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My reason...

My reason…

It’s been a tough week at Chez Luau – last Monday Brooke came down with a headache that became so bad that we decided to take her to the ER. The doctors in the ER ruled out stroke and meningitis, but could not figure out what had happened other than to say maybe she had a virus coming on and her system went “haywire”. Not very satisfying. They could not rule out brain seizure.

That was followed up with an EEG on Thursday and a meeting with a neurologist later this morning.

For whatever reason, autistic kids have something like a 25-40% chance of suffering a brain seizure before/as they enter puberty. It has loomed large on the horizon for us, but last Monday’s headache, followed by falling asleep right after dinner on the couch and certain behaviors while Jess and Brooke were waiting in the ER brought those concerns into focus.

***

On Saturday, while out running 5 miles in the middle of the Nemocalypse, I came to another “why” moment. Not the “why me” kind of why; no, the “the reason why I run” kind of why.

After 5 miles during Nemo...

After 5 miles during Nemo…

The autism community is split when it comes to topics of science and research, especially when talking about an organization like Autism Speaks. Jess has written extensively about the power dynamic between autistic people and their parents. Parental advocacy can look very different than self advocacy. Along with its awareness campaigns, an organization like Autism Speaks funds quite a bit of research into the possible causes of autism. Some people talk about possibly finding a “cure” for autism through this research.

When Brooke was first diagnosed with autism, the first thought that came to mind was how do we cure this? This thinking does not sit well with many of the self-advocates because, well, to put it simply, they don’t feel the need to be “cured”. Jess has made this point more eloquently many times over, but the point is this – how would you feel if someone was constantly telling you that you needed to be cured of something that was intrinsically you? I don’t think it would feel so good.

But that being said, I still run for Autism Speaks and I still raise funds for them – along with trying to raise autism awareness, this whole #AutismStreaks thing has essentially been a fund raiser for them – and it is situations like this past week that have reinforced my belief that research is necessary, that funding for science is a must.

What we find out regarding Brooke over the next few days is almost irrelevant in the big picture. We will find out that Brooke either had a migraine or had a minor seizure or that her system is completely normal and as the doctors said in punting Monday night, her system went haywire under stress. The bigger picture is that our kids DO suffer from a significantly higher incidence of seizures. Science can help up determine why, how and maybe even what we can do to prevent those seizures.

There was a time when, if offered, I would jump at the offer for a pill that would “cure” Brooke of autism…as a parent, I would be lying if I said that I still wouldn’t consider it, but the truth is, I know there would be hesitation on my part, because I wouldn’t want to lose WHO Brooke is. Ultimately, it would have to be her decision, not mine. But in the meantime, I feel like with proper funding, science CAN realistically attempt to understand why brain seizures are happening to our kids. Even if there is no project currently exploring the connection between our kids and brain seizures, the history of science is filled with accidental discoveries – so it’s not unreasonable to think that as scientists delve into the causes of autism, they may stumble onto the cause of these seizures.

It’s another reason for me to run – another reason to keep #AutismStreaks going even when my legs or lungs or brain tell me it’s time for a rest – another reason my heart continues to say Run Luau Run!

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Oh Snap!!! This just happened!

Charity Miles takes it to a whole new level

I think I’m gonna need some running, walking, biking help! Download Charity Miles  and whenever you walk, run or bike, hashtag #teamluau so we can see Rebecca run in a gorilla suit!

***

Update: I somehow missed this email that went out to ALL Charity Miles users…this friendly challenge has just gone national.

Battle Of The Century!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 12:15 PM
Rebecca vs. Luau
Loser Wears a Gorilla Costume!

#TeamLuau vs. #TeamBecca

Dear Team Charity Miles,Remember our friend, Luau? Last month he rocked the Boston 13.1 Half Marathon by personally shuttling every Autism Speaks team member to the finish line. That’s him in the picture above, running with another Autism Speaks All Star, Rebecca Barnes.

Well, now Rebecca wants to repay Luau for his chivlary… by personally challenging him to see who can run the most Charity Miles for Autism Speaks in the month of October! See the full Twitter-war on Luau’s blog here.

And she’s not pulling any punches: The loser has to run the difference wearing a gorilla suit, Autism Speaks jersey and blue wig!  My approximation shown below 😉

Rebecca drew first blood last night with a 2.6 mile run. But Luau came right back with a 6.8 mile run of his own. Ouch! It is so on!

If I can be so bold, I’m adding a new dimension to this challenge. Tell us whether you are on #TeamLuau or #TeamBecca. Anytime you tweet one of those hashtags at the end of the Charity Miles (for any charity), your miles will be counted to Luau’s or Rebecca’s totals. Bring it!

All the best,
Gene

#EveryMileMatters

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Morning run.

Bike ride to work.

Walking the dog.

Do these sound like fund raisers?  Well, they can be.

