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I always tell people that if you want incentive for going to the gym/exercising/eating right, sign up for something.

Anything – a 5K, a 10K, even a Half-Marathon.

Get something on the calendar; something that is not so far away that it joins the rest of the “some day”s in your bucket of  “I’ll get to that tomorrow”, but no so close that you are unable to train properly for it.  More importantly, tell people about it.  Let them know what you are doing so that they will hold you accountable.

After watching my various social media feeds during the Boston Marathon, I did just that.  I signed up for the Bay State Marathon which takes place on October 19th.  Although it is not until Fall, it gives me enough time to get my running legs back before I kick into Marathon Training Mode.  My goal is to go sub-3:25 (my new BQ-time as I move up in age group) with an eye on sub-3:20 to give me a cushion.

My plan is to spend the next month getting my legs back before beginning training in earnest near the end of June/early July.  I’ll even have a tune-up race in September that I will write about soon as a separate post.  I’m still trying to decide on a training plan so if some of you more experienced runners have suggestions, I am always open to them.

I’ve got something on the calendar and I’m announcing to the world so I am held accountable and incentivized to get out there and run.

***

Oh.

There’s one more thing.

I’m not exactly sure how, but it appears that I am signing up for the Ghost Train Rail Trail Ultra…which takes place 6 days after Bay State.  My friends Jeremy and Josh somehow convinced me (I’m positive one of them must be a Jedi and did the ole Jedi Mind Trick on me).  Runners can choose to run 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90 or 100 miles (I think there’s actually a 115 mile option for overachievers, but that’s just friggin’ ridiculous!).  I’m sure you can guess which distance we will be shooting for.  After completing the TARC 100 last June in just under 28 hours, my only regret was that I was not able to do it in under 24.  That will be the goal on October 25th/26th.  It just better not rain that week.

So there you have it.  Pushing the limits of what I am physically capable of will be the theme of the week from October 19th – 26th.

What the heck am I thinking?

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Yesterday I paced a buddy of mine to his first NYCM finish – we started strong, got knocked down around 18, but got up and finished strong.  Way to go brother!

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My training plan for June’s 100-miler called for a 24 mile run yesterday.  As a result of the week’s events here in Boston, my training had been a mess, so I was determined to get my long run in.  Jess was kind enough to take the kids out for the day and leave me to my running.

My goal was to run slowly, somewhere in the 10:00 per mile range, to begin the physical, and more importantly psychological adjustment to running at a slower pace than I am used to.  It’s been a tough week here in Boston.  Last Monday’s bombings went right to my heart.  That, followed by the shootout late Thursday night where one brave officer was killed, the lock down of the Metro-West area on Friday and the eventual capture of Suspect #2 Friday night, has made the week a bit of a roller coaster to be sure.  Although I was able to keep #AutismStreaks going, my mileage was minimal.

When my feet finally  hit the pavement yesterday, I knew almost immediately my plans for the run were changing.  Earlier in the day the London Marathon was run, thankfully without incident.  For whatever reason, maybe it was that the Boston Marathon was still fresh in my memory, I just knew that I too would have to run a marathon – and so I did.  I worked my way to the Boston Marathon course and was pleased to find other runners who had the same idea.  Throughout my 22 miles on the course, I chatted with several runners, all of whom, out of some mystical drive had decided that on this day running 26.2 miles was important.  Some may have been running to show support, others may have been running to show defiance.

Me?  I was running for the spectators, the organizers, the security, the runners. I was running for the heroes, for the doctors, the police officers, the citizens who ran toward danger instead of away from it.

I was running for running.

There was something in the air, because every runner I passed made eye contact and nodded – an acknowledgment of unity, of brother and sisterhood.

At about 18 miles into my run, I passed a car at a stop light.  The windows were closed, but I could see the driver’s Boston 2013 jacket.  I shouted something, and pointed at him and continued on.  Moments later when he passed me, he rolled down his window, beeped and gave me a raised fist of defiance.  I did the same and then wept over the next half mile.

***

What was I looking for out there yesterday?
What did I find?

Early in my run I passed a Church that was just letting out of service.  I have not had a relationship with the Guy Upstairs in quite a while, and although I am currently a non-believer, I think I understand why people have religion.  The parishioners were smiling, speaking happily with each other.  Whatever their pastor had spoken about had obviously done some good.  As I watched them smile and chat, I realized that I too, in my own way, was attending church.  I found myself smiling, despite the fact, or maybe because of the fact, that I was pushing my body.

There is a certain peace one finds on the pavement (or trail as the case may be).  Whether running with friends or running alone, the very act of running, to me, is an act of affirmation; affirmation that I am alive, that I can achieve, that I can overcome.  It doesn’t always make me feel 100% good about whatever predicament I may find myself in, but I don’t think any religion or philosophy can do that.

