Running to Stand Still

…busy Dad trying to make it all work

Category Archives: DetermiNation

The Good Enough Runner

On Memorial Day weekend I’ll be running the Fleet Feet Soldier Field 10 Mile on a ACS DetermiNation team captained by my awesome neighbor Noreen McGowan, a first generation American raised in a large Irish household in Glenview, Il.  She has lived in Chicago for over 30 years where she and her husband are raising their three kids.  She enjoys all that the city offers except for the Chicago Public Schools!  Noreen is active in her synagogue, Emanuel Congregation where she is Vice-President.  She is also my first guest-blogger!

My goal setting mentality began when I was in high school.  I would create a goal, usually setting high expectations for myself, but usually ending up “good enough.”

My first goal was to join the Peace Corps after college. I took French and Spanish in high school and was a nice Catholic “save the people” kind of kid.  When I was a high school senior, my father asked me, “What will you major in when you go to college Nora?”

“I’m going to join the Peace Corps, dad, and help people”

“Ay, but you can’t major in ‘The Peace Corps,’” said Joe McGowan with equal parts Irish brogue and paternal wisdom.

So, instead I went to college and became a nurse, a good enough choice. I worked for a while as a Labor and Delivery nurse and decided on a new goal: I wanted to be a midwife. I applied to graduate schools and because my grades were “good enough” I was accepted to the Nurse-Midwifery Program at the University of Mississippi.  Living in Mississippi in the late 70’s was sort of like being in the Peace Corps.

I returned to Chicago and took a job as a midwife at Cook County Hospital—another “Save the People” type job. I was young, living in Chicago and life was fun.  My new goal: lower infant mortality for poor women and enable my patients to have meaningful birth experiences at Cook County.  Was I given the midwife of year award? Uh, I don’t think so, but I was good enough.

During the late 1980’s, I decided that I would get in shape and possibly while doing this, I would meet guys.  So, I joined a Health Club and my friend, Suzie showed me the basics of running. I lived in Lincoln Park and ran on Chicago’s beautiful lakefront. I wasn’t a great runner, but I made a goal: my first 5K with my friends Pat and Gib Schneider and their children in the Western Springs Tower Trot.  Back then it was a small race and runners could choose the 5K or 10K race. My friend, Gib created ribbons for the “Schneider Family Tower Trot” each year. I was amazed when in 1989; I finished in 4th place in my age division in the 5K.  Remember, it was a small race and the faster runners ran the 10K.  But, hey, 4th place—it was good enough!

A few years after I began running, I met my husband and we were married. I was going to be the best wife, but by now, you probably see the pattern: I was good enough.

I anticipated being a mother and like all women, my goal was to be the best.  I wanted to experience natural labor — uh, I made it without an epidural, and now I know why water boarding is an effective interrogation technique.   When it came to mothering, I had really high goals, but when it comes down to it, the job was so hard. I’m lucky to think I’m making it, barely, and I’m just good enough.

Flash forward to January.  New goal: Train for the Soldier Field 10 Mile race.  Why?

Because my nephew, Alonso, a wonderful 17 year old boy who should be worrying about getting ready for his ACT, discovered last November that he has Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer that affects mostly males in late childhood to young adulthood.  After talking to my friend, Ed Schober, I organized The Kick Cancer in the Arse Clan, part of the ACS Team Determination.  My sister, Margie McGowan, Alonso’s mom, a great runner is also on our team.

Because I hadn’t been running for the last four years, I needed to lose weight and get training. Without seeking advice from my running friends, I jumped on the treadmill and started running. After about one week, I thought that I needed to increase my intensity (speed) if I was going to run faster. Faster? How about running longer? I injured my knee and tried to do the usual treatment: ice, Advil, and rest. When this didn’t work, I sought medical advice. Why? The goal was to run the whole 10 miles and return to my glory days as a runner. I just turned 60, but I’m still setting goals. This goal is to raise money for cancer treatment and research. And I’m the captain of this effort. I went to an ortho doc who is also a runner and told him my story.  He understood my story and told me that had been a runner for Team Determination. It turns out I had some fluid under my kneecap and some inflammation, so he gave me a shot of cortisone and told me to keep my goal in sight.

“Isn’t your goal to run with your family and the sense of camaraderie?” asked Dr. Cohen.  “What does it matter if you do a run and walk type race?”

