!” Well, not so fast. It was so hot outside. I filled up my water bottle at every fountain and kept drinking. I felt tired. I had packed one packet of the Jelly Belly Sport Beans, but apparently that was not enough. I started to feel dizzy and, believe it or not, hungry!

After I hit 11 miles, I knew I had to stop. I ran back to our starting area (after 11.2 miles) and bought a Gatorade and a hot pretzel from a vendor. I knew if I didn’t get some energy right away I might have gotten sick. After stretching, my body felt as though I was hit by a car. Defeated, I made my way back to Brooklyn. Wouldn’t you know it, the trains were delayed and running slow!? Frankly, even though it was a hot and long commute home; it gave me time to think. The reflection on the train home helped me build the courage to admit it. I DO NOT “love” running right now, but I am falling out of hate with it. I am enjoying the fact that I am active. I love that I am now a non-smoker. I love that I am busy doing something healthy for myself.

So, I am courting “running” and eventually, I know that will grow into a very strong love of running. When I get discouraged, I will force myself to think about the days that I couldn’t run for more than 10 minutes. I force myself to remember what it was like to race out of the subway so I could quickly light up a smoke before heading into the office. Instead, I am running up the subway steps for a little extra push in my fitness. I will cling to the excitement I feel every time someone tells me that they notice I’ve lost weight… Well those are the things I am hanging on to that push me to my runs.

This Sunday, I will be sharing my new habit with supporters for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I am excited to join our team of 20 (and counting) for this 5K run (or walk). My goal will be to beat my fastest time of 39 minutes and 12 seconds. I hope you will consider supporting your school’s team. You can support in a couple of ways. Click here to participate as a runner or walker. If you have a schedule conflict, you could donate and support the fight against breast cancer (at the same link). If those options don’t work, why not come out and cheer us on this Sunday? The cheers from the sidelines are so meaningful to runners in the race. I am so excited and can not wait for Sunday to arrive. Maybe this will be the day I fall in love!

Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Central Park at 9:00 am
The SPS Team will meet at Strawberry Fields at 8:oo am

Alexandra Hertel is an Ohioan living in Brooklyn, New York. She attends CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and works full-time in the events industry.

Images Used:

ha1flosse “Illustration of Zebras” Image. Free Stock Photos.biz2012. Web

“Racers on A Starting Line” Image. Free Stock Photos.biz2012. Web

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With the start of the Fall 2012 semester this week, those of us who took the summer off are quickly reminded of the juggling we will need to do in order to maintain our family responsibilities and jobs. Schedules need to be re-arranged, social outings declined or cancelled, and sometimes we have to ask others for help. I’ve already had to ask my brother to spend time with Athena, my daughter’s Chihuahua, because we are both keeping long days with work and school, and in my case, training for the marathon too.

Asking for help has become a new talent of mine. It is how I have been able to raise over $2,500 for the American Cancer Society and how reaching the goal of $3,500 is attainable. Since the CUNY School of Professional Studies has an opportunity to fundraise for Komen’s Race for the Cure, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my fundraising secrets that have made “asking for help” a lot easier than it sounds.

Social media has been my number one source for donations. Using Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google+, LinkedIn and blogging, I make the opportunity available to many potential donors. I engage my audience of friends, family and colleagues by making meaningful posts about my progress, set-backs, victories and challenges. I invite others to comment, share, and get involved. I offer opportunities to support me with either financial support, moral support—or both.

One of the most engaging tools I’ve used is MapMyRun. While running, it tracks me and my friends can watch me live on the app. (Feel free to add me if you use MapMyRun, user name: xahndra.) One of the coolest features with MapMyRun is that when my run is complete, it posts a map and a custom message with my mapped run. I set the program so that it will automatically post to Facebook and Twitter after my run with a link to my fundraising page. My online community sees that I am doing the work and that their funds mean something to me. (It also socially holds me responsible to stick with my program and training days… Win Win!)

I try to think of gimmicks and mini-goals. For example, the hashtag on Twitter, #FF stands for FollowFriday. Many Twitter users actually search for that hashtag to see what fun people to follow on Fridays. Also, people pay attention to the #FF in their Twitter feed. So, I made #FF stand for something else. FUNDRAISING FRIDAY!

