Posts Tagged ‘Thank you’

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Dear Jeremy,

Thank you.  Thank you for being who you are.  Thank you for doing what you did.  Partying, drinking and taking drugs with your son is one thing, but this took it to a whole new level.  Blocking off a residential street so your drunk son could drag race in a high performance car?  Brilliant!  So soon after we lost Paul Walker in a fiery car accident?  Genius!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  And what’s the harm, right?  No one got hurt.  No one died…yet.

Because of you, the rest of us dads, those of us who struggle every day, wondering if we are doing a decent job by our kids, can look at each other and nod.  We can take heart, knowing that we are trying to be parents, not friends, to our kids.  We can find comfort in knowing, “at least we’re not that guy.”

So thank you, Jeremy.  Thank you.



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Running can be a lonely sport.  Yes, you can’t throw a rock in certain parts of the country without hitting a running club or group, but ultimately, at its very core, running is an individual undertaking – YOU must put one foot in front of the other to move forward; YOU are the engine that makes you go; YOU and only you can take you from point A to point B.

But it’s rarely just about getting from point A to point B, is it?

I was reminded during the TARC 100 that running is truly the most team-oriented individual sport I have ever participated in.  It is something I have always known, and even written about here, but I felt like I was completely immersed in the team aspect of individual running during my nearly 28 hour journey last weekend.

I would not have had the will or the means to cover 100 miles in so short a time had it not been for Erica & Maddy (my pacers from 54.5 to the finish), Doug (who crewed for me from 25 to 75), the volunteers at each of the Aid Stations and Road Crossings or my wife Jess constantly checking in via text offering words of encouragement.

On the Sunday morning after the race, still unable to collect my thoughts fully, I wrote this on the TARC Facebook Page:

Thank you to the TARC Staff and volunteers! Your enthusiasm throughout the night and day and night again was energizing and helped keep the darkness of doubt at bay. I know that my buckle-status was in part achieved because of you – THANK YOU!
Also, the tenderness with which you treated those of us who finished was amazing.

I would then later post this about my two pacers:

So the enormity of what these two women did for me on Saturday is just finally sinking in. Erica…paced me from mile 54.5 to mile 75 and Maddy…paced me from 75 to 100. Erica had never met me (online or in real life) yet she jumped right in and kept me going for 6 hours. Maddy, whom I have long admired as a runner, heard I needed help and drove over at the drop of a hat to shepherd me through the final stages…I cannot possibly do either of you justice with words (as my eyes start to well up). Thank you!

Without these people, I would have simply been just some fool running in the woods.  I also would have had the common sense to stop after about 6 or 7 miles, probably even sooner.

To paraphrase Elizabeth Warren’s and Barry O’s often misquoted line, “You didn’t build that”, I didn’t do that…WE did that!  And it is not just the volunteers or my fellow TARC racers or Doug or JB or Erica or Maddy or Jess.  It wasn’t just the Charity Miles App that allowed me to raise funds for my charity of choice with every step I took; it wasn’t just Mophie, the company that donated two battery packs to keep my phone, and therefore the Charity Miles App, running for 28 straight hours; it wasn’t just Julie C and her beautiful daughter showing up at Mile 50 to remind me who I was running for…

It was YOU!  YOU helped carry me to the end when my legs were failing.  YOU helped drive me to the finish when MY will was breaking.  YOU delivered strength when the darkness of doubt came over me.  YOU made sure I got the silly not so little belt buckle at the end of the day.

This villager would like to thank his village for being part of and helping me finish my first 100 mile foot race.

Thank you.

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It’s been a rough, tough couple of weeks here.  For those that don’t follow me or Jess on Facebook or Twitter, we received news earlier this week that Brooke has in fact been suffering from brain seizures.  Jess and I were, despite preparing ourselves for the possibility, completely rocked.  The news from the neurologist was followed up just hours later with more difficult news from Brooke’s neuropsych (or as Jess calls him – Dr. Dreamy).  Her verbal IQ had taken a frightening tumble over the last year, dropping her into the bottom one percentile of her peers.

Yeah…Jess and I walked out of there a complete mess.

That was Wednesday night.  Thursday went by in a complete blur.  Jess stayed home to prepare for Brooke’s team meeting at school, while I drove her around to attend to those preparations.  I just wanted to get to the end of the day and go to sleep.