So, here I am again, with my usual modus operandi: I am the good enough runner.  But maybe good enough is what Alonso needs from us. Good enough is Alonso, cancer-free.  Good enough is plenty good enough.

Noreen and little Hannah

The Agony of Da Feet

This is a story of my Berlin Marathon which was on September 30th but first…

Want to see something cool?

This here is an X-ray of a left foot with a broken 4th metatarsal.

Ouchy right?  Actually this fracture is called a “green branch” fracture because of the way it just spits out all over the place.  These are bad fractures that take six to eight weeks to heel.

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot.  This tissue is called the plantar fascia.  It connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot.  It can be very painful.  Runners usually get this from going long distances in old shoes.  Plantar fasciitis can takes months and months to heel…oops I mean heal.

On August 18th I got up at 5am went down to the lakefront to get in my step back 12 miler.  I had taken my Advil prior to the run because my plantar fasciitis was killing me.  I had felt this little pinch every so often in my left foot…near the top left.  This was odd because the heel pain I’d made for weeks was on the bottom.  As I was running on the cinder path I felt a snap.  I stopped.  Shook my leg a bit and continued on.  It hurt but after a mile I got used to it.  I finished the final 4 miles and went home.

Driving home my foot was now throbbing and I was afraid of what I’d find once I took the sock off…which wasn’t good.  The foot was quite swollen on top and sensitive to the touch.

I made an appointment to see the foot doctor on Monday afternoon.

She took an X-ray and told me I didn’t have a stress fracture.  I had a fracture fracture…and it would take at least six weeks to heal.  At that point the Berlin Marathon was, of course, six weeks away.  There would be no more training.

As the doctor’s assistant was adjusting the walking boot I was to wear for the next six weeks he looked up at me and said “You’re still going to run the marathon aren’t you?”  I said “The only way I won’t run the marathon is if I tore my retina again OR you chopped off both of those feet”.

You see my wife and I run for the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation team (Team Schober) and we had raised over $10,000 in the fight against cancer and I was not going to let one little bone stop me from at least trying to finish this marathon.  The people I run for, and in honor of, are people who have gone through a lot worse than a little broken bone.  There are 26 bones in your foot.  The other 25 would have to suck it up.

So I wore the boot…for about four days.  The reason I stopped wearing the boot was because after four days the fracture didn’t hurt any longer.  Plus my right heel was killing me from all the extra work it was doing.  But this was a bad idea.  You see because I took the boot off the bone wasn’t really healing correctly.  Part of it was but another part wasn’t.

So I have two confessions to make.  1) That X-ray up there was taken just 10 days before the marathon.   2) I’m an idiot.

For the weeks prior to that X-ray I had been riding the bike trainer like a mad man to keep up the cardio and also taking massive amounts of vitamins…D3, calcium, liquid magnesium among others.  All along I had absolutely zero pain around that fracture.  None.  My heels still hurt like hell but not the break.

So the wife and I flew to Berlin, caught some sights, went to the expo (which was massive by the way), had a few German beers and tried to relax before the race.

But I was worried.  What if the bone snapped again at mile one…or mile eight…or mail 15?  What would I do?  What could I do?  Would the pain be too much to finish?  How much more damage would I do if I kept going after it broke again?  I had to finish this race.  I had to finish this race for the people I was running for.  An injury had kept me from running for my supporters last year.  It was not going to happen again.

So now it’s race morning.  My wife was getting ready.  This was to be her 18th marathon so for her this was cake (also she’d be running the Chicago Marathon one week later for DNation).  I taped up both feet.  I also taped up some toes on the bad foot.  Slipped on my compression socks and headed to the start corrals.

This was going to be interesting.

It was a perfect day for running.  Sunny and about 50 degrees.  There were a lot of announcements in German.  I assumed they were saying something like “Look at the idiot about to break his foot again!”

Then the countdown began.  As I crossed the start line I tapped my DetermiNation shirt for luck and started running…something I hadn’t done in over six weeks.

The crowds were amazing.  I was slapping hands and getting into a good slow pace.  I had taken my doctor’s advice and didn’t take any Advil before the run.  She said it would mask the pain and that’s a bad thing when you know you have to run 26.2 miles.

At about mile 4 I knew it was going to be OK.  I just did.  I had no pain anywhere.  Then I was at mile 10.  Then I was at the half.  Then at 17…the longest I had run all year.

