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Archive for August, 2012

Boston 13.1 is a little over 5 weeks away.  Team Up with Autism Speaks has 270 runners/walkers running/walking themselves into race day shape.  Are you one of them?  If so, I applaud you.  Thank you for taking your time and energy and devoting it to something that is so close to my heart.

But if the answer is no?  Well, why the heck not???

If one of the reasons is that you aren’t in shape and can’t handle 13.1 miles, I am begging you to reconsider.

13.1 miles is a daunting distance.  Calling it a half-marathon makes it sound even scarier, but I want to tell you something.

Finishing 13.1 miles has more to do with what’s between your ears than what’s in your muscles.  You may think that you are physically unable to cover 13.1 miles, but I will tell you that in most cases you are wrong.  And remember, this is a running and WALKING half-marathon.  They welcome and accommodate walkers!

If you can walk and are in mildly good health, YOU can cover 13.1 miles.  The marathon?  That’s a different story.  26.2 miles will physically take you to empty before the finish line if you are not careful, but at half that distance, it’s more about overcoming the mental hurdle of that word – half-marathon.

For almost all of us, the point of the race is not to finish first.  There are only a handful of people who can truly claim that goal.  No, the point of the race for you and me is to have the best time we can and finish – it doesn’t matter if you get there by running or walking or some combination of the two.

The best time – that can mean many things to many people and does not necessarily mean “clock time”.  The best time I ever had during a marathon was at last year’s New York City Marathon.  I finished in my worst time ever, just over 4 hours, but I had the BEST time ever as you can see —>HERE<—.

Do you have the mental strength?  I know you have the physical ability; and I’m pretty sure you have the mental fortitude.

***

Whether you are a novice runner, an avid marathoner, or a power couch potato – I want you.  I need you.  My daughter Brooke needs you.  My family needs you.  The entire Autism Community needs you.  You can read my pitch to you from back in March —>HERE<—.

2012 Team Up! with Autism Speaks benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Race Entry (which means you don’t need to worry about the $65 – $100 entry fee)
  • Team Up! with Autism Speaks Runners Tank or Long Sleeve, and an Autism Speaks dri-fit hat
  • Pre-Race private team dinner for you and a guest, location TBA
  • Customized fundraising page
  • Team Up! Facebook Page
  • Virtual Coaching by a certified running Coach Chris Fales
  • Fundraising Tips and Opportunities
  • Dedicated Autism Speaks staff
  • Race Day Cheering Section at Mile TBA
  • Race Day Team Up! Tent for pre and post race usage
  • Team Handbook- In a PDF form and downloadable for reference at anytime.

You get all those things, plus (if you’re local) Sunday training runs with me, and double-plus I’m bringing Jess from Diary of a Mom along to the Team Dinner (she’s the real attraction and is gonna be walking the 13.1)!

***

September 16th is a little over 5 weeks away.  Even if you can’t train regularly between now and then, you CAN sign up to walk the distance and support a wonderful organization – an organization that is making an effort to approach this autism thing from so many different angles, both scientifically and socially.  Are they perfect?  No way.  Do they have faults?  Sure.  But who among us, both as individuals and as organizations can claim perfection?  No one.  Autism Speaks is working hard to make the world a better place for autistic people young and old.

***

So now we’re left with the fund raising issue.

$500.

Though small compared to some charity race entries, $500 is still a lot of money.  The good news is that you still have 37 days left to do it.  That’s less than $95 a week, less than $14 a day.  Raising the funds may be challenging, but with a little creativity (did you see my blue hair for New York? Money raiser!!!), it can be done with room to spare.

So please, PLEASE consider joining the team.  We need 130 more runners to fill the 400 slots we promised.  If you can’t do it, you might know someone who might know a guy whose brother has a girlfriend whose uncle has a co-worker whose son’s best friend has a sister that is trying to figure out how she could run a half-marathon in Boston in September while raising money for Autism Speaks – please pass this post along.  The more people that see this, the more likely we will find runners who want to join us but just didn’t know it yet.

