Friday, June 24, 2016


Let's raise $6,500 for Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.) and cancer research with Fred's Team. You can decide where you want to give! (More info in the pages at the top or in the drop down box on the mobile version.)
Donate to HOME todayDonate to Fred's Team today!

I just had a good run and topped it off with Kodiak Power Cakes. The cakes, which I had not heard of before, were part of the "man crate" which I received in grateful token of my best man duties a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps the gifts should have been witheld since I could barely produce the ring, my one job outside of standing still (which I did just fine). But it was already given.

From Kodiak Power Cakes website:

Power cakes are not for the faint-hearted, but for those who, like the frontiersmen exploring and settling untamed wilderness, required nutrition, vitality and taste.

Not the most inclusive language I've ever seen on a pre-made box of pancake mix. I would think "frontiersperson" would work just as well, or even "anylocationperson." Especially, as when they are dripping with syrup and butter even the most faint-hearted, or "delicate" or soft soled urbanite would find these pleasant. Anyway, this wild, strong-hearted, wilderness taming, rough and tumble New York City explorer man was all out of homemade yogurt so he mixed up a batch. Yum.

That's a pat of un-tamed vitality on those cakes!
Have you donated to H.O.M.E. or Fred's Team yet? I highly recommend it!

Did you know that the scientific research you support with Fred's Team makes a real difference in the lives of many patients - patients like me? I had the pleasure of meeting a few survivors this week - or more like a few hundred. It is amazing the strides that we have made in treating and curing many types of cancers. I can hardly believe that I would have been dead for two years now if it hadn't had been for research done at hospitals like Sloan Kettering. And here I am eating ridiculous pancakes and enjoying the blue sky of a new day. Give today! There are still far too many diagnoses that are not good. You will be making a big difference in someone's life. That's a pretty good way to start a Friday!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tuesday (yes I realize it is not Tuesday)

Let's raise $6,500 for Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.) and cancer research with Fred's Team. You can decide where you want to give! (More info in the pages at the top or in the drop down box on the mobile version.)
Donate to HOME todayDonate to Fred's Team today!

Another busy week is quickly wrapping up. I am working on a few posts one about seniors and one about cancer research. Surprise. But in the mean time I better give you another running update.

I know many of you are straining, foaming even, like an untrained dog on a leash to sign up to use the Donation Multiplier this year when giving to H.O.M.E. and Fred's Team. And all you are waiting for is more information on my speed, training regiment, caloric intake, and lower intestinal fortitude. So here is the next update.

Cumulative miles since the beginning of training. I'm not running 100 at once. I knew you were worried.
The running is plugging along. I'm going to update you next week with the training plan and the biologics and scientific information underlying it (hint: its called practice). But for the time being you can see my paces here. Perhaps you notice the one standing out. I didn't find a motorcycle or accidentally teleport. I just went to the track and did some speed work, 4x800s. Delightful.

I'm still taking in lots of calories, most from yogurt. Is there anything better in the morning than yogurt and grape nuts? I might have to have an entire post dedicated to the glories of grape nuts. I don't think they are either grapes or nuts, but they have the consistency of gravel and the attractive brown color of, well brown. Breakfast is still my favorite meal of the day. Oh, and obscene amounts of coffee takes care of all fortitude issues. What a wonderful thing.

Below is a picture of me from tuesday. Just a boring, regular Tuesday. Find out what I was up to, and soon, right here on the blog!

Photo courtesy of Mariel Montell Jordan RauerNigro.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Questions Unasked

Let's raise $6,500 for Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.) and cancer research with Fred's Team. You can decide where you want to give! (More info in the pages at the top or in the drop down box on the mobile version.)
Donate to HOME todayDonate to Fred's Team today!

I think my plan of “fewer posts yet higher quality” may be backfiring. This was to reduce stress, manage guilt, and eliminate boring navel-gazing dribble, all while increasing donations and entertaining the masses.

My usual lack of time combined with very flexible deadlines is not a working combination. This might become the summer of fewer posts of higher quality.

I have a few pages of loosely fleshed out ideas. Many seemed promising, even beautiful, in my head. But they kept turning a bit too dark, or a bit too private or a bit too something else. One should write like their parents are dead. But I have far too many “parents” and far too little courage.

Still, I cleaned my room and ironed a few shirts last night so the very last of the excuses are gone. Here is one shot from the hip.

The plane landed and I texted my arrival. Unfortunately, though my brief appearance had been planned for months, my grandmother’s social calendar was tight. I would have to wait. She was, though she wouldn’t use the term, on a date.

Howard was introducing her to his daughter over lunch. It seems to me like a big move. She protested all such talk when my aunt teased her about it. Though when the two of us were alone she talked about him, their lunch, and his apartment and then deftly segued away by asking, “Are you dating anyone?”

I know what Howard sees in her. She is witheringly smart, outgoing, and charming. And she has the most beautiful hair.

My grandfather was named Howard too. As my uncle pointed out, she won’t even need to change the towels. It is all rather funny, and wonderful.

What is dating like at 93? Much like it ever is, I suppose.

We sat in her apartment and talked. I’m not sure for how long, but we covered all the important bits, solved all the world’s problems, as we say. It made me think of – and I’m embarrassed to say – the little hobbits, sitting in their small rooms, talking of little things while the wide world, full of big and important players, turns.

The parting came, and it was abrupt and quick and full of real life and there was only a small moment to pause in the doorway. But in that moment I saw and felt all the memories of her and my grandfather, the places, the smells, the little dogwood tree in front of Summit Drive. And I knew this could be my last visit. And I knew no words for such a thing. And there were so many things left unsaid and so many questions left unasked anyway. And then we were out and the rush of time came strongly.