Then at about 18 or 19 my quads started to really burn.  Then my left hamstring had a twinge.  So I slowed.  I ran to about 20.5 when I felt a pinch on the top of my right foot.  The right foot was my good foot!  Was I about to snap a metatarsel in that foot?  My wife would’ve killed me.  I wasn’t running smart!  So I stopped.  I had some water and a banana and ran/walked to the 1K to go sign where I started running again.  I turned the final corner and there in front of me was the Brandenberg Gate…the FINISH!

My time really sucked.  When I was told what it was I just laughed.  5:28:52

But I really don’t cared.  And neither do my wife, kids, family members, doners, supporters, co-workers or pets.  This run was for the cancer survivors, victims, care givers, doctors, researchers, nurses and scientists who fight to cure this lousy desease every day.  This was for them.  I  owed them one.

I also know one other thing.  There’s no way I could’ve finished this marathon if I wasn’t wearing the DetermiNation blue.

The spoils of war

Proud Dad

Back toward the end of this past school year my oldest daughter was given a project by her 4th grade teacher.  He’s a great teacher and he really taught the kids to stay focused and be creative.

The project was about coming up with a cause and explain why you felt strongly to support it and how you were going to communicate your cause to others.

“Have you thought about what your cause is going to be?” I asked her.

“Cancer research” she said.  “I know how important it is and how everyone should help so that’s what I’d like it to be…and you can help with the speech.”  Which I did of course.

Each student would first start with a 2 minute speech in front of the whole class.  My daughter is bit shy at times so getting in front of her classmates to talk about cancer research was going to be a big deal.

Then I asked her about how she wanted to broadcast her message to the world.

“On the website” she said.

“Do you want me to help you create a fake website for your demonstration?”

“no…I want to be on YOUR website” she said.

If you don’t know my website is for fundraising for the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation team.  My wife and I are running numerous races this year to help fight cancer.

“Well…to be on my website you’ll need to run a race to help support the cause”  “OK” she said.

So that night her and I sat down and looked at all the area 5Ks and one just jumped out at her…Fleet Feet’s Elvis is Alive 5K.  This race is in it’s 15th year, takes place on Chicago’s lakefront and features an “all-Elvis” start corral…and of course an Elvis band afterwards.  Hilarious.

I told her that I had run this race many times years ago and that it was a lot of fun.  I also told her that mommy ran it one year with her in the jog stroller…beating many Elvis runners.

Then I looked at the date of the race…August 16th.  That’s the day my Dad died of cancer.  It’s been 31 years.

We’d be running this one for Grampa.

The race was held along the lakefront in Chicago. The race would start at the Columbia Yacht Club head down to Museum Campus and back.  My wife and my other two daughters would be there in support.

As we walked toward the start I told her how proud of her I was.  We have run a few 5ks as a family before but this was to be her first official race…and she was running it for our DetermiNation team.

We got settled into the start corral after a quick photo at the start with, of course an Elvis or two.

It was a it crowded at the start but, like Mommy, she lead the way through the maze of skinny Elvis, black leather Elvis, jump suit Elvis (there were lots of jump suit style Elvis), fat Elvis along with a few Priscillas thrown in for good measure.

I told her we could run at whatever pace she liked.  She went out quick then we’d run up against a log jam that we had to run around.  When it opened up at about mile 1 she had found her stride and turned it up a bit.

I ran right behind her and she would check over her shoulder to make sure I was there about every 10 seconds.

At mile 2 we ran into my friend Lisa who had been running with her 8 year old son who, by the way, was in full jump suit Elvis mode including wig and sunglasses.  He had taken off and was way ahead his Mom.

A little past the 2.5 mile mark we stopped for some water.  My daughter chugged it down and took off again.  I swear it was like running with a shrunken version of my wife.

As we came toward the finish line I asked her if she’d like to race hard to the end. “No…let’s just finish” she said.  I asked if she wanted to hold hands crossing the line.  “Yes!”  So we did…I almost cried.

We crossed the line at 31:04.  Not bad for a 10 year old.

After the race we headed over to the food and found the peanut butter and banana sandwiches…anElvis favorite.  She inhaled three and drank a Gatorade.  Well deserved.

All in all it was a very memorable experience.  She got an “A” on her project and we weren’t past by one Elvis during the race.

This year Team Schober has raised $6,808 in the fight against cancer…and we are not done yet.  Please check out our website here -> Team Schober

While walking back to the car my middle daughter asked if I thought she could run a 5k. “Sure honey…with some practice”  “Can we pick one out for me to do soon?” she asked.  “Sure!” I said.