If you are from out of town, Boston is beautiful in the Fall and you can use the race as a springboard to doing a little touring of New England.  Football season will be just starting – you could run/walk the race in the morning and then watch the Pats destroy the Cardinals in the afternoon at Gillette or you could come into town earlier in the week and catch a Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway – shoot!  I’ll come out and have a drink with you beforehand!  Any way you slice it, the trip would be fun and for a good cause.

I hope to see you on the 15th at the team dinner and then on the 16th on the course.  I’ll be bringing my camera along so who knows, maybe you’ll end up here on the blog or on the Run Luau Run Youtube Channel!

Join the Team —>– HERE –<—.

Because I’m pretty sure, with the right support, Brooke and those like her can walk on water…join the team today!

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I judge.

I admit, I do.

When I see someone driving their kids in a car while smoking a cigarette, I judge.

When I see a parent repeatedly making what the child already knows are empty threats (if you do that one more time you are NOT coming on the family trip to Disney World), I judge.

When I see people at the gym, taking up space on the treadmill but not using it and then giving the stink-eye to someone who asks if they are using it, I judge.

When I see someone assume that their one view is the only correct view, I judge.

When I see people judge others, I judge – ironic, no?

I admit it. I judge people all the time. I even let it out once in a while for public consumption. It ain’t right, in my opinion, but I do.

Passing judgement, I think, is a natural thing.  It’s like water, easily flowing downstream from your brain to your mouth (where you announce your judgment) or fingers (where you type it out for all to see).

Very often, I find, that passing judgement then puts up a wall, a dam, a defensive fortification, if you will.  We will stand behind that Great Wall of Judgement, right or wrong, to the bitter end, flinging stones and arrows.

But what happens when we step outside the wall and take a moment to understand, or at least TRY to understand?

***

A couple of months ago I passed judgement on a fellow parent for smoking a cigarette outside my daughters’ school.  There was a time when I was much younger that I smoked, but I eventually came to a place where I knew it was not right for me, so I quit.  I also came to a place where I didn’t care if people smoked as long as they didn’t do it around my children (or any kids for that matter).  I ripped into this parent passive-aggressively online – how could he be smoking outside the school?  what kind of parent is he?  what’s the matter with him? 

I felt pretty superior.  A couple of people piled on.

But then my dear friend Woody chimed in – he essentially asked me what did I know about this guy really?  what did I know about his addiction?

It gave me pause.  It made me think.  His comment didn’t necessarily change my mind, but it did soften my stance a bit.  The truth is, we know that cigarette smoking is bad for you, but this guy I am sure already knows that.  For me the issue was smoking in front of the school and around kids.  For him, whether he knew it or not, the issue may be a question of the power of his addiction.  The point is, I didn’t know this guy at all.

***

Gee, I’m not doing a really good job of making my point here, am I?

What I’m trying to say is this – very often when disagreements come up, we think we are fighting from diametrically opposed positions, whether it’s smoking, politics or parenting in the autism community.  I think that more often than not, we are not comparing apples to apples and that if we really took the time to put ourselves in others’ shoes, we would find that we are a lot more similar than we think – and even if we are arguing apples to apples, it’s usually more along the lines of Granny Smith to Red Delicious.

I fail on a daily basis to walk in another’s shoes, but that does not mean I stop trying.

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Step One

This morning I took my first step toward becoming a CSCS (Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist).

I became a member of a national fitness organization (NSCA – National Strength & Conditioning Association) and ordered the study materials for certification.

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. And now I am on my way.

I am…

Excited.

Nervous.

Hopeful.

Absolutely scared.

Totally thrilled!

I can’t wait for my study materials to arrive. I can’t wait to get started, to find out how much I already know; how much I have to learn. I want to start right now! I’m targeting March as my certification date, so keep me in mind if you need help getting ready for Summer Pool Days!

My request to you?

Let yourselves go this Fall and Winter. Eat like it’s Thanksgiving every day from October until March, and then give me a call. I’ll be waiting, ready to help!

Can’t wait!

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Dear Katy,

Can I call you Katy? Seems kinda strange to call you Ms. Perry, especially since I’m old enough to be your dad…well, your uncle anyway.

Anyway, Katy, I took my older daughter Katie to see your movie Part Of Me yesterday. To be honest, despite secretly enjoying your music (please don’t tell anybody), I wasn’t particularly excited about seeing your movie. I mean, come on, a 42-year-old man seeing Part Of Me? Felt a little creepy to me, except for the fact that I was accompanying my daughter.

