Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-12-17
Download Issue
  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Sponsor
In the Life: Ricardo Sebastian In the Life: Ricardo Sebastian
Ricardo Sebastian, a Chicago native who launched Luxury Management (LUX MGT) eight ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

Finding a team where I belong, and fighting AIDS along the way
VIEWS Special to the online edition of Windy City Times by Keith Pulford
2013-07-16

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


I'm a runner. I'm a marathon runner. I'm a marathon runner living with HIV.

Several years ago, I found myself emotionally stuck. I knew there was something more out there in the world for me, but finding it was leaving me feeling empty.

So, I began to run. No, I started to walk—three miles every day on a treadmill. It cleared my head and kept me focused.

As the time progressed, I found myself picking up speed and eventually having the courage to run outside with my fellow runners on the Lakeshore Trail. I started running five miles, then six, then eight—and then it hit me. My stomach was an absolute wreck, and I knew exactly what was happening. My medications cause severe diarrhea and stomach cramps. There I was, mile seven and it happened. Where do I go? What do I do? Am I going to be OK? Thank goodness for the bathrooms at Buckingham Fountain! I sat there in that bathroom crying for all the wrong reasons… How did you let this happen? Why are you pushing yourself so hard? Why would anyone even care?

Needless to say, I walked out of that public bathroom, faced a whole bunch of tourists with tears running down my face and knew that it was time to make a change. That change came when I found out about the AIDS Run/Walk with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC). I signed up for my first 10K race. I joined 500+ runners and I finished in the mid 100s. Not too bad, but more importantly, I saw a crowd of runners wearing matching red shirts. I got close enough to one of them to see "T2 Team to End AIDS." My heart started racing and I got goosebumps. Am I ready to put myself out there? Nope.

I spent the next year going through a slew of medications and trying to get acclimated. I dealt with migraines, internal bleeding, more diarrhea and jaundice, and even had a bone growth on my skull that required doctors to surgically amputate it. Medications be cursed—or was it just me?

That year passed and I kept running. I also became very familiar with the public bathrooms along the lakeshore path and my neighborhood. It was time to sign up for the AIDS Run/Walk again. My nerves started getting to me and I feared that I wasn't going to make it through the whole 6.2 miles incident free, but then I ran by my mom and my partner. They were cheering and yelling like I had never seen/heard before. My mom was so excited that all she could yell was "THAT'S MY SON!!" That pushed me over the edge—and I was only at mile two. The runner in me kicked in and I finished the race of 500+ runners in 11th place. What?!?! How did I get so fast? I had seen the T2 team walking around and stretching beforehand. A few of them smiled and me and I smiled back. I could feel their energy. Maybe it was time to finally put myself out there. Maybe.

I went home and looked up Team To End AIDS (T2ea.com ) and checked out the AIDS Foundation of Chicago's website. I signed with the team.

Ready to become a part of a team was a struggle, but when I walked into my very first T2 meeting, all those fears went out the window. I was sitting in a theater with over 200 people with the same mentality: We're going to run until we end AIDS. I sat in my seat watching videos of the past marathons and events T2 participated in. I listened to people speak about missing loved ones, family, partners, etc. All I could do was cry. Thank goodness for dark theaters. The lights went up and it was time to find my training group. I met runners who talked about their goals and why they joined T2. Suddenly, being HIV-positive meant nothing more than a small obstacle in my path to finishing a marathon.

After a season of training and one major marathon done, I walked around all day with that marathon medal around my neck. I shed more tears of joy and sadness than ever before in 24 hours. I was relieved. I was overcome with joy. I missed the friends I have lost to this disease.

Since that day, I have run another AIDS Run/Walk, the Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon, the Chicago Spring Half Marathon, the Shamrock Shuffle and the Soldier Field 10 Mile. With each race, I became a more secure runner and athlete. With each race came a new running shirt, but I only run with my T2 singlet. I look down at my running singlet before hearing that horn blow to cross the starting line. I take the time to remember all the friends and loved ones that have passed. My tears are now at the beginning of each race. I am proud of the progress I have made and am even prouder of the team I represent.