Competition starts early in my house.

My 15 Minutes for DetermiNation

“In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” – Andy Warhol

It’s not everyday a regular guy like me can look into a camera and talk about a passionate subject to potentially a million people.

I have been a member of the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation team since December 2010.  In 2011 instead of running just one race to help raise money I ran eight….almost.  I raised over $14,000 so the American Cancer Society could help fund research, education, advocacy and support programs for victims, survivors and caregivers.  I am extremely proud of this.

In late March I was approached by Michelle Moore who is the Illinois DetermiNation Director.  She told me that the TNT television network was going to run a 60 second vignette entitled “Dramatic Difference” and wondered if they had anyone they’d like to nominate for the commercial. The Illinois DetermiNation folks wanted to nominate me for this month long national ad campaign highlighting someone who has made a dramatic difference in people’s lives and community.

I was extremely honored by the gesture but never thought anything would come of it.  I had a great year of fundraising and training.  A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into last year’s effort, but I didn’t feel it was any more special than what numerous other teammates had done for DetermiNation last year or what the survivors and caregivers go through every day.

In late March DetermiNation had a team of runners racing the Shamrock Shuffle here in Chicago.  I was down there to cheer and ring cow bells for our team.  Michelle pulled me aside and told me that TNT had read my blogs, knew my story and that they wanted to profile me in the vignette.

“You’re kidding me!” I said

So on April 28th the TNT production crew came to film me running the CARA Lakefront 10 Miler and then we all went back to my house for interviews with myself, Amy Keilman and Marc Feliciano.  Two friends I’m proud to say I run for…so here it is…enjoy.

Since last year I have recovered, started running again and have planned a whole new schedule of races for 2012 to help raise money to fight cancer with my DetermiNation teammates.  Please click TEAM SCHOBER to check it out and as always please help if you can.

Reading Made Easy

I live in an area of Chicago called Ravenswood Manor.  Quite a snooty name if you ask me but it is what it is.  It has lately become quite popular with the media because of a certain resident who happens to be the ex-Governor/convicted felon of this wonderful state.  He’ll be living in Colorado for the next 14 years so this story is not about him, thankfully, but about our wives.  Better yet what they made us do.

There are a lot of wives in Ravenswood Manor….hundreds it seems, hence a lot of book clubs.  You know when the wives say they’re going to read a book and in a few weeks they’ll meet at Peggy’s house on a Wednesday night to discuss the book but really they’re meeting at Peggy’s house to get lit up and come home at 1am blabbing about how awesome Nancy’s hummus was….well something had to be done.

So about seven years ago another Dad and myself formed the RMMBC.  The Ravenswood Manor Men’s Book Club.

The RMMBC was formed to counter our wives monthly book club “meetings”.  We decided to form the RMMBC which meets roughly every six weeks to discuss…things….however none of these “things” are usually books.  Below is a picture of our “Library”…

We started small.  I think our first official meeting had 8 attendees.  Fast forward 6 years and this group now has an email list of roughly 50 guys.

We sometimes will travel to other “libraries” but not too much.

We have done some nice things as well.  Sponsored many little league baseball teams, helped fund the holiday decorations in the neighborhood and personally helped me with my American Cancer Society DetermiNation team charity by raising over $2,000 last year at our annual golf outing!

About 5 years ago I thought the group needed to get out, stretch it’s legs and get some fresh air so I put together the first RMMBC Golf Outing.  I proudly hold the title of RMMBC Golf Commissioner.  That reminds me…I’ll need to update my LinkedIn profile.

The tournament is a cart partner scramble.  The overall winning team wins various prizes which usually consist of cans of Spam, drill bits, Rice-a-Roni, a dozen range balls and one free round of golf at the cow pasture we always play this tournament at.  This past year we had 40 golfers.

The grand prize are the winners jackets.  Like the Masters the winner (or in this case winners) get their own winners jackets to be worn each year at the post tournament gala…usually held in our “Library”.  Each winner gets new jackets that they keep forever but must wear them to the post-tourney gala every year.

As commissioner it is my job to purchase these jackets.  They are purchased every year from the same store and I’d like to publicly thank the Montrose Avenue Salvation Army for all of their help.

Anyway….We had a quick vote and came up with the top 10 books from the past 7 years as stated by the RMMBC:


9)  The sports page




5)  Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition




…and the number one book is…


Well there you have it. The Ravenswood Manor Mens Book Club in a nut shell.