And it is seriously that simple. There is a fantastic little app, available on both iPhones and Android devices, called Charity Miles.  It allows you to be sponsored during whatever walking, biking or running activity you take part in.  The best part is that you are not limited to one or two charities to choose from.  You can choose from nine charities that are varied in what they do:

You simply start the app, swipe to the charity of your choice, press start and go.  For each mile you walk or run,  you earn 25¢ for your charity of choice.  For every mile you bike, you earn 10¢.  It may not sound like a lot, but it adds up.  If every runner at Boston 13.1 had used the app, nearly $5000 would have been raised simply with swipe of a finger.  In the short time I have been using the app, I’ve raised enough money to fund nearly 5 hours of autism research.  Think about how much you move throughout the day.  Whether it’s your morning run, walking the kids to school, biking to work, walking the dogs three times a day…every step can count; every errand can be a fund raiser.  The only work you have to do is the work you were already going to be doing!

Charity Miles has $1,000,000.00 to give away.

One.  Millions.  Dollars.

That’s a lot of dollars.  Their goal is to give it all away by May 31, 2013.

Food, school supplies, Parkinson’s research, conservation, housing, inclusion…whatever your charitable cause may be (and of course, if you have no preference, I’d say go light blue!), you can help each of these charities earn a chunk of the millions dollars simply by moving you body.

This is how it works:

This is Gene’s (the founder) story:

Gene’s Story

It’s a free app, paying you to do what you were already going to do.  The more people who do this, the more money our charities earn, the bigger impact we have.

So if you run, walk, bike, skip, shuffle, dance or moonwalk your way around your neighborhood or to and from work, take a moment to download the app.  You’re going to do those activities anyway, why not get paid for it!

And who knows, you might end up in a cool email like the one that arrived in my inbox early last night:

Luau Earns Style Points
With Team Up With Autism Speaks
Is this email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.

Team Player!

Dear Team Charity Miles,

Meet Matt “Luau” Wilson.  Yesterday, Matt joined 260 teammates from Autism Speaks to run the Boston Half Marathon.  Luau had coached this team all summer.  So when race day came, there was no holding back.  Out came the Big… Blue… Afro!

But Luau’s style points don’t end there.  After pacing one of his teammates to a P.R. (personal record), Matt ran back onto the course to shuttle in the next teammate he could find. Then he did it again… And again… And again… Until he personally ran in all 260 teammates.  All in all, Matt ran over 22 miles– nearly a full marathon!  Way to go Matt!  Way to be a team player!

Also, congratulations to everyone else on Team Up who helped raise over $175,000 for Autism Speaks yesterday.  Just goes to show you how a small group of people can have a big impact.  Or, as we, like to say, “Changing the world is a team sport!”

In honor of Matt and Autism Speaks, wear something blue while you do your Charity Miles this week.  Tweet out the #GoTeam hashtag and you could win a free T-Shirt!

All the best,
Gene

#EveryMileMatters

Copyright © 2012 Charity Miles, All rights reserved.
Every Mile Matters!
Our mailing address is:

Charity Miles

320 West 38th Street

New York, NY 10018

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Loaded

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com]

There are many reasons why I run.  Some are for me – the sense of accomplishment, the feeling of achievement; but some are for others.

I run because I need to know that I am doing everything possible to make sure that I am “there”.  I don’t mean “there” in the sense of the here and now – no, I am talking about being “there” down the line.  I run for my kids.  I run for the wife.  I run for my parents.

Statistics show that those that lead a sedentary life have a significantly higher likelihood of being inflicted with cancer or other life-debilitating diseases.  Add extra weight (not even obesity) to that equation and the numbers become staggering.

According to the Mayo Clinic, men who have a beer gut are at a higher risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Some types of cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Insulin resistance
  • High triglycerides
  • Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Sleep apnea

For women, the increased belly fat brings a higher risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Gallbladder problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Colorectal cancer

Depending on how sedentary the life-style and the amount of weight, the increased risk can be as much as 50%.

But here’s the thing, even if a sedentary life only added a 5% chance of getting cancer or some other life-ending disease, would you want to take that chance, knowing that exercise and healthful eating habits could have helped you avoid them?  Could you look your children or spouse in the eyes at the end and simply apologize because you couldn’t find the motivation to move your body?

Time is a factor, I know.  There are only 24 hours in a day, and busy, hectic life-styles can impede the ability to sweat.  Carving out 120 minutes per week can be difficult.  It’s hard.  It shouldn’t be, but it is.  Still, I bet if you kept a diary of everything you did in the coming week, you would find a 30 – 40 minute window in a few spots.  Give it a try.  Seriously.

Energy is another factor.   Low-energy can sap the will like nothing else, but I tell you this – you energy-level is much like matter in that it is subject to inertia.  If it is sedentary, it will remain sedentary until you move it.  The spectacular part though is that once it is moving, it is more likely to stay in motion.  You just have to push – a little bit, every day.  Get the ball rolling and the rest will take care of itself.