What did I find out there yesterday?

I found a certain amount of peace.

I found the desire to just be.

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After 26.2 miles – 3:50:56

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Last night I hopped in my car and drove so that I could take my daily #AutismStreaks run over to a specific part of the Boston Marathon course.  I ran up to it, refusing to run on it because that hallowed ground belongs to the runners today.  Instead I ran up to the twenty mile marker and took a moment to breath in what I envisioned would be happening today.   Mile 20 is right at the base of Heartbreak Hill, a place where many runners “lose it”.  I laid my hands on the ground, just hoping to absorb some of the energy and buzz that is the Boston Marathon.

Instead, I felt some of my energy flowing into the hill.  You know, energy is the wrong word.  It was more like my will flowing through my hands.  I could feel myself willing runners uphill during what will arguably be the hardest part of their day.

leaving some will power for both friends and strangers at the base of Heartbreak Hill...go get it my friends!

leaving some will power for both friends and strangers at the base of Heartbreak Hill…go get it my friends!

Whether you are a Boston first-timer, an experienced veteran of the Hopkinton to Boylston footrace or something in between, you are in for a treat today.  The forecast calls for 49° weather at the start and 49° weather at the finish.  I leave you with what I posted right before I ran Boston 2011, incidentally my last Boston to this point:

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted-One moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs,
but he keeps on forgettin what he wrote down,
the whole crowd goes so loud

He opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out
He’s choking how, everybody’s joking now
The clock’s run out, time’s up over, bl-OW!
Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity
Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked
He’s so mad, but he won’t give up that
Easy, no
He won’t have it , he knows his whole back’s to these ropes
It don’t matter, he’s dope
He knows that, but he’s broke
He’s so stagnant that he knows
When he goes back to his mobile home, that’s when it’s
Back to the lab again yo
This whole rhapsody
He better go capture this moment and hope it don’t pass him

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo!

-Eminem (Lose Yourself)

***   ***   ***

You never know when your next shot will be your last.

Get it!

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There was so much more that I didn’t document while I was out there running my unofficial New York City Marathon…hopefully I will get around to it sometime soon, but in the meantime, this was my iPhone’s experience today!

all photos (except for Staten Island shots – which were downloaded), videos, notes and editing done on the iPhone – thank you Steve Jobs.

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To run or not to run…

That is the question I have been grappling with over the last couple of days.

To be honest, even in the midst of Sandy, I was dead set on running New York this year.  So many factors came into play, not least of which was YOUR donations that put me over my fund raising goal in less than 3 weeks forcing me to wear a Katy Perry wig for the marathon.  How could I NOT hold up my end of the deal?  I was running, come Hell or high water…except the high water came…and it devastated parts of Staten Island, Manhattan and New Jersey, along with other parts of the Tri-State area.

Even as of Wednesday, I had no doubt I would be running the New York City Marathon this Sunday, pacing my girl Jersey to a sub-5:00 marathon with my blue wig from iParty; but as I’ve watched the coverage on TV and followed the posts and comments online, my determination has wavered.

The debate is passionate – on both sides.  Run the race. Cancel the race.  Postpone the race.  All valid opinions.  All of them.

My plan was to take the train down this evening, stay at my cousin’s tonight and tomorrow night, run the race on Sunday and then head home.  As of last night, the trains weren’t running, my cousin had no power, and because of the lack of ferry service, the bus traffic was going to be even more congested on race day.

There is no right answer when it comes to holding this marathon, there really isn’t.  Wait…no, let me re-phrase that – there are too many right answers when it comes to holding this year’s marathon.

$350 million could go a long way toward helping speed recovery in those areas of New York and New Jersey most devastated.  In addition, the NYRR is donating $26.20 for every runner that starts the race – that could quite possibly be an additional million dollars to help the City and surrounding area.

But then there’s the massive manpower needed to run an event like this.  The mayor has said that running the race will not take away from disaster relief, but that just sounds like wishful thinking to me.  One man watching over marathoners is one man who is not out there helping those in need, and with another storm approaching, the urgency to get people at least settled reaches a higher pitch.

Several people have approached me about my wearing of the wig – that it may be an added target to those angry spectators that may decide to cross the line.  If I were single and childless, I would laugh such suggestions off, in part because I know that even after 20 miles of running, I can outrun 80% of the population…but I can’t outrun projectiles…and I’m not single or childless.

Just as I gave up ever trying skydiving and bungee jumping the day I became a parent, I can’t put myself recklessly in harm’s way – I’ve been reading the comments online…they ain’t pretty.  In addition, despite the fact that the wig I picked up at iParty is for a charitable cause, I would completely understand if my appearance was taken as a sign disrespect to those affected by the storm.