Men feel free to steal our idea.  Take back your neighborhood!

You can thank me later.

Cancer’s MVP – Cigarettes

A few weeks ago I was asked to join the committee for the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation Team here in Chicago. I gladly accepted.

About the same time I was starting to think about the 2012 Berlin Marathon.  I’ll be running a few races this year trying to raise some more money for the DetermiNation Team and for me the final big race for 2012 is the Berlin Marathon.  I wanted to get my fundraising page together and I had a few ideas about what I wanted to say and the pictures I wanted to post.

But I needed some facts.  Cancer facts.  Facts for the committee and facts for my fundraising site.  So I went to the ACS main website and found the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts & Figures 2012 report.  The first thing that hit me was it was 66 pages long…and unfortunately it probably could have been longer.

What I read just blew me away.

Here’s what I found out right off of page one.

In 2012, about 577,190 Americans are expected to die of cancer, more than 1,500 people a day.

About 1,638,910 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2012

Want a reference on that?

This year the Super Bowl is being played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.  The New York Giants are playing the New England Patriots…again.  While watching the game look at the size of the crowd and think about this….

– The number of Americans who will die of cancer in 2012 could fill that stadium about 8.5 times.

– If you include the rest of the world the stadium could be filled about 88.25 times.

– The number of new cancer cases for 2012 could fill the stadium over 24 times…and that’s only for the U.S.!

Of the estimated new cases for 2012 the number one for men is prostate cancer at 241,740 (29%).  For women it’s breast cancer at 226,870 (29%).

Of the estimated deaths from cancer the numero uno for both sexes is…..lung & bronchus cancer.  The men top out at 87,750 (29%) and the women at 72,990 (29%).  Lucas Oil Stadium holds about 68,000 so you do the math.

Here’s another bit of information from the American Cancer Society AND I’M STILL ON PAGE ONE!

All cancers caused by cigarette smoking and heavy use of alcohol could be prevented completely. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2012 about 173,200 cancer deaths will be caused by tobacco use.

If you’ve read a few of my blogs you know that my Dad died of lung cancer back in 1981.  He was diagnosed in 1977.  He tried to quit smoking but we’re talking about a guy who had smoked two packs a day since WWII.

He tried cold turkey.  He went to a hypnotist.  Nothing worked.  Nicotine is a very addicting drug.

I would even take all the cigarettes out of a brand new pack and use a pen to mark the point I wanted him to snuff it out.  Baby steps you know?  That didn’t work either.

What I forgot to mention here is that he tried all of this only after he had one of his lungs removed.

My father died when I was 18.  That’s 18 years of second hand smoke.

What does the report say about second hand smoke?

Each year, about 3,400 nonsmoking adults die of lung cancer as a result of breathing second hand smoke.

I guess I should consider myself lucky.

So why are cigarettes still legal?  That’s easy.  It’s big business baby!  The only way to make cigarette companies go away is to stop buying their product.  Not an easy thing for a smoker to do.

But why not try.

Do you know someone like this?  Do you know someone who really wants to quit?

Forward them this blog.  Tell them the positive lesson they’d be teaching their kids.  Tell them about the money they’d be saving by not smoking.  A carton of cigarettes in Chicago costs roughly $85!  If my Father was still alive he’d be shelling out almost $510 a month on cigarettes.  That’s crazy.

The American Cancer Society lists well over 25 different sites that will help someone quit smoking.  You can find them here:

ASC Quit Smoking Help

There was some good news in the report…

The 5-year relative Survival rate for all cancers diagnosed between 2001 and 2007 is 67%, up from 49% in 1975-1977. The improvement in survival reflects both progress in diagnosing certain cancers at an earlier stage and improvements in treatments.

I can only hope that this percentage will continue to move up from 2007 forward.

Also I’m a firm believer that if you get someone away from the cigarettes and into a workout program you’ll be helping someone break the suicidal habit that nicotine brings.  They’ll lose weight, want to eat better, get in shape and reach goals. Have them run for the ACS DetermiNation Team! There are countless stories of people putting the cigarette down, lacing up some running shoes, training for a few months and finishing a half marathon or even a full marathon AND NEVER LOOKING BACK!

I’ll be forwarding this blog to a few friends of mine who still smoke…I really don’t want any of them to become just another statistic.

Why I Ran

To my family, friends and supporters,

I can not thank you all enough.