All that being said, I was pleasantly surprised – by the movie, by you, by the people you choose to surround yourself with – and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The honesty with which you expose yourself is both inspiring and heart breaking.

After the movie, as Katie and I walked across the Boston Commons, I asked her how she enjoyed it and what she thought of it. She was somewhat lost in thought, but managed to get an “I liked it” out. I couldn’t help but think I was getting a preview of my soon to be teenager – a topic for another day I suppose.

Over the last year or so I’ve caught Katie writing lyrics. Very often, when she would see that I had seen, she would crumple up the paper she was writing on. Recently she has begun fiddling on the piano with some of these lyrics in front of her.

Katie (not Katy) at the piano

She is still extremely private about what she is writing and stops as soon as she even senses me near the room.

I asked her if now that we had seen your movie, would she be pulling out her guitar that she rarely played and learn how to play a few chords. She said, “I’m really not any good at the guitar.” To which I responded that one only gets good at something by practicing and hard work. I brought her back to your movie, pointing out that your “instant” success was a bit of an illusion and that you had to work very hard for a long time for it, but also that a huge part of your success was your faith and belief in yourself and your music.

I don’t know what your ultimate message was with Part Of Me or even if you had one, but to me one of those messages was about following your dream with the understanding that hard work was necessary to ultimately reach one’s goal.

So that is what I tried to convey to Katie – if music was something she really wanted to do, and if writing songs was something she really enjoyed, then she needed to do it. I told her that without a doubt, she would write a bunch of stinkers, but that process would make her better and eventually lead to some real quality music.

I don’t know how much of that sunk in, but I am hoping that she will follow your example and chase whatever dreams she may have; if not in music then in whatever realm her dreams may lay.

So why am I mad at you? Why am I do angry with you?

When I was a boy, I wanted to grow up to be a singer. I “knew” I was destined to be on stage, singing my songs to thousands of people who were singing along with me. In my head I would make up songs and sing my heart out. I learned to play the flute (my pop said our apartment was too small for my first choices – trumpet or drums), then the piano and eventually began to teach myself the guitar.

And then I began to sing.

I knew I was on my way…until someone told me I sounded terrible and could not sing.

I. Was. Crushed.

And I stopped singing. I threw away the lyrics and let the music fade away from memory.

***

As a young man I decided I wanted to be a television star – not prime time mind you, I’m talking Soap Operas. Goofy, I know. If I couldn’t sing, I was sure I could still act – performing is performing, and I loved (love?) it. At the end of my time in college, I felt like I was just getting over my anxiety about “sounding terrible” and I was determined to go to New York.

Once again, the dream was in my head…

…and once again I let someone else tell me it was a bad idea.

And I didn’t go.

***

As an adult I went through a few different kinds of jobs – I managed paralegals, I taught high school, I did event planning for a premier New York City firm. All of them provided a certain amount of satisfaction, but I still wanted something different. Believing I could not sing or act, I eventually found a new love – fitness (part of the reason you find me here on Run Luau Run). I decided that maybe finally, I had found something that I could excel at, even possibly become a star of sorts (granted at a much smaller scale). I started to study to become a trainer, to help other help themselves. I really was gonna chase the dream this time.

Yet again, I let someone convince that this was not a good idea and I let it go.

***

Why am I mad at you? Because you and your movie and your music were not there when I was a boy, a young man and a late 30-something.

But I am glad I found you now as a dad because you have re-affirmed something in me.

I may be that plastic bag floating in the wind; I may be that paper thin house of cards; I may be buried six-feet underground; this firework may now simply only have the potential to be a sidewalk sparkler…that may be me; I know I am living a life of what if’s, of if only’s, of chances not taken, but I will be damned if I let my Katie do the same.

You reminded me yesterday to encourage my girl to take risks, not fear failure and chase her dreams now and not let anyone else dictate what it is that she wants to do, wants to be. I hope a part of Katy finds its way into a part of Katie.

Thank you for your music (it’s great to listen to while marathon training by the way), thank you for your movie, thank you for you…I’m still mad at you though!

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