Sleep didn’t help.

I woke up this morning just as distraught, just as angry, just as stressed.  So many of you have sent words of love and support and offers of connections to doctors.  Up until today, that had been my lifeline – I can’t thank you enough.  I know there are people out there who say that social media has made the world a colder, less inter-personal place, but after what you did for me and Jess Wednesday night and yesterday, I could not disagree more.  Like I said, you have been my lifeline.

But then something else happened today.  Instead of running angry as I have for the last several days, I decided to run comfortably; to purposely run at a slower, steadier pace.  I kept my pulse in the high 120’s and just glided for 5 miles before turning up the pace a little.  It was meditative, contemplative, reflective.

At the end of the run I took my usual “#AutismStreaeks Day Fill-In-Blank” photo.  The sun was behind me, which I hadn’t realized, and created a burst across my face in the photo and it struck me – even the darkest of nights must eventually give way to the sunlight.

...even the darkest night must eventually give way to the sun...

…even the darkest night must eventually give way to the sun…
#AustismStreaks Day 46


Brooke will get through this, as will Jess, Katie and I.

Thank you for being our sunlight.

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I cannot put into words how overwhelmed and supported I felt from your responses (both on and off line) to my #FAIL post.  Whether it was from those who felt the same way as me, those who had made their way back to God or those who had never left Him/Her, I felt the love and compassion from each and every one of you…thank you.

Last weekend Jess and Brooke went to New York City to see Brooke’s favorite movie on the stage – Godspell.  To really understand how Godspell has intertwined itself into our lives would take several blog posts – wait! —>there are several blogpost about that over on Jess’ blog<— (I suggest going to the beginning).  Suffice it to say, if you don’t have the time to read them all, Godspell is big, BIG in our home.  We knew she really wanted to see the show, but when you have a child with autism, you just never know how they are going to react to a new environment.  The experience could be a big hit or could end in disaster…

So it was with bated breath that I waited, here in Boston, to see how Jess & Brooke’s trip went…

*on a side note and a nod to the late Steve Jobs, the pictures, video and editing were all done on an iPhone.

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A little over a month ago I asked for your help.

I asked you to help me help my little Brooke and all the families out there affected by autism. I asked you to click


a link which takes you directly to my fund raising page for this year’s New York City Marathon.

I had committed to raising at least $2600.

I asked that you help support me as I tried to make the world just a little more aware, a little more understanding, a little more compassionate.

Out of my past and present you came.  Out of the known and unknown you came.  Friends, friends of friends, friends I have never met in the real world and total strangers.  You all came, and in just a little over a month, took me over the initial goal of $2600.

I hope that this is not the end of my fund raising, but I wanted to make sure that I acknowledged, publicly, those that put me over the top and sent me to New York this coming November.

Thank you.  I will think of each and every one of you as I journey through the five boroughs on November 7th,

The 2600 Club:

Alan Kessler, Andrew Vogel, Arthur Hsu, Bob Votapka, Grammy & Grandpa DD, Catherine Schembri, Christa Lind, Courtney Buie, Courntney Fredericks, Danielle Hair, Elizabeth Blecker, Eva LaBonte, Hugh Hallawell & Stinky, Ingrid & George, Jennifer Ethirveerasingam, Mo, Jack Wack, Jonathan Amir, Judith Ursitti, Kate Mead, Kevin Franck, Kim Borer, Cat Brown, Matt Geller, Michael Kim, Michelle “Miss Joy” Jacobs, Michelle Genin, Mollie Niess, Nancy De Sa, Rachel Thuemling, Randy Price, Rick Reilly, Roxanna Shershin, Russell Levine, Sarah Werner, Sarah Johnson, Stef Nathanson and Yigal Agam

I am in your debt.

I promise to run strong!

Thank you.

Although they do not appear on the list above, a special thank you must go to Blake Jones and Jonathan Harrington.  Each of you in your own way have made a huge contribution to my fund raising goal and for that I am grateful.