When I set my goals of competing in eight races, including the New York Marathon on Sunday, and raising $10,000 in support of the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation team in late 2010 I wasn’t quite sure I’d make it.  Times are tough but all of you have either donated, gave me words of encouragement or both.  You’ve told me who you’d like me to run for….or who to run in honor of.  I heard all of you as I ran alone during the hundreds of training miles.

I often get asked how can I run alone.  What do you think about?  Don’t you get tired?

Yes it’s far and yes I get tired but I never really feel alone.  When it gets tough I think about the reasons why I ran.

I ran for my Father and my Father-in-Law who never had a chance to meet their daughter-in-law or son-in-law or hold any of our three beautiful little girls.

I ran for my Mother and my Mother-in-Law who took on cancer and kicked its ass.

I ran for my friend Marc who won’t be able to see his daughter Isabella grow up because cancer took her at the age of nine.

I ran for my friend Amy who has been fighting breast cancer for six years now and is one of the strongest, most determined people I know.  Amy is 34.

I ran for Marcia. The sister of one of my best friends who was taken by breast cancer. Marsha’s only daughter will be in New York cheering on the runners.  She will be holding the nine week old grandson Marcia never met.

I ran for the caregivers in the world who help, hug, administer drugs, cry with, listen to, feed, tell a joke to, hold hands with and clean the house for their loved ones who are fighting back.

I ran for the 3,400 people who will be told they have cancer today and hope that what we are doing as Team DetermiNation will help them find a cure and celebrate more birthdays.

Unfortunately this list could go on and on.

Your stories touched me.  They often would make me cry while I ran.  It’s hard to run when you’re crying.  But it kept me going.

Some people believe there’s a reason for everything.  Some things are harder to explain than others.

Last Friday afternoon, October 28th, I was accidentally hit in the face with a soccer ball while coaching my daughter’s U10 team.

Fortunately I was wearing a baseball hat which deflected the ball toward my nose but my eye did take a small hit. I am the proud owner of two bad eyes. I’ve had surgery to repair a detached retina and numerous other laser procedures for tears along the way.  I am also a worrier, so you can only imagine how the next 72 hours played out.

I did get up the next morning to run the 8 miles I had on the schedule.  I then ran the 3 miler I had on the schedule on Monday morning.  No problems in either case. But I’m a worrier.

A call to  my retina doctor led to a visit to the Northwestern Optometrist, which led to a consult with the  staff retinal surgeon and ultimately laser surgery to repair the moderate tear in my right retina that they discovered afternoon.

“But I’m running the New York Marathon on Sunday”.  The surgeon looked at me and said “No you’re not”.

“But I’m running for the American Cancer Society.  I’m running for a lot of people”

“You’ll need four to six weeks to heal”, he said and walked out of the room.

My disappointment was immeasurable.

I had just had my final training run less than 7 hours earlier.

The marathon that I had trained for and raised so much money for was over.

I asked the remaining doctor if this was caused by the soccer ball. “Absolutely not” she said.  There was no sign of that sort of trauma and the tear was in the deep lower right part of the eye.  For this reason I never had any symptoms after the soccer ball incident.

Had I run the marathon my retina could’ve detached at mile 10 and I could’ve been blind in that eye by the finish.

So did the soccer ball to the face save my eye? Who knows…but it led me to make that call to my eye doctor.

Incidentally the girl who kicked the ball was my own daughter.  Devine intervention?  Again…who knows.

This has been a very difficult pill to swallow.  I still can’t believe it happened. But I have a greater purpose in all of this.

I still plan on going to New York to support my amazing team of DetermiNation runners.  Together we have raised over $1 million in the fight against cancer.  I am so very proud to be a member of this team and can’t wait to see them all and congratulating them for finishing the marathon.

It will be a tough weekend for me but I’ll know my number one goal was to raise as much money as I could to fight this horrid disease.  At this writing I am the number 4 fundraiser on a team of roughly 350.  Mission accomplished…and this makes me very proud. And each of you should feel very proud to have collectively fought back.

I like to take my daughters to the local bakery for the occasional chocolate donut.  We don’t tell Mom about these excursions.  It’s our little secret. The other day at the bakery I looked across the table at each child and thought how can I explain to them why I ran.  I would love to tell them one day that there’s no more cancer in the world…and one reason was because one year Daddy and his friends choose to make a difference.

Take 2 Taperafed and Call Me in the Morning

There’s something wrong with me.  Really.  That’s what my wife has been telling me over and over lately.