Later, while sitting in my overly warm hotel room in Columbus, I thought of some of the questions I wanted to ask my grandmother. When my uncle died three years ago I regretted that I didn’t ask him what it was like to live in the shadow of death. I spent a beautiful day with him and my Aunt towards the end. At one point we all discussed my Aunts future plans for herself after he died. What must that have been like? Yes, we can all die at anytime, but what is it like to see with eyes of immediate surety? I suppose I have the same question for my grandmother though at a different scale. For while she may have years still to go, no time is promised. Does she still see death in the same way as she did when she was 80, 70, 60?

I’m not afraid to die.
Sometimes it finds me fast asleep,
And wakes me where I lie,
I’m not afraid to die.
-Gillian Welch

Less, morbidly, though perhaps more terrifying, I would love to know what letting go of control is like. One lives their entire adult life independently, supporting themselves, supporting others. How do you transition to accepting help? How do you transition to being dependent? How do you do that graciously? How do you do that at all?

But I didn’t ask.

If you love someone that is a senior, or plan on being a senior in the future, please donate in his or her honor today to H.O.M.E.(Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly)! H.O.M.E. provides safe, comfortable, and affordable housing for low-income seniors in Chicago. Many of their residents would have no other options. Additionally, H.O.M.E. provides vital repairs and other services to keep seniors safely independent in their own homes longer! The more seniors I meet the more I want to support H.O.M.E. I had no clue how limited the housing options are for some of our most vulnerable citizens.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Running Update

Let's raise $6,500 for Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.) and cancer research with Fred's Team. You can decide where you want to give! (More info in the pages at the top or in the drop down box on the mobile version.)
Donate to HOME today! Donate to Fred's Team today!

I ran my first tempo run of the training plan. I'm not sure what the direct benefit is, but I guess I'll trust the experts. A tempo run starts and ends at a slow pace but builds (still slowly) to a full sprint right in the middle. This morning called for a 30 minute tempo run.

I took a few days off as I was traveling, was in south Georgia (where it is hot), and wore myself out last Saturday enjoying a Tabata exercise. I didn't know I could be so sore. There were little muscles (very little) that were screaming. And why was it so bad three days after the workout?

As promised the first running data (to help you make your donation multiplier wagers). An 8:51 pace needed to be under  3:52 for the marathon. Solo and friend runs included. Some are un-timed as I forget watches.

I feel like I am perpetually late to the party. As I started getting into the running many of my friends were losing interest. I mentioned the Tabata program to friends to find out they all knew of it. And as to my well documented yogurt making habits (batch in the oven now), everyone made it, and gave up on it in the '70s. Will I always be behind?

Tabata, for the one other person who didn't know, is a high intensity interval training (HIIT) program. My surprise Tabata program started after an 8 mile run and included a 15 minute warm up of jumping rope and running an agility ladder. The first set of intervals was 20 seconds of pull-ups, alternating with 20 seconds of pushups. The combination was repeated four times. Then it was weighted sit-ups and crunches perched on top of a ball. Finally, I threw around a kettle ball and did kettle ball lunges. This was followed by a cool down of more agility ladder and jump rope with some stair sprints too. If I exercised like that all the time then things would be different. I just might.

Anyway, I give two thumbs way up to the Tabata program and coach Craig who had a garden hose ready to wash away vomit. Now that's a full service gym.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Marathon Season 2016!

Memories of flowers and long runs in the park.
I get a lot of "memories" from Facebook. Many of the people that populate my feed re-share, when prompted, their old photos. And now that Facebook has been around for what must be eons in internet years, the old photos are sometimes actually old. Recently I was surprised to see one of my own photos offered for repost that was nine years old. But more recently I am nudged by Facebook's loving algorithm to "remember" and repost all of those links to direct you here that I used this time last year, and the year before that.

These prompts jogged my brain and I even enjoyed some of the memories. Pleasant ones came to me like returning from a long Saturday run and enjoying a pot of coffee, a smoothie, and an ice bath. Or visiting H.O.M.E. last July and meeting seniors whose lives have been changed through your generous support. I also remembered a bit of the work, where I ran home each day to work on the second job/blog over lunch and then again over dinner and straight on until bed. But mostly, I didn't have memories upon seeing these reminders. All I had was the same thought with each new prompt, "Oh $#@%! I'm behind!"

All that to say, it is a new marathon/fundraising season and I'm excited! I hope you soon will be too.

This year I'm shaking things up a bit. I'm running two marathons back to back. Or close enough for me to count as back to back. I'm running the Portland Marathon out in Oregon in October and then returning to the NYC Marathon in November!

I'm also making changes on the fundraising side. Since I'm running multiple marathons I thought we could raise monies for multiple organizations. Reprising my favorites I'll be running for H.O.M.E. and Fred's Team this year - and I will be telling you about other great groups along the way.

Lastly I'm working up a calculator so that we can raise monies based on my finish time. The faster I run the more you give! Sounds like the perfect motivation to keep me logging the required miles. There will even be an optional bonus multiplier if I crack the mythical 3hrs and 52 minutes target I've been hunting down. I'll keep you up-to-date with my paces and miles. If you like numbers it will be really exciting. So many Charts!

All of that is coming soon. In the mean time check out a few of the old posts from past years in the "best of" pages at the top and visit  H.O.M.E. and Fred's Team (find the links above) to brush up on the wonderful work that they are doing.