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One Year Later

I have been avoiding the topic.  All day today, I have turned on the local sports radio stations only to immediately change the station so I don’t have to think or hear about it.  I’m not sure why, but on this day, of all days, I do not want to talk about the Boston Marathon bombing.

Maybe I’m sticking my head in the sand.

Maybe I’m trying to convince myself I’ve moved on.

Maybe I don’t want to join in a one day conversation that does nothing but dredge up bitter memories, only to have everyone else move on to the next topic tomorrow.

I was not on Boylston when the two bombs went off 365 days ago.  It was the first time in several years that I wasn’t running as either an official entrant or a pacer for a friend.  I felt feel a mixture of relief and guilt not being there.

I still feel anger toward to two extremists who tried to crush the spirit of Boston.  I still feel sadness for those who were lost or permanently injured.

When I run now, there is a tinge of guilt,

a smattering of anger,

a swath of sadness…

a dose of…

fear.

I’ve tried my best to suppress it all, but it all lingers, out there, waiting…

The talk on the radio today just brings it all back – brings back the anger, the fear…the suspicion.  I can’t look at someone with a backpack now without wondering, “who do you pray to?  to a loving deity?  a vengeful deity? are you a jihadist?  a crusader?”

***

I don’t know if I will be able to make it to the course this Monday to cheer on the runners of the 2014 Boston Marathon.  Babysitting issues aside, even if I were able, I’m not sure I would go…

…not out of fear…

…not out of anger…

…not out of sadness…

…not out of guilt…

…or maybe it is all of those things.

One year later…

luau:

On the most recent blog on my fitness and nutrition blog I discuss when it is a good time to do a juice cleanse…

Originally posted on Matt Wilson Personal Training:

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Never.

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Not Just April

Today is Brooke’s 11th birthday.

11.

When did that happen?

Yesterday we were blessed to have many of her friends and classmates over for a birthday party that included a planned surprise (check over on diary for the details), live animals (her favorite was the chinchilla), dancing, a piñata, pizza, cake and dough babies.  I think it is safe to say that everybody had a good time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TlX7kyXlCY

But even in the midst of all this fun, I was reminded just how different Brooke is from many of her peers.  Watching her throughout the party I was able to see just how far she has come and just how far she still has to go.  I don’t mean in the “to be more like her peers” sense, but more in the “developing an ease with her environment” sense.

Anyway, I was reminded of Autism.

***

Tomorrow is the first day of Autism Awareness Month.  It is a time that many of the big advocacy groups push awareness, fund raising, etc.  Undoubtedly there will be arguments and heated discussions between those who align themselves with the various groups.  As you may or may not know, for a very long time, Jess and I were supporters of Autism Speaks.  Over the course of many years, we walked their walks, we ran their races, we raised a lot of money for them.  Last November I ran my last race with them – the New York City Marathon.

Days later, Suzanne Wright would write those controversial words, essentially marginalizing autistic adults.  It’s her organization.  She can do with it what she sees fit.  Jess and I could no longer support them.  It wasn’t easy to walk away – in fact, I wrote about the first Charity Miles run I took post-speech…a sad, difficult day for me.

I moved on.

But here we are, on the eve of Autism Awareness Month.  I still get emails from Autism Speaks, urging me to “Light It Up Blue!” for awareness.  As much as I want to, I cannot.  I know that Autism Speaks does not own the color blue, but it seems that they have co-opted it and made it their own (along with the puzzle piece).

Autism Awareness Day is the day after tomorrow.  Many people I know and respect will light it up blue.

I cannot.

Instead, I ask you to consider another option.  The whole point of the “Light It Up Blue” campaign was to get people to ask, get people curious, get people aware.  How about instead of vaguely inviting people to ask questions about autism, we instead do so overtly.

***

Autism

Awareness
Acceptance
Support

Love

***

respect the stim

celebrate neurodiversity

***

let’s talk about autism

***

autism is one word,
but there is no one autism

***

nonspeaking does not mean having nothing to say
question what you think  you know about autism

***

These phrases are on T-shirts (click on each phrase to link to the shirt) that Jess designed in response to our older daughter asking what we should do for Autism Awareness Day now that we were no longer affiliated with Autism Speaks.  Initially we were stumped; wearing blue just didn’t seem right anymore – I have even retired the Blue Afro.  I don’t say this often enough about my wife, but I think she is brilliant.

