Archive for August, 2012



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.

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

…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?

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Has she found her H-Spot?

It’s a fact – two thirds of this country is considered overweight; nearly one third of this country is clinically obese.

Although having two thirds of our country overweight is, in and of itself, not a good thing, the fact is, there are many people considered to technically be overweight who are genuinely happy with who and where they are…

…and that is a beautiful thing.

In the big picture, our inner happiness is so much more important than our outer appearance. Don’t get me wrong, physical fitness is important to overall health and should be considered a key factor in your general happiness.


You could be a size 0, but if you’re miserable it doesn’t matter – it’s going to show. If you’re a size 16 and you are truly happy, you’re going to radiate; you’re going to glow. It also works in reverse – if you’re a size 0 and genuinely happy, then that is where you should be. If you are a size 14 and miserable about it, then maybe it’s time to take control.

I am a huge fan of the fitness look, the fitness glow. It lends a certain confidence that is extremely appealing to me. But I am even a bigger fan of true, genuine happiness, the kind that produces a mega-watt smile and an air of confidence; the kind that unintentionally demands attention from everyone in the room.

When it comes to the question of a fitness program, most of us know it’s not a matter of one size fits all. It’s not even an issue of individualizing programs to get people to one common goal. People need to find there happy spot; the place where you are going to be happiest – THEN you come up with a plan; and of course, if you find that you are not happy when you arrive at that spot, tweak your program; change your destination.

Obviously there are certain health issues that come into play if one is too far to either extreme. I would suggest that if one is striving for either extreme at any cost, then there are other issues at play (that or your name is Christian Bale, Jared Leto or Renee Zellweger and it’s part of your job).





The bottom line is that the human condition is a spectrum, one with a wide, WIDE range. It’s our job to figure out where we as individuals belong to maximize our own joy and understand that if someone else finds that true joy elsewhere, that is okay.

If that true joy is at a size 0, well then you design a program to get you to that size zero – but if you’re going to be a lot happier at size 14 well that is probably where you should be – with no apologies at either end or any size in between.

Sex appeal comes in all different shapes and sizes – the most common denominator, at least from this guy’s point of view?


Read Full Post »


I got lucky in March of 2010.

I was fortunate enough to land an Invitational Entry into the Boston Marathon.  A teacher at my daughter’s school had a brother who was in charge of the chip timers that year and he was given several entries to do with what he wanted.  He originally gave one to one of his employees, but she ended up injuring herself.  He gave it to his sister who had heard I was on a quest to get to Boston.  After initially hesitating because I wanted to get there by qualifying, I came to my senses and happily took the gift from the running gods.  How cool would it be to BQ at Boston?

I missed running a BQ in that race but had an incredible time nonetheless.

After the race, the wife handed me half of a magnetic oval with a “B” on it.

“Now that you’ve completed the Boston marathon, you get this,” she said, “when you qualify for Boston, you’ll get to put this on the car.” She handed me the other half of the oval, which had a “Q” on it.

That “Q” lived on my treadmill for the next six months as I trained for the Smuttynose Marathon.  It came to symbolize my motivation, a totem if you will of my desire to qualify for the grand daddy of all marathons.  Every time I felt myself drag or drift, I would look at that “Q” and I would find a renewed source of energy.  For most of us, achievement only comes through hard work and my qualifying for Boston was no different.  We find motivation where we can, but in this Age of Veruca “I Want It Now” Salt, it’s easy to get side-tracked, distracted or even discouraged from our goals.

I have found that creating a physical home for my motivation helps tremendously.

So, how does that help you?

Well, let’s first ask what it is you are trying to accomplish?  If it’s qualify for Boston, I highly recommend the homemade BQ oval or an oval with 26.2 on one side and a BQ on the other.

But what if it’s simply to cover 26.2 miles?  Have you run a half marathon yet?  Then go grab one of those 26.2 ovals, cut it in half, stick half on your vehicle and put the other half on your fridge.  Not a runner?  More interested in losing a few pounds or maybe just redistributing your weight?  Find an old outfit (a pair of jeans, a bikini, a fitted shirt) that you used to wear and instead of hiding it away in shame, put it in a place where you will see it every morning as you get dressed and every night as you get ready for bed.  If you don’t have that outfit anymore, find a picture of something you want to wear in three months and pin it to your dresser, your refrigerator, your desk, your dashboard – make it the screensaver on your phone as a reminder to make smart choices.  If your goal is more abstract that fitting into an outfit, maybe something like finding inner peace, then find a physical manifestation of that inner peace and carry it with you.

The point is to have a touchstone or totem, something physical to bring you back from the edge when you are slipping and back to YOUR reality, back to the reality that you envision for yourself.

Will the totem guarantee success? No.  There are no true 100% guarantees other than taxes and death – but having a physical source for motivation will carry you through many of the times you find yourself struggling.

Do you already have a totem that you use?  I would love to hear what different people use to keep themselves motivated.

Read Full Post »

I haven’t been a student in over 20 years. And the last time I was a good student was over 24 years ago. Sure I studied for and took the GMAT’s over a decade ago, but there was no text book, no real study materials.

Last night this arrived –

Study Materials for the CSCS

-these are the study materials for the CSCS Certification exam. The textbook, Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, is heavy enough to do curls with.

Curls anyone?

This is going to involve a lot of self-motivation. I shouldn’t be a stranger to that. I had to do it through all my marathon trainings. But in a lot of ways, getting up to run sprints, tempos and long runs is a lot easier than sitting down with a text book to study. If I want to achieve my goal of a March Certification, I am going to have to dedicate some serious hours.

You know what?

I’m ready.

Let’s go!

I’ll be available for appointments in April – just in time to get you ready for bathing suit season or a mid-summer race.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: