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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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Throwing Out the First Pitch at Fenway on Autism Awareness night.

Eck. Mariano. Pap. …Luau.

That could’ve been me on that list if only my father had put a baseball in my hands when I was little. I’m not particularly gifted athletically, but being left-handed, all I really had to do was get the ball over the plate and I’m sure I could’ve been a major league pitcher, even an all-star reliever…

…ok, probably not.

But as a kid, I used to dream about being a closer. Coming in at the end of the game, bases loaded, no outs, my team desperately clinging to a 1 run lead in the bottom of the 9th…the crowd going wild…

9 pitches. 9 strikes. 3 outs. Game over.  The clubhouse erupts as the ballpark goes silent.

Okay, okay, at age 42 I still have those dreams, but it’s a little late for me to pick up a baseball.

***

Recently however, I’ve picked up a new way to become a closer.

As you may recall, last November, at the New York City Marathon, after finishing my 26.2 miles,

I ran back to mile 23 to wait for my girl Jersey and run her in.

As spent as my legs were, it was an absolute thrill to help her get to the finish line of her very first marathon.

Look at the huge grin on my face

A week later I hopped in as a bandit at a local half-marathon.  After finishing, I intended to run home. Part way there, I was spotted on course by a friend who had just read my race recap of New York.  She asked if I could run her in.  Who was I to say no? and then on the way home, I saw another reader and I did it again.

Not long thereafter I received this message from a dailymile friend:

Hi,

We met at the Run to Remember, just briefly. I’m a big fan of your blog. While I was out on my run today I had a crazy idea/request….Would you consider running me in the last 5 -10 miles of Boston next year?

It will be my first marathon. I’m really excited to run it but I know I will be pretty beat at the end. And it would just be super cool to have one of my local running heroes help me achieve this goal.

Crazy, I know; I’m basically a total stranger. So, what the scoop? I’m on the Dana-Farber team and will be running a slow 11 min pace (possibly slower). I would gladly make a $100 contribution to Autism Speaks for your kindness…

I figured the worse you could say was no, and that’s not so bad.

Thanks!
L

How can I say no?  Especially since she’s offering to make a donation to my favorite charity!

And so it seems that I may have found a new way to become a closer.  Barring an unexpected trip on Patriots Day, I plan to run L in to the finish, helping her over the last 9-10 miles of her first marathon and then run home (a good way to get one of my 20-milers in before Sugarloaf).  It may not be quite as riveting as watching Mo or Eck or Pap break the hearts of the opposing teams, but it is pretty damned satisfying AND it helps one more person achieve their goal of 26.2 miles.

Maybe this is the start of a new trend/business venture/charity fund raiser – Luau’s Closers for Charity.  On race day, we guarantee we will get you to the finish line!

Who’s with me?  Do you need a closer? Do you want to be a closer?  I do need to start raising funds for Team Up! with Autism Speaks for the New York City Marathon this November!  You name the race – for the right donation, I’ll be there to bring you home!  Email me!

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