I know that at the time of this posting it is essentially too late to get these shirts for Autism Awareness Day, but I hope you will consider not only purchasing one, but wearing it, not just for the month of April but all year round.  Autism awareness isn’t, shouldn’t be just a day or month out of the year; it should be 365 days a year.

***

As my baby girl turns 11, I ask you to help me…no, scratch that…help my Brooke make “awareness” more than just wearing a color or lighting a bulb…

Challenge your family, friends, acquaintances, yourself on what we know about autism…

Talk about autism…talk about the many autisms…

Help Brooke turn awareness into acceptance, support, respect of differences, but most importantly, love.

Obstaclization

luau:

Maybe putting up some obstacles in your life would be a good thing…

Originally posted on Matt Wilson Personal Training:

I want you to take a look at a graph.  I know it’s a tired old subject – Obesity in America – it’s a bit outdated (2006), but I want you to take a look.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 7.52.52 PMI don’t know what you see, but I see something that I think we all intuitively know without being told:  once you hit your post-teen years, the likelihood is that you will put on some extra pounds.  In fact, if you are John or Jane Q. Public, there is a 66% probability that you will be overweight or obese with a 50/50 shot of being one or the other.

I know…doom and gloom.

But I want you to look at the chart again.  See what it says about 6 – 19 year old kids?  Out of every 100 kids, the probability is that less than 20 are overweight.  Even better is the recent…

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Leprechaun-5K

I had no expectations of myself coming into this race – none.  Sunday’s run would be my third of the year.  No, not my third race; my third run.  For a few months I’ve been nursing an aggravated hip that comes and goes.  In addition, I have been working hard on growing my fledgling personal training business.  The only real exercise I had done in the past two weeks has been 4 minute tabata burpees between dropping off Katie and Brooke off at school during the school week.

That.  Is.  It.

So, like I said, I had no expectations of how I was going to do or feel after 3.1 miles this past Sunday.

That being the case, I decided that I shouldn’t position myself at the very front of the pack at the start of the race, opting instead to start several yards behind the front-runners.  After a wonderful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by the race director’s daughter, the starting horn blared and we were off.

A small pack of about twenty to twenty five runners immediately separated themselves from the masses.  I had to make a snap decision to either follow and run hard or stay back and enjoy the scenery.  I focused on my hip for two or three steps, trying to anticipate whether it could handle a hard effort.

No real pain – check!

I decided to chase the group.

I had left my phone in the car and my GPS watch is on the fritz, so I had no idea just how fast I was going, and with a downhill start I really was not in a position to judge pace.  Over the first half mile, the jack rabbits began to shake out – I was now sitting somewhere around 16th or 17th.

We began a short uphill climb.  This is where I made my first move – I tend to push the hills a bit; I find it’s a great way to reel people in.  I caught up to a group of 3 or 4 runner and passed them on the inside.  As we hit the mile marker I took a quick glance at my watch before setting my sights on a few runners ahead of me.

7:25.

Okay, not a bad pace for someone who has been struggling with their running for the last few months.  My hip was fine, but my glutes and quads were already burning, as were my lungs.  I tried to ignore the pain and pressed on.

As I began to pick off runners one by one, I looked way down the road.   I could barely see the leaders.  I counted back.

1…2…3…

4, 5, 6…

7…8…9th!

I was running 9th with about 1.8 miles to go.

That’s when I heard the footsteps.  They were slowly getting louder and louder.

Thump, thump! Thump, thump!

Without turning I yelled, “which side are passing me on?”

I couldn’t make out what he said.

Thump, thump! Thump, thump!

His footsteps got louder.  I couldn’t tell how far behind he was, but it felt like he was right on my tail and gaining.  I slid to the left, encouraging him to pass me by.

“It’s all you, man!” I said.

Thump, thump! Thump, thump!

If he said something, I didn’t hear it.  Surprisingly, he didn’t pass me.

The two of us passed the guy running in 8th.

His footsteps continued to push me as I, I hope, pulled him.

Thump, thump! Thump, thump!

My legs and lungs were burning.  I glanced down at my watch.

14:30.

14:30?  I had thought we were going faster but the mile 2 marker was nowhere in sight.  Was it possible the I had slowed down that significantly?  Were we that far from 2 miles that it wasn’t in sight?  Nearly a minute later I spotted a sign that looked like a marker.  I looked at my watch.

