Friday, February 17, 2006

I haven't posted on this site in some time. My knee problems have prevented me from running any more and I have decided to give up the marathons. What will I do next? Not sure. Right now I'm waist deep in a couple of writing projects that seem to be sucking up any spare time I have.

I have decided to keep a new blog for a year. It's a little experiment in trying to document my year.

That web address

Thanks for checking in.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Finally, here is a family picture taken after the race. I could say so much more about the three people in the picture with me. I don’t have the space or time today. So I’ll end by saying I’d be nothing without their love and support. I love you, Julie, Sophie and Jake.


This second image is of Nancy and me after we completed the race. Once again, Jacquie is with us. Let me just say this about Jacquie. We’ve known a lot of CF Foundation people over the four years we’ve been involved, and she’s one of the best. Such positive energy and a real go-getter. Man, I sound like one of those old 50’s movies… “A real go getter, Charlie!”

Anyway, I wish we had someone like Jacquie in the Los Angeles chapter. This is not to knock the L.A. chapter, they really work hard. But they seem to have such a high turnover with their staff. It’s nerve racking.

I had the opportunity to speak with my coach, Robert, a little while ago. He called to congratulate me on completing the half marathon. He also tried to convince me that I would be able to run another half marathon this year. The guy is nuts, I tell you. Nuts!

He directed me to some pictures taken the day of the race.

This first one was taken before we started the race. From left to right are: Me, Nancy, Jacquie, from the CF Foundation, and my sister Beth. Don’t we all look happy to be there? Actually, our mood was excellent that morning. And like I said last week, I didn’t experience any nervousness before the race. If anything, it felt like just another day running early in the morning.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The legs felt better today. I can walk without as much of a limp. However, I am having extreme foot problems with my right foot. Yet another sign that my running days must be put behind me. I have received some very encouraging emails and letters over the past week. It was these kind words that helped keep me going on Sunday. Oh, there were a couple of times when I thought I might not make it, but I had the voice of my darling wife and the companionship of a new friend to guide me through the race.

On Saturday night, Beth and I went to the dinner being held by the CF Foundation in honor of us runners and we just happened to run into Nancy Seid, a woman who lives in Los Angeles and has a son, 13, who also has CF. Strange how we just happened to meet each other in the parking lot. This is a woman that our coach, Robert, suggested I meet up with because we shared a similar pace. Turns out, it was a great suggestion.

This was Nancy's first race and she was looking to just complete it. This was my last race, and I was looking for the same thing. We met up Sunday morning and she was kind enough to drive Beth and me to the starting line. After milling around for an hour and enduring a horrid rendition of the national anthem (sorry to the woman who sang it, but seriously, when you change key in the middle of the song, you've ruined the song), the race began.

We said goodbye to Beth and started running at a 3/1 pace. This was perfect for me because I felt very good early in the run. There was some stiffness, but I didn't think it would be a difficult run. Nancy and I commenced talking about our lives and I was interested to hear what it was like for her, being a parent of an older CF patient. We spoke about CF for a couple of miles, then gravitated towards writing. Turns out she is a writer and has had similar experiences with Hollywood types that I have.

That particular part of our conversation lasted for four miles, I think. That was what got me through some of the rougher stages of the race. That day, although it was cold early, the temperature rose quickly and I shed my clothes one shirt at a time until I was just in the singlet and shorts. But it was a gorgeous day to run. Perfect running conditions. Most heartening were the numerous volunteers cheering everyone on, including a nice size group of CF Foundation volunteers. That was great to see.

As I referred to, Julie called several times during the run. I can't tell you how totally frickin' awesome it was to hear her voice and the excitement coming through that tiny cell phone ear speaker. I wish everyone had someone that loved them that deeply. I am so damn fortunate. Jules checked in on me every three miles, it seemed, making sure I was doing alright. And Nancy made sure I did okay out in the race.

There was one thing I took away from running with Nancy. It was her strength and her positive, life affirming attitude toward life. Personally, I have let the negative statistics of this dreaded disease grip me too many times in the past four years. Fear. Anguish. They take hold of me and squeeze the life out of me. What good am I to Jacob (or Sophie, too) if I can't provide a positive attitude for them.
Nancy doesn't believe in the damned statistics. She won't look at them. She repeated something Julie and I have said to each other many times: The current life expectancy is based on someone who was born 35 years ago... before they had the breakthrough medicines and treatments they have now. CF patients are living longer and will continue to live longer.