Fundraising Friday works best when you have some sort of mini-goal associated with it. For example, a few Frundraising Friday’s ago, I was very close to the 50% mark. I needed just a hundred dollars or so. By the time #FF Fundraising Friday was almost over, I needed just $19.25 to hit 50%. I sent out a tweet and status update requesting that amount and instead I received two more $25 donations pushing me well over 50% of my goal. It’s fun because now some of my teammates are using #FF Fundraising Friday and having success as well. Try using #FF this Friday as a member of the CUNY SPS team for Komen’s Race for the Cure. Let me know if it worked for you too!

In all my tweets and updates through social media, I try to engage others. If I can get a well known handle to retweet me or donate their status update for me, it’s a good day for my awareness. I always tag organizations on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve actually been retweeted by authors, sporting good stores, and the American Cancer Society. When this happens, it’s a great day for my awareness campaign! I’ve even asked for a status updates and tweet donations from my friends and followers. It’s really helped me reach the friends of my friends. In the last 3 months, I’ve actually doubled my number of Twitter followers. This will really help me for the next time around.

Outside of social media, I write bi-monthly email updates to all my contributors, family, friends and colleagues. This keeps them engaged and aware of the huge impact they’ve made in my life and reminds them of the good cause they have contributed to. I write updates to the blog on my fundraising page regularly, reporting my progress and milestones. I’ve held two happy hour fundraisers with friends and colleagues and I plan on doing a bake sale in the office. There really are so many little things that a #CharityRunner could do to raise big money without costing too much time.

So, here’s my personal challenge to the CUNY SPS community. As a team, let’s try to raise some serious cash for the Susan G. Komen #RaceForTheCure! So far we have 17 team members. If each of us raised $100, we would be making a huge impact with $1,700 raised as a team. That’s almost half of what I am raising on my own for the American Cancer Society. Can we do it? I think we can! To join our team and efforts, please visit http://bit.ly/CUNYSPS.

Alexandra Hertel is an Ohioan living in Brooklyn, New York. She attends CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and works full-time in the events industry.

On Sunday, September 9th, we at CUNY School of Professional Studies will participate in our first Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure in Central Park. We are honored to run and walk among over 21,000 breast cancer survivors and supporters to build awareness for this very important cause.

To prepare the CUNY SPS team for Race Day, we’ve summoned the help of our marathon runner correspondent and current student, Alexandra Hertel. Throughout the next month, Alexandra will serve as our official Komen Race for the Cure blogger during which time she’ll share her personal experiences and tips about race training. Remember, you can join the CUNY SPS team at any time from now until September 6th by visiting www.komennyc.org/race.

We look forward to seeing you there!


I am grateful for my life.
I am grateful for the opportunities I have in my life. Because of opportunities like schooling at CUNY’s School of Professional Studies, I can be successful in many ways.

I am a Student:
I am a full-time student. I was recently awarded the Stephen M. Rossen Scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year. I am excited to continue my studies and demonstrate why I received this award.

I am a Mother:
I am a single mother. In all areas of my life, I strive to demonstrate positive values to my daughter, who is now embarking on her second year of college at the College of Staten Island.

I am an Employee:
I work full-time selling event sponsorship and exhibits for conferences in the life sciences industry. My work is incredibly rewarding because ultimately, I am helping companies market and grow their businesses.

I am a Citizen:
I never thought I would be writing about the importance of getting involved in a cause. How can being a part of something bigger than myself change me? In fact, it has. It would be fair to say that allowing myself to be part of a larger cause has not only changed me, but also has saved my life. You’ll have to keep reading to find out how!

I’ve been invited to share my story as a student blogger and weekly correspondent. Our journey begins now as we prepare for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event on September 9th. I’m thrilled to be a part of it and for this opportunity to get to know our student community. I promise to be open, honest and unguarded. I will share all the good (and challenging) moments that I encounter as WE prepare for the Susan G. Komen race, and as I continue on in my journey toward the ING NYC Marathon on behalf of the American Cancer Society (Team DetermiNation) this Fall. Please visit http://bit.ly/CUNYSPS to visit our team page and join. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Alexandra Hertel is an Ohioan living in Brooklyn, New York. She attends CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and works full-time in the events industry.