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 2014-10-15
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 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

Cyndi Lauper talks about 'Kinky Boots' Cyndi Lauper talks about 'Kinky Boots'
Winner of six Tony Awards, the Broadway hit musical Kinky Boots debuted ...

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.

Michael Sam waived from Cowboys squad 2014-10-21
POLITICAL FOCUS: Mr. Rauner: You turned your back on us 2014-10-15
VIEWS Make them hear you! 2014-10-15
Cubs break ground on expansion 2014-10-13
VIEWS Mr. Rauner: You Turned Your Back on Us. 2014-10-10
VIEWS Family with gay dads shines in new middle-grade novel 2014-10-08
LGBT athletes: making an impact on and off the field 2014-10-08
Proud to Run opens applications for 2015 beneficiaries 2014-10-08
WSGA thrives after more than 40 years in the gay community 2014-10-08
VIEWS What we owe longtime survivors 2014-10-01
Local flag-football teams look to shine in Gay Bowl XIV 2014-10-01
CMSA preps for inaugural Capture The Flag tournament 2014-09-24
IOC adds anti-discrimination clause to Olympic host city contract 2014-09-24
VIEWS Black children are beloved and beaten 2014-09-24
Billie Jean King takes fair shot at equality at CFW luncheon 2014-09-24
Proud to Run seeks beneficiaries; Bucs host LGBT tailgate 2014-09-24
Tom Daley's gig; man convicted of drinking Baileys 2014-09-23
Two Chicago teams set for ASANA World Series in Las Vegas 2014-09-18
Proud to Run opens applications for 2015 beneficiaries 2014-09-17
Life: Twelve 2014-09-17
VIEWS A gay icon gone 2014-09-17
SPORTS NOTES Appearances, performances, games 2014-09-17
Thousands run, walk to fight HIV/AIDS 2014-09-14
Sky lose to Phoenix in WNBA finals 2014-09-12
Judy Garland on Judy Garland: Interviews and Encounters 2014-09-09
Women's Film; Martina proposes; Sky finals; AIDS Run, Walk 2014-09-09
Chicago Sky to face the Phoenix Mercury in 2014 WNBA finals 2014-09-03
Chicago teams optimistic heading into Gay Softball World Series 2014-09-03
Dallas Cowboys sign Michael Sam to practice squad 2014-09-03
Open To Thinking: It's Your Money, Illinois 2014-09-03
VIEWS Celibacy is the new ex-gay ministry 2014-09-03
LETTERS Wards hurt 2014-09-03
SPORTS EVENTS AIDS Run; Race Judicata, tennis tournament 2014-09-03
Michael Sam could become a member of the Dallas Cowboys 2014-09-02
Chicago Sky wins double OT thriller; deciding game Wednesday 2014-09-01
Sam cut by St. Louis was strictly 'a football decision' 2014-08-30
FGG co-president opens up on Gay Games past, present, future 2014-08-27
Sky to Face the Indiana in WNBA Eastern Finals 2014-08-27
VIEWS Before we go moving the Pride Parade... 2014-08-27
LETTERS By the numbers; Tunney business 2014-08-27





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.

 

 

 



 

Trans entrepreneur Kinley Preston lives her truth
 
Chicago House luncheon puts spotlight on disparities
 
Man's Country renovates to add leather emporium
 
Dining news: Hot Doug's replacement; Chefs Hall of Fame
 
Trans musician to appear at documentary screening
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now



  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 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.