No, I'm not living in fantasy land. I will never forget that this is a life threatening illness. But we have to think positively. Maybe it's not we. I do. I have to start living and thinking positively again. I need to shove the dark clouds aside. My son is going to live a long life, damn it.

This race, it changed me. I had some kind of breakthrough. Or maybe I just broke free. I don't know how long this will last, but it feels right to be thinking optimistically again. It feels like me.

At the end of the race, Nancy called home and spoke to her 13 year old son. She came back with tears in her eyes. She's lived with this for 9 years longer than us and it still brings tears to her eyes. The love for your child can make you do anything. Nancy completed 13.1 miles for her son. And so did I.


Monday, January 16, 2006

It's been along day. My thighs and hamstrings, and just about every inch of my legs is reminding me that I have not run since Thanksgiving. And yet, my knees have given me no trouble. Amazing.

Details about the race day will come tomorrow after I've had some time to put them into a coherent structure, but I will say this about getting through the race with no knee problems:

I could say that it was the new knee support I bought on Saturday at the race expo. Perhaps the specific design of it and the added support under my knee cap were what I've been missing all along. Or...

Perhaps it was really God watching out for me. Sure, my legs are aching like I haven't run in almost two months. But maybe the divine one was looking out for me yesterday, as if to say, "You're already going to be hurting, and you did complete the race. I'll help you out this time and take away the pain you were expecting."

Maybe that's too mystical for some of you. If God isn't your thing... well then, you can go with the former.

As for me, I'm sticking with the latter.

I also think he's telling me, "Look, I gave you this last race. Now give up the running, dude. You have to be able to walk for your kids."

That's all for tonight. I can't wait to tell you about the race and the wonderful experience I had.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

It's 5:30 n the morning. I've been up since 4:30. The hotel bed was murder on my back. Add to that the cramped conditions of having four people in it and you can pretty much figure out how well I slept. It doesn't matter, though, I got plenty of sleep the night before.

I just finished my complimentary breakfast and was about to head back when I saw this computer in the lobby. Last night I met a woman from L.A. who has a 13 year old son, named Jacob, who also has CF. We're going to run the half marathon together this morning. Luckily, the rain has let up and it doesn't feel too cold. I've decided to go with the shorts and skip the sweat pants. I mean, come on, it's only 13 miles, right? It won't take me that long.

When I got up this morning, I found three little notes that Sophie and Jake had written for me last night. Sophie wrote, "Dear Daddy, Go Daddy, Go! We love you...Mommy, Sophie and Jacob." Then she wrote a page of hearts and "x's" and "o's". Jakes was a page a squigglies since he doesn't know how to write yet.

I have the greatest family. When the time comes that I'm feeling weak out there today, I'll have their love to carry me through it all.

Listening to Bruce at this very moment. Can't think of a better way to end this entry....

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love bring us love

Today is for Jake. It's not about me, it's about the cause.


Saturday, January 14, 2006

Rain has hit and our trip to Legoland was aborted. The trip to Carlsbad will take place later this afternoon. I'm starting to feel some butterfiles about tomorrow. I guess that's a positive thing. Oh, and we have reached our goal of $7000 for the fundraiser, just under the wire. Wasn't sure we were going to make it and I think that was bumming me out a little bit. Now I can relax even more for the race.

Mom and Dad are in town, so I'm not going to write much more. Hope the rain lets up by tomorrow morning. Nothing worse than having to run in soggy shoes.


Friday, January 13, 2006

We're winding down the week and getting ready for our trip to Carlsbad tomorrow. The weather forecast predicts rain both days of the weekend. What is it with me running races and crummy weather. Either it's too hot (Honolulu), unseasonably cold (San Francisco) or frigidly cold (OC last year... and perhaps this weekend). Whatever. It'll all be over on Sunday and I can begin my search for a new fundraiser.
Beth and her family arrived to L.A. last night. I amazed that the weekend we planned so many months ago in August is finally here. As I've said before, I'm thrilled that they have traveled all this way to be as one family in the fight against CF. I'm a little surprised that I don't have butterflies for the race. No fear. Truly, I am not at all apprehensive about running on Sunday. Will my overall time be better than previous races? Sure. Right. Uh huh.


Do I care? Not in the least. Perhaps this is the first race for me in which the cause is more important than the actual moment. To explain-- the past races were always about raising money and awareness, of course. And these efforts went on up until race day. But on race day, it became about me. It became about getting my best time and just completing the thing. Not this weekend. The cause is more important than the actual moment.