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When we run races, we all use a variety of methods to keep us focused and moving.  Sometimes it’s a mantra, like the one I used last February at the Super Sunday 5K/10K.  Sometimes it’s keeping someone in mind who has inspired us.  Sometimes it’s the crowd that pushes us on (Women of Wellesley, you are awesome!).  Sometimes, it’s a game we play with many of our fellow competitors – a game my buddy Mike calls Heroes and Villains.  The thing about this game is that generally only you know that you are playing, despite the fact that many of those around us are unwittingly playing as well.  You pick runners around you that you want to run like (the Heroes) and runners that you want to catch or stay ahead of (the Villains) – check out Mike’s recap of his Boston Marathon and his bitter duel with the Cat in the Hat.

I was floored, flattered and thankful when I received this email yesterday:

$22 to Autism Speaks; you can decide what to write for Providence.

And at the risk of seeming creepy, here’s the story of how I came across your blog & hopefully return the favor you (unwittingly but undoubtedly) did for me on that little jaunt to Boston on 4/19.

A bit of background:

•  An invite & generous sponsorship from my employer secured a charity bib for me to run, so I also began toward the back of the pack (somewhere in the middle of coral 25).

•  For a number of reasons, I’ve been interested in transitioning to barefoot running but decided to hold off until after the marathon. A friend, mid-transition to barefoot himself, asked that I report back on how many barefoot/VFF runners I saw during the race.  My attention was thus double-primed toward anyone in the category (I saw a grand total of three).

•  I run for fun, fitness, mental health, perspective, etc. and while I did have a tiered set of time-related goals, my primary focus was to enjoy my first experience participating in the grand event that is the Boston Marathon.  [Incidentally, goals were (a) beat my fiance’s ex-girlfriend’s time of 4:23 – very mature of me, (b) come as close to 4:00 as possible, and (c) qualify for 2011 – under 3:41] But my approach to the race was pretty much to just go out and run for fun, disregard the clock, and see what happened for me.

Flash forward to Hopkinton.  I always run on the left side of the road, against vehicular traffic, and out of habit I took to the left shoulder from the start.  I also found it easier to weave through the throng from the side than the middle while I sought whatever pace felt right.  About mile 3, I moved inside to allow what turned out to be VFF-wearer #2/RaceMenuSinglet pass ahead.  I had passed the nearly-hobbling VFF #1 (apparently dealing with a pre-existent ankle injury) around mile 1, and this was my first chance to see a minimally-shod stride/running form in action.  I was struck by the runner’s apparent lightness & energetic but graceful stride – a beautiful thing, that forefoot strike, what I took to be joy in running and in the overall experience, and his consistent effort to give a high-five to every child with an extended hand.  With all the anticipatory chatter on the bus about the grueling course, the training, the times, the splits, the will-I-even-make-its, etc., it made me really happy to see someone else seeming to enjoy the gorgeous day, and to love the experience for it’s own sake (and not just the outcome).

Water stops aren’t a part of my normal runs, so I passed through most of the initial aid stations without stopping.  After one of these, I found myself somewhere ahead of VFF #2 but continued on at the pace I had adopted.  After another mile or so I encountered VFF #3/VeganShirt, who looked strong but seemed to have a heavier footfall & greater heel/midfoot strike than VFF #2.  His focus seemed different as well.  I followed him for a while, and after a point VFF #2 came from behind again – stride comparison confirmed.  VFF #2 still looked to be going strongly, happily along his way, enjoying himself and the day, and rewarding the outstretched hand of every child lining the street.  It was great.  And so I figured I’d keep pace a while longer, and thus it continued until around mile 11 or 12.

It was then with some disappointment that I let VFF #2 & VFF #3 go on their way:  morning coffee and nerve-driven (fun is fun, but 26.2 is still a goodly distance) pre-run sipping from three bottles of water had me looking for a pit stop.  Unlike the flocks rushing for the woods outside Hopkinton, propriety kept me running until an actual ‘facility’ was readily available – unfortunately short lines don’t always mean short waits, and I lost a solid 4ish minutes.

But I had somewhat locked in on the pace maintained thus far, and fell back in stride pretty easily.  I had no sense of my time, pace, etc., but tried to run hard while staying true to what felt good/right (in spite of the pain setting in) and continue to enjoy the day.  Because who knows what any future holds?  It could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience I was having, and I wanted to be able to look back and love it from beginning to end.

