Easily on the best organized 5K’s I have had the pleasure of running!
Fifa World Cup – Running Against Dementia
Today is the big reveal for the 2014 official campaign video! Dementia is not restricted to a single location. It is a global problem.
My Goal: fund a state of the art brain imaging study to detect potential causes of dementia while people are ALIVE.
The Purpose: detection of dementia at a younger age = developing more effective drugs to fight the disease.
The race: This year, I will be running in Rio de Janiero during the month of the World Cup to raise dementia awareness on a global stage. This will be a prime opportunity to maximize awareness people fighting against dementia.
I need your help!
Join the worldwide fight against dementia and DONATE TODAY: Run4Papa
I Will Finish What I Started
Today, I run for #BostonStrong
Today, I run to honor those who tragically lost their lives.
Today, we run together.
A year ago, I said, “I will finish what I started” and I intend to deliver on that promise. #R4PinBoston #26.2ahead
Boston Marathon pictures
Pace setting for the first time
Coming for You in a Month
Ever run a half marathon intentionally in a torrential down pour?
The transmission failed. Literally. While riding in a shuttle from work to the airport, the transmission failed roughly 3 miles away; my plane was scheduled to take off 90 minutes later. Friday the 13th…coincidence? The driver estimated the back-up shuttle would take at least 20-30 minutes to arrive, and instinctively, I asked him to open the back door. He said “where are you going?” I opened my bag, put on on my running shoes, looked him square in the eye and said “I am running for Papa!”
With my roller carry-on extended firmly in my left and my backpack comfortably resting on my shoulders, I ran in jeans down Billy Graham Parkway with Charlotte Douglas airport in my sight. Half a mile later, I was picked up by another shuttle and dropped off with an hour to spare. Fortunately, there was no one in the TSA screening line. Precisely, no one. Friday the 13th…coincidence? “Please let the flight take off and land with no problems and minimal turbulence!”
Well, we landed (after seeing an unusual amount of nervousness on the faces of the flight attendants). I was greeted at DFW airport by my friends Derek, Shana and Dan. Texas was the 9th state visited on this journey; it always helps to have great friends scattered across the U.S. who are extremely hospitable hosts making this weekend another seamless experience. Late Saturday night, I checked the weather for tomorrow’s race: severe Thunderstorms from 6AM-11AM with a disclaimer on the Big D website “Runners may run at their own risk.”
My response: “I don’t recall my Papa ever canceling an appointment with a sick child due to bad weather conditions.”
Derek and Shana dropped me at the state fairgrounds so I could film some pre-race commentary (in the rain). Through the suggestions of my followers, I had compiled a 50 song playlist for the Big D race, but due to the awful weather ahead, I left the music at home. After stretching and watching the clouds darken the skyline, this race quickly became another challenge that would test my training as well as my willpower. I believe every race is 80% mental and 20% physical. Although elements always vary, when my mind is “zoned-in” on completing a race, my mental conviction eliminates any hovering doubt or fear.
Like every race beforehand, the knots in my stomach intensified like two kids playing dodge ball in a confined space. Thankfully, both kids were eliminated the second I crossed the starting line. The BIG D starts and finishes at the historic grounds of the State Fair near the Cotton Bowl. The fairground’s stunning landscape and art deco architecture set the mood of the day despite the impending weather.
After leaving the State fairgrounds, runners headed north and soon reached the impressive neighborhoods that surround White Rock Lake – often described as the crown jewel of central Dallas. For the first 5 miles, the winds were gaining momentum as a slight drizzle trickled down. Growing up in Michigan and surrounded by lakes, I surveyed the lake’s border and knew a torrential thunderstorm was quickly approaching the Dallas area.
The route headed into a part of the course with tree-lined parks to one side and gorgeous homes on the other. As I crossed Mile 6 and grabbed a Gatorade from a water station, the clouds decided it was time to let all their pipes burst at once. Soaked head-to-toe by the onslaught of rain hitting my body from seemingly all directions, I continued jogging uphill. I wasn’t even halfway and knew this was going to be a battle, one I eagerly awaited and would embrace!
At Mile 9, I saw Derek and Shana holding a sign reading “Go Jason! Run4Papa.com – I run for PPA!” Shortly thereafter, the hard rain was followed by thunder and occasional bolts of lightning. I never felt in immediate danger but running through puddle after puddle and being drenched was taking a mini toll on my body. My right calf cramped pretty badly and wouldn’t go away despite numerous stretching attempts. The word “quitting” doesn’t fall into my mental vocabulary so I ran/walked through the pain periodically glancing down at my hands where the words “Papa” (left) and “PPA” (right) were hand-written.
I continued filming portions of the race while getting emotional boosts on Miles 10, 11 and 12 as Derek and Shana managed to jump ahead for moral support. As runners continued to battle through the elements, we ran through Deep Ellum, the eclectic nightclub district returning to the finish line on the front steps of the historic Cotton Bowl.