I pester her, ask her the same running questions every day.  Then ask her again. I’m driving her crazy…and she’s a runner!  All runners are crazy!

What is my problem you ask?

I’m convinced that I can’t run any more.  I have no idea what I’m going to do on the morning of November 6th.  None.  Zip.  Zero.

On that morning I’m running the New York Marathon.  An event I have been training for since January.  Well training for this marathon and seven other races I’ve competed in as a member of the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation team.

I have over 800 training miles under my belt so far and I can’t remember any of them right now. I have run over 8 half marathons both racing and training. Don’t recall any of them.  Hill work on the treadmill?  Me?  No way.  I’ve run a marathon before? Are you crazy?

I have something called taper madness.  For you non-runners out there this occurs when someone who has been running 35-50+ miles weekly is told to drastically reduce the miles three weeks before the big race.  Those three weeks are called the taper.  It’s something every distance runner needs to do to allow the body to heal before making it run 26.2 miles.

Is there a pill I can take to make me feel better?  A Taperafed? Tapervil?

This all started last Saturday when I had my last double-digit run in this training session.  My legs were dead tired from the runs I had on Wednesday and Thursday (and the whole summer).  I wanted to get it done and after about six miles I just wasn’t into it.  I sped up a bit but that was a mistake.  I didn’t have my usual GU and I had to run the last three miles up Wilson Avenue which sucks.  Trust me.

I’ve had only two bad runs this year and that was one of them.  Not the way I wanted to finish my last long run.

I know every runner goes through this.  Even people who have run many many marathons.  Except my wife of course.  Who is one of those people who can roll out of bed and run a marathon still half asleep….fast.

Oh well…10 more days until the race.

I have a six mile run planned for lunch today to feed the taper monster.

It’s left..right..left..right..left..right…    Right? Right???

Wish me luck.

If you would like to help rid the world of cancer please click on “Why I Run” above.  It would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You Mr. Jobs

Steve Jobs died today.

He died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 56.

He was a visionary who started the world’s largest tech company from his parents’ garage back in 1976.

All this year I have been fundraising for the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation team.  I dedicated myself to running eight different races with the final race being the New York Marathon on November 6th.

I set a lofty goal for this fundraising endeavor.  I told everyone I would raise $10,000 for ACS.

To help raise this much money I knew I had to not only show my donors that I was serious about the races I was competing in but also that there would be something for them.  An iPad.  I told them that for every $25 their name would go into a hat for a chance to win an iPad at the end of the marathon in early November.  Everyone liked the idea of possibly winning one of these incredible devices…and it helped raise more money to fight cancer.

This morning I found out that by tomorrow I would be within $344 of my goal.

So before I left work today I ordered that iPad.

An hour later the news came out that Mr. Jobs had died.

The good really do die young.

Steve Jobs 1955-2011


I’m a charity runner for the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation Team.  Here is the story of my Dad.

My Father passed away in August 16, 1981.  Thirty years ago today.  The death certificate basically said he died of pneumonia.  What bullshit.  My Father had battled cancer for almost four years.  We found out right after I started high school.  It first started in his lung.  They removed the lung.  Then it went to his brain.  They removed the tumor.  Then it settled in his lymph nodes.

All the while he tried to quit smoking but couldn’t.  He had been a WWII veteran who received the Purple Heart fighting in the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes Forests of Belgium.  He had started smoking during the war and could never quit.  Ever.  Even after removing one of his lungs.

My Father wanted to see me graduate from High School.

At the time the treatment for cancer seemed quite barbaric.  I can remember him being so sick from the chemo drugs that he couldn’t get himself up from the bathroom floor.  The brain tumor affected his eyesight.  No one knew this until after a serious car accident where I was also a passenger.  He was a man who could always figure things out, knew the right thing to do but he couldn’t fight what was killing him.  He was scared.

My Dad died 8 weeks after I graduated.  He was 55.  I was 17.  It was thirty years ago today.  I can’t believe it’s been that long.

Everyone has stories similar to mine.  Everyone.

My Father never saw me go to college and graduate, never sat with me in a bar and had a beer, never saw me do well with my career, never met his future daughter-in-law and never met my three beautiful girls.

I can’t remember what he sounded like and I can’t remember his laugh.  Cancer took that away from me as well.

Right now it’s 5:28am, Tuesday, August 16th and I’m going for a run.

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