15:15, 15:16, 15:17…

What in the world???

As we got closer, I noticed that the mile marker said 2.2 miles – 15:35…we had averaged 6:54 for that 1.2 miles.

Okay…now I get it!

I was encouraged by the fact that we only had 0.9 miles to go.  Though I wouldn’t admit it beforehand, I was hoping to break 24:00 that day.  I was sure I had that in hand, but knowing I had less than a mile to go, I decided to push it for all I had.

Thump, thump! Thump, thump!

“Footsteps” was still behind me.  I was sure he was going to pass me at any time now as we approached the finish.  He had been shadowing me for a bulk of the race, biding his time.  I was not looking forward to the finish.  I remembered from the previous year that the Leprechaun 5K ends with the last third to half mile uphill and as much as I enjoy catching people on hills, I hate finishing races on hills.

“Footsteps” began to fade…I yelled back encouragement, trying to egg him on, but his footstep continued to fade.  As I hit the 3 mile marker, I let myself enjoy the fact that I was going to comfortably finish in 8th.  The woman in 7th simply had too big of a lead on me and there was no way I was going to catch her, but “Footsteps” had been vanquished.

“Thumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthump!!!”

These footsteps sounded different.

Faster.

Lighter.

…Younger.

In a flash my joy evaporated as a kid went flying by on my left.

No. Way!  I tried to hit the next gear – I wasn’t going to give up my spot without a fight to this kid.

I dropped the hammer and pushed…

…and kept going at the speed I had been cruising along in.  The kid flew past me like I was standing still.

Sigh.

I crossed the finish line in 22:02, covering the last 0.9 miles in 7:10 pace for an overall pace of about 7:06 – good enough for a 9th place finish.

I stumbled up to the kid.

“Were you the footsteps behind me,” I asked confused.  He looked confused as well.  I turned to see “Footsteps” finishing.  I turned back to the kid.  Obviously he had started further back and finished strong.

“How old are you, kid?  16? 17?” I asked.

“I’m 13,” he said with a grin.  I shook my head.  Crap!  Taken out like I was standing still by a boy the age of my daughter.  I knew that this day would eventually come – I just didn’t expect it to happen at 13.

13!!!

I gave him a pat on the back and went to chat with “Footsteps”.  We thanked each other for pushing/pulling the other along.

In the end, despite being taken down by a 13 year old, I was pretty happy with my performance.  It was nowhere near my best in a 5K, but it was pretty darn satisfying to finish in the top 10 out of 200+ runners.  It did make me realize though that I have a long way to go to get back into marathon shape.

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Me flabbergasted that I just got passed by a 13 year old…

 

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

luau:

In your efforts to achieve body composition change, common sense may be telling you one thing…you should probably be doing the opposite…

Originally posted on Matt Wilson Personal Training:

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When it comes to fitness and nutrition, if someone is asking for some free advice, I usually recommend trusting one’s instincts and sticking to generally accepted common sense solutions.

The problem is that often, what we perceive as common sense is quite often wrong…completely wrong.

Over the next week or so, I am going to be tackling some of the things that we as a society do because we think it’s common sense – and generally, they are practices that are accepted by society as the “smart thing” to do.  Many of you probably already know most of these things, but you simply may not have put it together.

To be clear, this is not a “the government is hiding things from you” or “Big Pharma is out to get you” type of stuff.  That kind of crap drives me crazy.  These are just simple things we have come to…

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The Confession…

luau:

I was a little concerned when she said, “I need to confess something…”

Originally posted on Matt Wilson Personal Training:

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I got a phone call this morning from my wife.

“I have something to tell you but it involves a little confession.”

I wasn’t sure what to make of her opening so I simply said, “okaaaay…” and then waited.

“So every morning I’ve been going to Cosi to get my morning coffee.”

“Uh huh.”  Nothing scary there.

“And with my coffee I’ve been getting this little snack.”

“Mm Hmm.”   Ah,  the confession!

“The girl behind the register told me it’s really healthy [sic]; it’s got nuts and berries and honey and…”

“Okay.”  I interrupted while trying to remain completely neutral.  The reason why this was a confession of sorts is that for the last 6 months or so, in an effort to cut costs and eat more healthfully, I’ve been making her her breakfasts, snacks and lunches, with the expectation that what I was sending in with her was all…

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