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Archive for August, 2012

2027

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When I hold the door or a gate for someone I usually expect a thank you. When I don’t get one I will very often prompt the people I’ve let through with a somewhat strong toned “You’re welcome!” I simply believe good manners are a good, easy thing.

So I was about to bark “You’re welcome” at an older woman and her adult daughter yesterday as they obliviously chatted their way through the gate I was holding when something in the daughter’s voice, something familiar, stopped me. For whatever reason I could not put my finger on at the time, I bit my tongue and simply kept the “how rude” thought inside my head.

This gate was an entrance to a pool that led to a beach where we are on vacation. I had actually just finished a 10 mile run across this small island, so maybe, I thought, they were just frightened by the smelly runner guy in the funny looking shoes.

An hour or so later I took Brooke out to the beach. At one point, we plopped down in the sand. I sat and watched as she explored the sand. It’s one of her favorite activities at the beach. As I watched her, something caught my eye in the distance. About 100 feet beyond Brooke, the daughter I had held the door for was standing in the edge of the water.

She was observing the waves, I mean really observing them – examining them as they went by her ankles. She then stepped further into the water, stretched out her arms and embraced a series of waves as they came at her one after the other.

The enjoyment was pure – 100% pure – untainted by any thought of what she might look like to others. It was beautiful to watch. Suddenly I realized why her voice sounded so familiar – the tone, the rhythm, the texture of her voice was very much like those of Brooke’s.

Was this young lady autistic? I could not tell you with 100% certainty, but I would not have been surprised. And so I watched, this strange time tunnel – me, Brooke playing in the sand, then just 100 feet beyond her in a straight line, this young lady.

I almost felt as if I may be looking 15 years into the future.

Soon after, the young woman’s mother called her over. She joined her mother and father for a walk along the beach. As they approached, the young woman flapped her arms ever so slightly and I was tempted to ask the whole family a plethora of questions, all variations of “how have the last 15 years been?” but I remained seated in the sand, watching them stroll away while keeping a watchful eye on Brooke.

I don’t know their story, but I did get to see one snapshot of their lives.

That one snapshot was beautiful.

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I finally pulled the trigger last week – I officially signed up to run the New York City Marathon for the third year in a row.

And for the third year in a row, I will be running as a charity runner – raising funds for the organization that is particularly close to my heart – Autism Speaks.  I had held off signing up for so long this year because I was busy recruiting many of you to run Boston 13.1 on September 16th (also for Autism Speaks – If you haven’t signed up to run, there are still spaces available.  Sign up —HERE—).

I could go on and on about why I am running and why I need your help, but it really comes down to this:  Autistic people like Brooke face a wide range of challenges both as children and as adults.  Autism Speaks tries to take these challenges on from several different angles – funds raised go to scientific research, social services, development of employment opportunities, and raising awareness.

They work tirelessly to make the world a better place for my Brooke and all autistics who are both like and not like her – that’s how wide the spectrum is.

So I come to you, hat in hand, asking for your help.  I have agreed to raise $3000 by November 4th (that’s on top of the $500+ I’ve already raised for Boston 13.1).  Whether it’s $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 or even the whole darned $3000, I’m asking for your help.

Every dollar counts.

Last year, because you put Jess & I over $10,000 for the Boston Autism Walk, I dyed my hair blue for the marathon.  I figured it would be pretty boring if I did the same thing again, so I’m going to mix it up a little while maintaining the theme.  This year, if you get me to my goal of $3000 by October 15th, I will run in this:

It should make me easy to spot along the way.

Now, if you all really go crazy and get me to my goal of $3000 before September 15th (that’s only a few weeks away), I might just be convinced to run in this:

Come on…you know you want me to do it!  And the truth is, I do owe Katy Perry something for nudging me in the direction I find myself (free training session for you Katy should you ever find yourself in the Boston area).  If it does come to this one though, I may reserve the right to put it up in a ponytail if it gets too hot.