I'm training for the Chicago Marathon with my T2 teammates again this year and am thrilled to channel my passion professionally as the new T2 co-manager supporting AFC's triathlon and half Ironman athletes. Team To End AIDS has changed my life. It can change yours too, whether you are HIV-positive or HIV-negative, one small step at a time.

Pulford is a co-manager for AFC's Team to End AIDS (T2) program, which is still accepting registrations for the otherwise sold-out LifeTime Chicago Tri on Sunday, Aug. 25, and the 17th Annual Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 8. Visit t2ea.com for more information.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily
agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here.
Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you
stay on this page, the more you help us.

Top world LGBT stories of 2014 2014-12-17
Knight at the Movies: The Hobbit; The Babadook; film notes 2014-12-17
Dale Scott first gay, active major league baseball umpire 2014-12-11
Michael Sam documentary to air on OWN Dec. 27 2014-12-11
VIEWS World AIDS Day and my community's ongoing struggle 2014-12-10
Robbie Rogers' wild ride, new book, 'Coming Out to Play' 2014-12-10
IOC makes another step toward inclusion 2014-12-09
NCLR welcomes IOC's sexual orientation nondiscrimination 2014-12-09
Olympic Charter could be amended to protect for orientation, identity 2014-12-03
Open To Thinking: The Idea of the City and Our Mayoral Election 2014-12-03
Sport events coming up: OUT! Bowling; Santa in Speedos 2014-12-03
MLB umpire comes out as gay 2014-12-02
VIEWS Off the grid 2014-12-02
Holiday gift guide to new LGBTQ-inclusive kids' books 2014-12-02
Repetitive Motion Disorder: Black Reality and White Denial in America 2014-11-28
VIEWS Reflections on the Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014-11-26
VIEWS Remembering Thanksgiving 2014-11-24
World news: Malaysian insurer; Ian Thorpe's shame; Nepal survey 2014-11-24
Michael Sam on coming out, his childhood, being at bottom 2014-11-21
2016 Bingham Cup heads to Nashville, not Chicago 2014-11-20
Jason Collins to retire from NBA 2014-11-19
VIEWS Gone 2014-11-19
VIEWS Stigma continues with new HIV-criminalization case 2014-11-19
LGBT sports airing through live Web streaming network 2014-11-19
OUT! Bowling in Naperville through Dec. 18; Sports news 2014-11-19
Veteran killed; Perry disrupted; Collins honored 2014-11-19
Trans Day of Remembrance: Sacred, not to be misappropriated 2014-11-12
VIEWS The life, love and legacy of Audre Lorde 2014-11-12
VIEWS Surely, Jesus wants us to aim for church, not cult 2014-11-11
Open To Thinking: Immigration: Facts and Fictions 2014-11-05
Letters: Issues and answers 2014-11-05
VIEWS Common ground and conversation 2014-11-05
Film shines spotlight on gay White Sox fans 2014-11-05
Coming up: 'CLLAW XX'; OUT! Bowling 2014-11-05
VIEWS Echoes of the AIDS hysteria as we battle Ebola 2014-11-04
Think Tank convenes to create inclusive athletic climates 2014-11-04
VIEWS Apple CEO needs to do more than come out 2014-10-31
Chicago Dragons: Staying busy and winning 2014-10-29
Sports notes: Visits, honors, bullying 2014-10-29
VIEWS: Being 'Black-ish' also being 'homophobic-ish?' 2014-10-22





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Myles Brady: Howard Brown's first transgender outreach coordinator
 
National: LGBT bill in Congress; trans soldiers; blood ban
 
TRAVEL Adults-only spots in Cancun
 
Entertainment: 'Broadway Bares' news; Grindr awards; Robyn's new CD
 
March, vigil stress that sex workers' lives matter, too
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now
Sponsor


Sponsor

  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.