Archive for July, 2013

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You like to run – check!

You want to help the autism community – check!

You haven’t been able to get into the incredibly popular Falmouth Road Race, like, ever! – check!

Guess what? You have an opportunity right now, today (or tomorrow) to be able to get into THIS year’s race taking place on August 11th. 

How, you may ask?
There is a little start up company called Technology For Autism Now (TAN) that secured 4 charity bibs for the race.  I will readily admit that I know very little about them other than they are creating technology that makes it easier for our kids to communicate more easily with the world around them.  They are still looking for runners but registration closes tomorrow (July 31st).

What would be required of you?
Well, you’d pay the $50 entry fee and then need to raise $200 via their Firstgiving Page by October 31st.  That’s 3 full months to raise just $200 AND you get to run Falmouth (a race I have never been able to get into!)!!!

So who do you need to contact?
First email Racemenu at support@racemenu.com to let them know you want to do it and then go to racemenu.com/falmouth to register.  There are only 4 spots available as of this posting so grab ’em now while you can.  Who knows when you’ll get another guaranteed chance to run Falmouth!

I would be running too, but it appears I’m on my way to an appearance on the PUP list.

Now go!  Click on the link!  Go run Falmouth!!!

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I’ve run a lot of miles this year. 1,035 to be exact.  It’s been a great year of running for me.  I managed to run at least a mile a day, averaging over 5.5 mile a day, for 168 straight days to start the year. I ran my first 100-miler.

But I’ve got a problem.

It’s been almost a year now that I have been studying to take the NSCA CSCS certification  test, but #AutismStreaks and training for the TARC 100 has taken time away from that.  I had originally aimed to get myself certified by late March.  I am already 4 months behind.  A barely failed practice exam has made it clear to me that I need to re-evaluate my priorities.  I need to buckle down on the books and get my head back into studying regularly.  Running had become, to a degree, an escape.  As much as I love helping others train, burning the midnight oil with my nose in the books has been easy to pass up when given the choice of going for a late night run.

I can’t give myself that choice anymore.  I need to get back to studying at least twice a day, get myself certified and then get to work.

#AutismStreaks will have to be put on hold.  Consistent running will have to be put on hold.  Regular blogging and writing will have to be put on hold.

It’s time to get my priorities straight so I can get this done.

Wish me luck.  If I’ve discovered one thing during my studies, it’s that my brain isn’t as elastic as it was 25 years ago.

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The legendary “Race Across The Sky” 100-mile Run is where it all started back in 1983. This is it. The race where legends are created and limits are tested. One hundred miles of extreme Colorado Rockies terrain — from elevations of 9,200 to 12,600 feet. You will give the mountain respect, and earn respect from all. – See more at: http://www.leadvilleraceseries.com/page/show/311976-lt-100-mile-run#sthash.mgNYu2cl.dpuf


I just got word that I’m running Leadville next month!!!

Well, okay, I’m not running the Leadville 100, but my hydration belt is!

Many of you know, or know of, Maddy.  She is one of the two amazing women who paced me to my finish at the TARC 100 a month ago.

Me and my pacers, Erica (center) and Maddy (right).

Me and my pacers, Erica (center) and Maddy (right).

Without them I am not sure that I would have managed to finish in the allotted 30 hours.

At some point during the final 25 miles, one of the volunteers said that I would have to return the favor to Maddy some day soon by pacing her at a 100-miler.

I laughed.

Here’s the thing.  Maddy is fast.  I mean like threatening sub-3:00 marathon fast; I mean like she won the very first 100-miler she ever entered fast.  Any pacing I would do for her would simply slow her down and cost her both time and place.  Pacing her was out of the question.  Last month however, she noticed my snazzy hydration belt (made by CamelBak but apparently discontinued).  She asked me how I liked it (I loved it) and if it was heavy (it is not).  Before acquiring one she asked if she could borrow it.  After pacing me to my finish, I would have essentially done anything for her.

Turns out she loved it too, couldn’t find one anywhere else and asked if she could use it for the Leadville 100 next month.

Who was I to say no?  Now a small part of me will be with her the entire way, keeping her hydrated, and hopefully pushing her to a strong finish and a big, shiny belt buckle!

Go get it Maddy!