Speaking of Ms. Perry, you may know I am currently working toward a CSCS certification that will allow me to officially work as a personal/team trainer.  My plan is to be certified by the end of March 2013.  How is this significant?  For every $25 donated, I will put the donator’s name into a hat (so $100 would be 4 entries).  On November 1st, I will have Brooke draw out a name.  The winner will receive (after I am certified) 3 training sessions that will include on top of that a full nutritional and physical intake evaluation and a long term program to get you where you want to be.  Hopefully, after three sessions, you will still want to work with me!

If you live outside of New England, I could use some credit card miles to fly to you for a weekend or we could do something via Skype – we can work out those details later.

Okay, so here’s the link to my donation page – http://events.autismspeaks.org/nycmarathon/runluaurun – donate early and often, and remember, every $25 buys you one raffle ticket ($200= 8 tickets!).

You know you want to see me running through the streets of New York with a Katy Perry wig!

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Sometimes going public is not such a good thing.  Facebook?  Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea.  That picture of you streaking through the center of town?

In this age of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, there was no way that wasn’t going viral.

But there are times when going public is a good thing.  There is a reason I put it out there to all of you that I had begun studying for my CSCS certification.  It created accountability on my part.  I also figured that if I made it public, I would have hundreds of readers who would in their own way make sure that I stayed the course (so to speak).  By making it public, I could not let the books and CD’s gather dust in the corner of my desk like so many other things have.

This works for just about any goal.  If you are thinking about running a race, be it a 5K, a marathon or anything in between (or beyond!), tell somebody – tell everybody!  If you’re thinking about joining a gym and getting yourself into better shape, announce it to the world.  In doing so, you will be creating your own support system that will A.) hold you accountable and B.) lend encouragement.  Offer regular progress reports whether through social media, email or even through a blog of your own (if you start a blog, let me know so I can check in on you regularly!).

In the rare circumstance that someone you share your plan with comes back with a negative response, USE THAT! Get mad, get angry, prove them wrong and then shove your accomplishment in their face while thanking them for the motivation.

In the end, you will accomplish your goal and even better, by going public, you may inspire others to follow.

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A lot of people have tried to change their unhealthy lifestyles into healthy ones – whether it is changing the way they eat or starting a new exercise regimen, the goal is the same: becoming a healthier, stronger, happier person.

Without fail, those people stumble; they fall off the wagon and pig out on junk food, smoke a pack of cigarettes or sit on the couch for a week. An overwhelmingly large percentage of those people will then decide that they’ve failed in their attempt to change and meekly go back to their unhealthful ways.

***

Cue open palm slap to forehead!

***

I’m here to tell you that stumbling is good; that failure is the path to success. If you don’t fall off the wagon early on in your attempt to change, then you’re doing a disservice to yourself.

As humans we need to overcome obstacles. The greater the obstacle, the greater the satisfaction when we achieve our goal; the more precious we feel our accomplishments.

If change were always easy, it wouldn’t be worth it. So when we fail for an hour, a day, or a week, we are only adding to the greatness of our eventual success.

And that is what we MUST believe in – our eventual success. Because whether you fail for an hour or a day or a week, if you can get back up, dust yourself off and begin moving forward again toward that goal of a healthier, stronger, happier you, then you are not defeated.

Am I espousing purposeful failure? Heavens No!!! But I am advocating not giving in to failure; not being afraid of failure – because I believe that ultimately you must fail to truly succeed.

If you fall of your wagon, grab your totem, take a deep breath and start anew.

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To get from here:

To here:

You must start by changing what goes here:

It may not be easy.  In fact, it may take a lot of work, but in the end, it will be well worth it.   Exercise is key, but what you fuel up with is a good 80% of the equation!  Don’t let the limitations that others would put on you stop you from becoming the Superwoman (or Superman) you know you can be.

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…because I run marathons.