So, I guess the question is, are you happy playing Russian Roulette?  The statistics say that nothing should happen when you pull the trigger, but do you want to take that chance?  Whether it’s a bullet or life-ending disease, the result is the same.

That is a reason I run; why I try to break a sweat at least 2 out of every 3 days.

Take the bullets out of the gun.

There are no guarantees in life other than death and taxes, but why not stack the deck in your favor?

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Why do you run?

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[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com]

On this day,

Run to honor those whose feet no longer touch the earth,

And now run with angels.

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Remember

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com]

Run.

Run today because you can.

Run today because there are those who can’t.

Run today because there are those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to give you the freedom to do so.

Run to Remember.

***

Thank you to our brothers and sisters who put their lives on the line every day so that we may do what we do.

Thank you to the spouses of our soldiers, police officers and firemen who support them.

Thank you to those who have been taken from us too soon.

Thank you to those they have left behind.

Without you I could not run the way I do, and for that I am eternally grateful.

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-To My Non-Running Friends –

This is my New Year’s Resolution (please ignore the fact that I just wrote a post about not waiting until New Years to make resolutions):

I want you to start running*.

Here’s my pitch:

It’s gonna hurt.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it.  Even after running for over a year now, the first 1 – 3 miles can still suck whenever I go out for a run.  The likelihood is that over the first couple of months, you will rarely get past 3 miles, and you shouldn’t.  Most of the time it’s gonna stink.  Most of the time it’s gonna hurt.  You’re gonna ask yourself why?  Why are you running these stinking 2-3 mile runs 3 days a week.  Why did you listen to that stupid Luau and start this stupid thing?  Why are you not sleeping in/going to bed early/lounging on the couch/cuddling with your significant other?  Why Luau Why?

Wrong questions.

Look at the people who have crossed the threshold.  The looks on their faces when they are done with a run should be all the answer and motivation you need.  It feels good.  It makes them happy.  The first 1-3 miles become an entrance fee – an investment in the run, if you will.  If the payoff wasn’t worth it, they wouldn’t be doing it.

That’s it.

That’s my pitch.

Tell yourself whatever you need to get past the first few months; to get to the point where you can run 5-6 miles comfortably 3 or 4 times a week.  That’s when you really start to see the payoff physically.  Tell yourself that you need to get in shape.  Tell yourself that you want to be at your child’s graduation.  Tell yourself that you want to be able to walk your daughter down the aisle when she get married.  Tell yourself that you want to hold your special person’s hand when you are both in your 80’s.  Tell yourself whatever the hell is takes to get yourself to that 6 mile mark.

Once you’re there you won’t have to tell yourself anything.  Your body will tell you.  It will tell you it’s time to run, it’s time to let the horses out.  It won’t be a fight to get your butt off the couch.

BUT…

You’re going to need a plan.  You’re going to need support.  Sometimes the simplest of plans can work.

A simple log.

Keep track of every mile and all of the food you eat.  It’s not nearly as hard as you think.  If you have a smartphone there are plenty of apps that will record both for you.  Otherwise, a small pad and mini-pen will work just fine.  The simple act of keeping a log can steer you towards healthier habits.  That is what worked for me.  I dropped the food log about 2 months in when I realized that my eating habits overall were just fine except for the second full plate of dinner I was having every night.  As soon as I stopped going back for seconds and thirds every night, the pounds melted away.  I have kept a workout log since November 2008.  Two nights ago I proudly logged my 1,329th mile of running for 2009.

Start slowly.  1-3 miles per run, 3 times a week.  Try to follow the 10% percent rule, building your weekly mileage just a little at a time.  Set a goal for yourself for the year.  400 miles.  It may sound like a lot.  That’s because it is.  But if you break it down, it comes down to a little over 33 miles a month – that’s just a touch over a mile a day.  You can find an average of 15 minutes a day.

You will stumble.  You will have days, maybe even weeks where it all falls apart.  It’s inevitable and it’s okay.  But as long as you get back up, you will be fine.  Stay determined, stick with your plan and you will be rewarded.  When you hit the 5-6 miles per run average, you will see the changes in the mirror.

As for support, you can always find it here.  I am more than happy to help.  Even better, you can find it on websites like dailymile or even Twitter where you will find an instant group of friends who will support and cheer you on.  They will help you when you are down, and celebrate when you are up.

My goal this year is to get you to start running.

For my running friends:  My goal is to get you to get 10 of your non-running friends to start running regularly in 2010.  If 40 of you get 10 of your friends to start running and they do the same next year, and so on, we can have this whole nation running by 2016.  Healthcare reform?  We won’t need it!  It starts now.

*If you can’t run, then bike or swim or cardio-kickbox.  Whatever it is that will get you eventually exercising regularly 3-4 hours a week.

Email me here ( runluaurun )  if you would like to leave a non-public comment/question or leave a comment in the comment section:

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