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I recently read a blog post of an acquaintance of mine where the poster came clean about having gained back nearly the 100 lbs lost over the previous few years.  This was particularly hard for the blogger because the blog had become a source of inspiration for so many trying to lose weight and get fit.  What was the main reason for the weight gain?  After watching food intake and running regularly, the blogger stopped doing both.  Having reached the goal weight, the “scaffolding” was put away.


Recently it was suggested by some people who have a direct impact on Brooke’s education that certain support services be phased out or removed.  The argument was made that she didn’t need them anymore, evidenced by just how well she was doing; that the scaffolding was no longer necessary.


There are short-term projects, there are long-term projects and then there are life-long projects.  In both the short- and long-term projects, eventually, usually with some hard work, one will reach a goal, bask in the glory of achievement and then move on to the next goal.  The supports used for attaining that goal can either be passed on to others or put away for the next time they become necessary.

But then there is the lifetime-goal or maybe more appropriately, the lifestyle-goal.  I don’t mean Robin Leach’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” kind of lifestyle, I mean the “way you live your life” kind of lifestyle.  These kind of goals, if different from the way we currently live our lives, demand changes in the way we go about doing things.  They require us to buy into a system so to speak; to drink the kool-aid.


A few years ago I set a goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  Using a variety of tools that included core work, interval training, tempo run and many others, I accomplished that.  For quite some time afterward, I did not feel the need to push myself as hard.  I still ran marathons (halves, fulls and ultras), but my approach to them changed.  I simply wanted to be able to enjoy them and spread the enjoyment of them to those around me.  I was able to put away some of those tools that I had used so intensely during BQ-training because I no longer needed them.  I will pull them out again, in the near future, as I attempt to qualify for Boston again in either 2014 or 2015.

In the meantime, I do continue to run on a regular (and currently daily) basis.  Why?  Because I know that unlike qualifying for Boston (which is a specific point in time goal), I also want to live a long, healthy life and be physically able to care for my wife and children as long as I can.  Physical fitness is NOT a “point in time” goal.  It is a lifetime goal.  Therefore that “scaffolding” that helps me build my fitness is not just scaffolding – it becomes part of the permanent structure.


Brooke has autism.  She will always have autism.  She will acquire skills and develop the ability to adapt over the course of time, but autism will always be a part of her.  Those skills and ability to adapt come from the scaffolding that is put in place around her.  It’s true that eventually she may not need all of the supports she receives and someday I hope that she will be able to live as independently and be as societaly productive as any of her neurotypical peers, but the tools will have to always remain present in one form or another.

I don’t see the logic in taking away support because the support is working as some administrators might suggest.

The same goes for fitness and health.  It’s one thing to join a gym, take a class, change the way you eat or whatever works for you to achieve a fitness goal – just remember what got you there.

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I was not born in the United States of America.  I was born half way around the world in Nagoya, Japan.  I am half-Japanese.  I am 46.875% White – for those of you who inspired this post, that’s less than half…if you don’t understand the numbers, go back to the grade in elementary school when you stopped paying attention and try learning something for once – a lack of education is the only explanation I can come up with to explain the bigotry, the hate, the racism.

I have asked myself many times in life Am I White enough (or Asian enough)?

Generally it would be right before meeting a girlfriend’s parents.  You see, I understood that both my parents’ and my grandparents’ generation came from a time when there was still great social unrest.  When I was born in 1969 the Civil Rights’ Movement was in high gear; World War II had ended just 25 years earlier.  Information traveled much more slowly then and so did change.  My American grandfather (a Captain in World War II) forbade my father from coming home to Florida with his Japanese wife.  My dad, ever the progressive called him after I was born and said, “I’m coming home with my wife and your first grandson.”  When confronted with the reality of his adorable grandson, the barriers fell somewhat.  Still, as a young adult, I was always conscious of the fact that the members of the generations that came before me may not be as accepting of a mixed-race person as those of my generation, and presumably those that came after.

Until recently, I have never asked myself if I was White enough to be considered a real American; but then there was the San Antonio Mariachi Kid thing

de la Cruz

de la Cruz (click on the picture)

followed by the MLB All-Star Game Marc Anthony thing

Anthony – click on the picture

and I had to start to wonder…am I White enough to be considered American?  Would White and Black America light up Twitter with words of hate if I sang the National Anthem for a game (assuming I could actually sing)?  Did White and Black America wonder  “who is that Nip throwing out a first pitch at Fenway?” when I threw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game a few years back? 

Did anyone ask, "who is that foreigner up there?"