30 – 50 miles of running a week means I can eat fried chicken, cheeseburgers, pizza, fries, beer, wine, bourbon, tequila, soda, pumpkin pie, candy, pastries, pasta, white bread, ho-ho’s, twinkies, sticks of butter, and a tub of crisco and it won’t add a single inch to my waistline – all because I run.  I run and run and run and that’s why I’m thin/slender/lean – that’s why no matter what I eat, I still look good!

that’s right…anything I want…

Okay, well, no…not really.

But a lot of people assume that.  They’ll look at me and say, “boy, you must be able to eat whatever you want!”  If I choose to indulge in something decadent while out with non-runners, the response around the table is, “he can do that because he runs so much.”

Those statements are only half true.

The truth is that I can run the way I do because I eat healthfully; I don’t regularly eat the fried chicken, cheeseburgers, pizza, fries, beer, wine, bourbon, tequila, soda, pumpkin pie, candy, pastries, pasta, white bread, ho-ho’s, twinkies, sticks of butter, and a tub of crisco – and BECAUSE I generally eat healthfully, I can occasionally indulge in a ridiculous meal without having to pay the price for it on my waist.

***

Physical activity is a huge part of being in good cardiovascular shape.  However, I could run a marathon a day for a year, but if I ate like crap, I would continue to look like I ate like crap.

eat like crap…feel like crap.

Eating healthfully doesn’t need to mean eating grass, nuts and berries.  There are plenty of websites out there with tasty recipes.  Personally, my taste buds can be satisfied as long as whatever I’m making involves olive oil, lemon juice, some chili powder and a dash of kosher salt.  The point is, you can still eat “well” while eating healthfully.

It all starts with what you fuel your body with.  If you normally feed your body junk, it’s gonna look, and way more importantly FEEL, like junk.  Feed it right, and the junk will eventually peel away, leaving you looking better because you’re FEELING better!  Your energy level will rise, your ability to be active will soar, and running (or whatever physical activity you choose) will become easier – you may lose a lot of weight OR you may remain the same weight and simply redistribute it into leaner, denser, sexier muscle.

***

Yes, I CAN eat anything…every once in a while.

But it’s not because I run marathons; it’s because most of the time, what I choose to eat is tasty, satifying and good for me.

What will you put in your body today?

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After my missed BQ at Sugarloaf this year it was suggested to me that maybe I could make another go at it at Smuttynose in the fall. The thinking was that with the new qualification standards for Boston, registration wouldn’t necessarily be closed as of September 30th.

I never did sign up for Smuttynose, and truly, even though there is space left, I would have no shot at training properly with only six weeks to go. I do have another marathon on already the schedule. Early November I am running New York. Conceivably, with about 11 1/2 weeks to go, I could consider running New York as a qualifier but that is a tough race to run at that pace. The truth is between studying for my CSCS certification, the girls being home from summer camp and dedicating my Sundays to training runs for the Team Up with Autism Speaks charity runners (if you haven’t signed up, please do —>– HERE –<—!!!) I haven’t had much time to train period. Early mornings are spent studying, days are spent keeping the kids active and entertained and evenings are spent cooking, dishwashing, putting everyone to bed and writing.

I know, I can hear you telling me, well, why not after everyone goes to bed?

Yesterday I wrote about finding your H-Spot – your happy zone. The place where you look at yourself in the mirror and are happy with the physical you that stares back. That H-Spot can be applied to everything. I’ve reached a place where I know I BQ’s once and came close on two other occasions. My happy place with running right now is helping others reach distances they never have before and getting the occasional personal run in.

And I’m finally okay with that.

Boston will wait. Training to qualify for Boston is on indefinite hold.

This satisfaction will not last forever. I know that eventually, I will want to get back to the pursuit of that elusive unicorn; I will want to toe the line in Hopkinton once again as a qualifier. It might be next year; it might wait until I’m 45. Whenever it is, I know I’m in a happy spot right now – plus, there is a certain satisfaction in having no fear of the 26.2 mile distance when I am running just for fun as I will be once again doing in New York.

There’s only room for so much on one’s dinner plate – and right now, I am satisfied with what’s before me.

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