I continued to keep an eye out for barefoot/VFF runners, but through the rest of the race I neither saw any others nor encountered the three previously sighted.  I was curious how these three had fared…Was VFF #1 even able to finish?  Did VFF #2 maintain his admirable stride & enthusiasm?  How were those heels holding up for VFF #3?  How would I be feeling after ‘x’ miles in different footwear?  How long does the transition to barefoot actually take?  Will I end up preferring it, or will I be back to padded shoes and arch supports?

Many other thoughts (irrelevant to this account) & miles later, I reached the finish line.  I looked up to check the clock upon crossing, but the time was entirely meaningless since I had no idea when I had crossed the starting line to begin with.

It was only after meeting my family over an hour later (they had been stranded along the route) that I learned my actual time – 3:40:18.  With a mere 41 seconds to spare, I qualified for Boston 2011.  Quasi-disbelief, a surge of pride, and a silent but exuberant thank you to VFF #2 – the runner who inspired me to set a faster pace than I may have otherwise, and whose manner over those few early miles seemed to resonate with my own approach to the day.  I was curious how the rest of his race had gone, and sent well-wishes out into the cosmos.

But curiosity eventually got the better of me.  By the power of Google, and the circumstantial coincidence of there being but one Boston 2010 runner wearing VFF and a Race Menu singlet who happened to mention these things in his blog, I discovered RunLuauRun – your race report & pics confirm you as VFF #2.  I earnestly hope it doesn’t seem inappropriate that (a) I googled a stranger and (b) I’m emailing* the same.  It’s just that you were inspiring during my run and I wanted you to know as much.

I’ve already taxed my legs a good bit this week (not having had a second marathon on my radar just yet), but by way of returning the favor and in show of solidarity with your commendable 2 in 2 weeks effort, I’ll commit to 26.2 miles of [activity on foot] this weekend.  Congrats on a great race in Boston, and all the best in Providence.  Whether it’s this weekend or some other, your BQ is most definitely out there.

Happy running!!



To unwittingly help someone BQ is almost as good as doing it myself.  It is not too often that we get to learn of the good things we have unknowingly done for others.  I am thrilled for “Ilsa” and I hope that next year we get a chance to chat at the Athlete’s Village as we wait for the start of Boston 2011!

We all have people who help us each and every day, but how often do we really take the time to say thank you?  What if today, for just one day, we follow Ilsa’s lead?

I’ll start.

Thank you “Ilsa” for making my day!  I will be thinking of you (along with everyone else who signed up to use the human billboard) as I make my way through Providence on Sunday.

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Next week on HBO, the new series Band of Runners

Let me preface this by saying that I am a lover not a fighter. 10 years of kung-fu (3 spent as a youth instructor) under my belt and I still prefer to end confrontations with my words and not my fists. I’m not going down without taking one or two bodies with me, but let’s face it, I would never survive in a war zone. The soldiers I know, directly like Uncle Paul and Brandon, or through friends, like Jeremy, are the true warriors. They have the true Band of Brothers.

That said, the recent response to my Sanity post got me thinking. I had written it while slowly emerging from a place that had me down. The post itself was about using running to mentally pick oneself up by the bootstraps and get going. 4 days later, I still believe that all to be true – running is something of a miracle drug to me, but I am compelled to add something. This running community that I am a part of through Daily Mile and Twitter, has also had an immense impact on how well I feel going through the day. The words of encouragement and hope are energizing and uplifting. But it’s not just them. It’s all the runners out there that are pounding out the miles.

Whether I see you outside my window running by before dawn or from the car as I drive around town taking care of the groceries and dry cleaning, I see you, I am encouraged by you and I am thankful.

For those of my friends who are still unsure about these social networks, I would direct you to my friend Kathy over at RTR. Kathy put it in terms that explain without preaching. Simply put, Daily Mile is Facebook for runners, bikers, swimmers, and athletes, but I use all of those terms loosely. We are a group that range in skill from the very competitive to the “let’s just put down the pint and get my butt off the couch, shall we?”. We’re all just looking for a connection through our chosen athletic endeavor and a bit of encouragement.

My point…

Essentially, I want to thank you, my fellow runners, for your support in recent weeks…directly or indirectly, knowingly and unknowingly you have all lifted my spirits and helped my feet fly.

You are my Band of Runners, and to you I am grateful.

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