Too many people are hurting.  I do think that the race should have been postponed or cancelled, but I also feel I owe a debt to all those that donated to the cause – I think that every charity runner is feeling that pressure.

So it is with a heavy heart that I am choosing to defer my entry into the New York City Marathon until 2013.

I wish all those who choose to run the very best; may the day treat you well.  I ask the runners to show residents their deserved respect, being mindful of what those in New York and New Jersey, particularly those on Staten Island, have been through.  I ask that those who disagree with those who choose to run take it out not on the runners but voice their opinions to the NYRR and the mayor.

I’ll be back next year…with my wig.

That’s a promise.

***

I want to thank Lara Collazo for all of the incredible work she is doing for the cause.  She is the organizer of all Team Up events and has been tirelessly working with Team Up runners to make sure they get what they need when they need it.  I also want to apologize to her publicly for choosing to defer so late in the game, especially in the midst of all she is doing. 

AutismCares is actively seeking families affected by autism who are victims of Hurricane Sandy and invites those families to call the Autism Response Team at 1-888-Autism2 (288-4762), En Español at 888-772-9050, or email autismcares@autismspeaks.org to receive assistance. Families may also register directly at www.autismcares.org. Please pass the info on to anyone who might need help.

Another option if you would like to help is http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gene-gurkoff/charity-miles_b_2065234.html .  Long story short, Gene over at Charity Miles will be making a special donation to relief efforts for every person that runs 26.2 charity miles this weekend.  How awesome is he?  Please check it out.

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***

If you follow along on Facebook or Twitter, you already know that I’ve started a campaign to capture Katy Perry’s attention and then convince her to donate one of her blue wigs to me to wear at this year’s New York City Marathon.  I started a petition on Change.Org to create a central location to collect your signatures.   If you have a moment, I’d greatly appreciate your signing the petition.  The link is —>HERE<— (or you can click on the image below).  I’ll wait right here while you go over and sign it.

Sign Here!!!

Thanks.

But that’s only one prong of my three-pronged strategy to get Ms. Perry’s attention.

***

Part two also involves you as well, if you are willing.  Members of Team Up With Autism Speaks and I are putting together a Twitter campaign to send a steady stream of tweets to Katy Perry (Twitter handle: @katyperry).  I have no idea how often she reads the tweets that are sent to her.  Based on what I’ve seen on her twitter stream, she receives quite a few tweets – that happens when you have 24 million followers.  Ideally, at any given point during the day, for the next 8 weeks until New York, somebody will tweet to Katy asking her to donate a wig.  Obviously I will be tweeting her on a regular basis, but the more people that do it, the more likely either she, or whoever runs her social media will see it.  If you are up to sending her regular tweets (or even just one tweet), maybe it could look something like this:

Dear @KatyPerry, please let @luau run the NYC Marathon w/ one of your blue wigs for #Autism #Awareness – http://tinyurl.com/c8hf476 #lightluaublue

or

Dear @KatyPerry, please let @luau run the NYC Marathon w/ 1 of your blue wigs for #Autism #Awareness – http://tinyurl.com/c8hf476 #luauisafirework

If you copy and paste either one of those two, you will use all 140 characters while providing her with a link to the petition, with hashtags for Autism and Awareness , which means that the tweet will pop up when people search for either one of those terms.  The link to Twitter is here:

Copy one of the tweets above and then click on the birdie!

The first coordinated Twitter-fest is tomorrow (Tuesday the 25th) at 10:30AM.  Hopefully if hundreds of people send her the same tweet at 10:30AM (EST), it might get noticed.

***

Finally the third prong of my strategy may or may not involve you – do you know Katy?  Somebody out there has to know her, right?  or at least someone who knows someone, whose uncle has customer who once dated a girl who is the sister of a guy who went to school with a girl whose aunt’s best friend’s son dated a girl who is one of Katy’s dancers?  Somebody, somewhere out there could let Katy know, right?  Okay, seriously though.  I’m trying to work through some people who work with people in the music industry, but if you know someone who knows her…or better yet, if YOU know her, I would love the opportunity to pitch my request to her.

…because I would look much better in this wig…

…than in this one!

***

So that’s it – my three pronged strategy: petition, twitter-bomb and finding somebody who might know somebody.  If you have suggestions on how better to reach her, please email me (runluaurun at gmail dot com) – I am open to any and all suggestions.

Don’t forget, 10:30AM tomorrow morning (EST).  I appreciate any and all help…even if it’s just passing this or the petition link or the tweet along.  Whether I succeed or not, I have a feeling that this will make a great starting point for my motivational speech the night before New York.

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