Did anyone ask, “who is that foreigner up there?”

Did they ask,  “What has ‘Merica’s game come to?”  

Yeah…click on the picture of de la Cruz to see the nasty tweets sent his way.  They are not just from White America.

Both Sebastion de la Cruz and Marc Anthony are American citizens.  They were BORN here in these supposedly United States; and yet these “real Americans” tweet away, calling them all kinds of awful names.  I was NOT born here, but because my father is an American, I was deemed a citizen of the United States of America the moment I was born.  I have been a proud American since the moment I drew in my first breath of air and that pride had never and still has not wavered…but I am only 46.875% White.

And now I wonder…am I White enough?

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I’ve been watching the post-Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman verdict drama unfold over the last few days.  I’ve seen much of the African-American community absolutely flabbergasted that Zimmerman could be found innocent. I’ve seen much of the White community screaming and yelling that this trial was not about race, but about self-defense.  I’ve seen posts on Facebook and Twitter and other social media supporting either Martin’s family or Zimmerman; demonizing one or the other.

If it weren’t so tragic; if a young man hadn’t lost his life; if another man hadn’t ruined his own life; if the underlying current of racism that still exists in this country wasn’t so clumsily exposed, I would find it all almost amusing – the media seems to.

I am not Trayvon Martin.

Nor am I George Zimmerman.

I am not African-American.

I am not White.

Nor am I Asian or Native American.

I have never had the privilege and comfort that White (Hispanic or otherwise), African-American or any other racial communities have long taken for granted – a true sense of community, of belonging, of “us”; one that goes to the very core of their being, of their identity.

I am a HAPA.  You see, I am half-Japanese.  My other half is mostly white with a sprinkling of Native American for good measure.  I am both White and Asian, yet I am neither.  I went to preschool, kindergarten and first grade in Japan – where I wasn’t nearly Japanese enough to be truly embraced into the culture or accepted by my peers.  I finished my schooling in Miami and Seattle, where I wasn’t quite White enough to be part of that ethnic group either; again never truly fitting in with any of my peers.

All of my life I have never quite fit in to any group…except well, maybe my fraternity in college (we were truly the island of beer drinking misfit toys) but that is neither an ethnic nor racial group.

I’ve watched both Whites and African-Americans dig in their heels, point fingers, lay blame.  If Zimmerman hadn’t… If Martin hadn’t… If only Zimmerman had… If only Martin had…

I’ve engaged some of the folks on both sides regarding the verdict.  Nobody wants to listen to what the other has to say.  They don’t want to know what they don’t know; they don’t want to understand what they don’t understand.  They didn’t grow up in each other’s communities.  They can’t possibly know the unfounded fear that each has of the other.

Now don’t get me wrong.  A significant majority of my non African American friends seem to have fallen on the Trayvon Martin side of the argument, but even they seem unable to grasp what it means to be Black in America.

Jess recently wrote about finally understanding what a African American mother must goes through every time she sends her babies out into the world – the fear, the worry.  I was somewhat surprised, in part, because growing up I felt like I was that baby no matter where I went.  It didn’t matter if I was riding my bike through a White neighborhood, a Black neighborhood, a Latino one or an Asian one…no matter where I went, I was a stranger, I was different and therefore drew some underlying suspicion.  The parents of the girls I dated were more often than not slightly uncomfortable at first, in part because they just were not sure “who” or “what” I was.  Although I embraced the fact that I was half-Asian and half-White, publicly stating that I had the best of both worlds, internally I was constantly at sea, knowing that my ship could never dock permanently anywhere.

Ultimately though, I think my racial ambiguity has helped me develop the people skills I have to today.  I was forced to figure out a way to connect with people without the luxury of either the unspoken racial connection I witness when two people of the same race meet or the racial recognition one has for someone of a distinctly different race.

My lack of race I think enables me to see the casual racism by both Whites and African Americans (and Asians for that matter) that others don’t see in themselves.  This case exposed what still exists in this country – racial tensions that bubble beneath the surface, just low enough in some places that many people have learned or chosen to ignore it.  We’ve come a long way in 60 years.  We still have a long way to go.

My hope is that, as I have had to do all my life out of necessity,  people will try to at least imagine walking in the shoes of someone who did not grow up in the same environment as themselves – imagine what it must be like when others assume you are a criminal; imagine what it is like when others assume you are a racist; imagine what it is like when others assume you are taking advantage of the system; imagine what it is like when others assume you are privileged.