Despite the 20 mph winds, down-pouring rain, periodic thunder and lightning, I completed the BIG D Half Marathon in 2:36:38! Oddly enough, I have never seen so many runners (including myself) limping, crouching down below their knees or just propped up against a wall. The Big D had thrown every element against racers attempting to conquer its landscape and our collective exhaustion was palpable on the faces of each finisher.
And suddenly, a wry smile crept across my face.
Next stop? The Great Wall of China Marathon!
To see photos from the race, go to: Big D Half Marathon
The Lone Star State
We are flying out to the great state of TEXAS this weekend to run the BIG D Half Marathon in Dallas. This destination marks the 9th and final state Run4Papa will be visiting on this journey before heading out to the Great Wall of China Marathon in May!
This has been a unbelievable life-changing opportunity and we are greatly looking forward to running in what has been labeled “one of the most beautiful marathon courses you may ever run.”
And as we all know, EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS!
Running around our National Treasures
Eagerly and somewhat impatiently standing in my coral waiting for the race to begin, I look forward to several wonderful experiences ahead such as meeting and jogging alongside other runners, hearing people shouting on each side of the street, and anticipating the creative signage from supporters mile after mile. As corral #12 began inching closer and closer to the starting line, I happened to be standing next to a lady who was listening to her music while stretching. I couldn’t help but notice the back of shirt: “I lost 200 lbs. I beat cancer. 13.1? No problem!” Like many memories throughout this journey, I am constantly surrounded by runners motivated by personal causes and challenges who commit themselves to making a difference in their life or the lives of others by running a particular race. There were over 22,000 runners today, many of them, like myself, have inspiring stories to share.
Imagine how many other stories we have never heard about?
Walking up to the the starting line, my hands were clammy, my mind was focused, and my adrenaline was elevated. As I crossed the start line and my chip time began, I was careful to maintain a solid pace and not allow the adrenaline to consume the moment and my body. This is often easier-said-than done, but is a vital factor in maintaining energy throughout these long-distance runs. Right out of the gate, I saw a sign that read “Free beer in 26.1 miles.” You have to appreciate people’s creativity and like every city beforehand, D.C. residents did not disappoint.
Halfway past Mile 1, I headed on East Capitol St, running alongside the United States Supreme Court as well as the Capitol Building. By Mile 3, a series of big sites came up like one domino after the other: on Constitution Ave, I ran side-by-side the National Mall for about a 1/4 of a mile. As I approached Mile 4, the Washington Monument was standing alone to my left, not to be outdone by the White House appropriately showcasing a green fountain at mile marker 5. What phenomenal national treasures to run around during this half marathon.
While most of the sites were frontloaded in the beginning of the half marathon, the crowd support was excellent throughout the 13.1 mile trek. Sure, some of the spectators were already intoxicated from drinking beer and downing green Jell-O shots infused with Smirnoff, but their enthusiasm was helpful in boosting momentum mile after mile. Furthermore, one of the perks to running a Rock ‘N Roll race is the organizers conveniently place rock bands every mile along the race; thus, bringing out even more supporters on the streets and providing an extra pick-me-up. On top of that, running toward and under several tunnels was thrilling because the crowd was going wild! I could hear the energy from above, and after emerging from the darkness and up the incline, people were cheering as if an Olympic torch was being carried through their city!
Upon reaching a sharp incline on Mile 8, I came across an army soldier in full uniform running with a backpack stuffed with weights. Talk about hardcore! He was running for the men and women sacrificing their lives abroad for our safety. I wish I would’ve been able to grab a picture but you will have to take my word that it was downright unbelievable to see in person.
Eyeing Mile 9, I decided to switch up my routine by running 7 mins, walking for 1. The logic behind this adjustment was to test the recovery process for China. Normally, I run non-stop until the end (for half marathons); however, in China, recovery is going to play an intricate role and will be an essential part of that challenge. With this recovery period, I regained my strength and pushed forward at a quicker pace over the next several miles. With RFK stadium ahead and the homestretch in sight, I rounded the corner and saw a sign that said “May the spirit of Saint Patrick guide your feet to the finish line.” I picked up my pace through the last mile and crossed the finish line at 2:13:13, completing my 3rd half marathon this year.
No matter how many times I visit D.C., I always look forward to seeing our national monuments and this half marathon provided a tremendous opportunity to run alongside some of the most recognizable ones in Washington. It was an honor to be part of this experience and a special day which I will never forget. And to pay my respect to Saint Patrick, I made sure to have a celebratory pint or two following the race…
Next stop? Chicago!
I will be in the Windy City Saturday March 24th, 2012 for the annual PPA Family Caregiver and Professional Education and Support Conference.
On Sunday March 25th,myself and Kevin Connolly of the CNADC will be running in the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K with 40,000 of our closest friends.