We are more similar to each other than different; we all want personal happiness, we all want to see our parents live long and our children thrive.  My hope is that people will recognize that these similarities should bond us together instead of letting our differences drive us apart.  I envy the connection that people have to those within their own race, but I am grateful that my lack of race, my lack of belonging, my lack of  “us”  has forced me to simply see people for who they are.

Me and a fellow Hapa - not quite White...not quite Asian

Me and a fellow Hapa – not quite White…not quite Asian


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It was over 12 years ago that I sought out the advice of a friend of mine.  I was about to start a new “job” – Stay At Home Dad/Homemaker.  This friend had done it for several years (an incredible story for another time).  I trusted his judgement and advice.  He started with 2 words – “Embrace It”.  I remember cocking my head as if to ask, “what do you mean?”  He told me that too often, whether or not a father had chosen to or had been forced to due to circumstance to become a Stay At Home Dad, men would brush off the title as a “temporary gig”.  They would always follow up “I’m a Stay At Home Dad” with some kind of qualifier – “but it’s temporary” or “but I’m really a salesman, actor, lawyer, construction worker, businessman”, etc, etc.  He told me that if I didn’t jump in with two feet, I would be unhappy and as a result, so would my kids.

“You’ve got to completely embrace that this is what you do.  Yes, you are your kid’s dad, but you’ve got to understand that this will be the hardest, most rewarding job you will ever have…but only if you embrace it,” he said.

It sounded like sage advice to me, and so I did – and I have thoroughly enjoyed myself.  What I have discovered years later it that the advice, when truly boiled down to its essence was not about child-rearing – it was about being happy with one’s self and embracing the choices made.


Recently a friend of mine, knowing that I am this close to getting my CSCS certification asked me for some advice.  This person wanted to lose some weight and do some body sculpting by a certain date for a big event in the late Fall.  After an intake interview, I drew up a plan that included both nutritional and exercise goals.  Both started off very easy, practically guaranteeing early successes at small tasks requiring very little time that would serve as a foundation for the more intense and difficult work ahead.  Although this person asked about specific exercises, I made it clear that we wanted to start easy to make sure there was a foundation in place when we introduced specific exercises later on.

From the start though there were excuses – I’m going to a party.  I didn’t sleep well last night.  It was a busy day.   I pushed back a little bit with encouragement and a reminder of what the ultimate goal was and the fact that the current time demands were minimal.

Change is hard.  I get it.  It’s easier for some than others.  Jess will tell you that I will change, but like a huge super-sized steamship on the ocean, it takes me a while to make a turn in a different direction – I’ll get there, but it takes a little while.  I truly understand that making a change is scary, difficult and most of all, overwhelming even when the changes are small.  After consecutive days of excuses, I stopped talking as Friend Luau and brought out Trainer Luau – I told my friend that change wasn’t going to happen simply by thinking about it.  In order to achieve the stated goals, work was going to have to be done on a regular, consistent, daily basis.

“Fortunately,” I said, “there is a specific goal, both physically and chronologically.  It gives you an endpoint, a peak, a destination.”

And then I remembered my friend’s advice from so many years ago.

“Embrace it!”

I then said, “in order to achieve the stated goal, you’re going to have to embrace the program, make it a priority OR embrace where you are and be happy with that.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  But if you half-ass it, you’re not going to be happy with the results because you’ll feel like you are over-sacrificing for less that optimal returns.”

We’ll see what happens.

I understand that not everyone is gung-ho about fitness and/or running like I am.  I understand that embracing the vehicle of change is not easy for most (including myself).

I’m not sure what it is I am trying to convey in this post other than this – if you have a fitness goal and you are presented with a choice between immediate gratification that works against that stated goal and the goal itself, take a moment to think about what it is you really want.  There’s nothing wrong with a day of debauchery every now and again – in fact, I highly recommend it to keep yourself sane, but at some point, a consistent choice has to be made, especially when there is a time aspect to your stated goal – am I happy where I am?  or do I want to achieve this goal?  And if you consistently choose the immediate gratification over the fitness goal, don’t beat yourself up for it.  Perhaps you didn’t really want that goal in the first place.  Perhaps that goal was placed there by others or by society.

Choose the spot where you will be happy and then embrace it because ultimately, happiness is beautiful.


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