Thursday, December 24, 2009

An Update on Running and this Blog

Well, it certainly has been a while. Hopefully you haven't come here a million times over the last two and a half months only to find the same post about the 2009 Chicago Marathon. I give you my apologies if that has been the case. I truly appreciate everyone that chooses to visit my blog. Here's an update on some things that have been going through my head and my legs since October.


I have taken it pretty easy since Chicago. I have done basically zero speed work besides the Lincolnwood Turkey Trot at the end of November. I ran it in 18:42, a new PR. I ran it pretty terribly, went out too fast and struggled the last half of the race. Oh well. It's only my second 5K. I'd like to work on that time in 2010, but we'll save that for another post.

I did manage to hit 2,000 miles for the year this past week. That was the last of my goals for 2009. I don't know the exact number of miles I ran in 2008, but I'd guess it was in the 1000-1100 range. I'll have some goals for 2010 in the very near future.

This Blog and the Future of Running for Cru

Running for Cru was hatched in late June of 2008. If you want to read the story of how it came to be, click here.

Over the past year and half, the supporters of Running for Cru have raised over $42,000 for Families of SMA. It's still amazing every time I think about it. I really can't thank all of you enough, whether you contributed, visited the blog or spread the word about SMA.

FSMA is a great organization and is making strides towards finding a cure. Please visit their site to find out the latest information on their research. The goal of this blog and of the fundraising was to help FSMA find a cure so that other families would be spared what the Fanaro's have gone through when they found out Cru had SMA and eventually lost him to it.

Here's the tough part and I hope it comes out sounding like I want it to: I really think we could do more. I really do. I mean, $42,000 is a ton of money. But we basically raised it through this blog, word of mouth and sending out emails to our friends, families and acquaintances. It's incredible that we have had that type of success with our grassroots-type effort in a weak economy over the last 18 months or so.

In the airing of the marathon every year, they highlight several human interest stories and even do it on the local television news in the weeks leading up to the race. I DVRed the 2008 Chicago Marathon and watched it later that day. There were so many heart-warming stories. The whole time, I was thinking to myself (and out loud to Tiffany) that should be me and they should be telling the audience about Running for Cru and SMA.

I contacted FSMA again early in my 2009 marathon training cycle and let them know I was going to run for Cru again. They were excited and why wouldn't they be? It's not everyday a guy randomly contacts you and proceeds to raise over $33,000 for their organization. I told them I didn't expect to be able to raise as much in year two, but that every dollar counted. I also offered to go on local news or do anything to help spread the word about SMA and FSMA. Of everyone I know, I'd say 99% of them hadn't heard of SMA prior to hearing Cru's story. I'd say ignorance is a pretty large part of the battle. If people don't know about it, how can they help?

Anyway, it's pretty normal to see local groups and charities on the news spreading their message. There's no reason FSMA couldn't be featured on the news. Needless to say, there was never any appearances on the news. I am not sure if FSMA tried, but I never heard anything from them after the initial couple emails that started the 2009 fundraising campaign. And every weekend, I'd see random groups talking about the fundraisers and charities, including a bunch of dudes growing mustaches to raise awareness for prostate cancer.

And those are the main reasons I think we can do more. Barely anyone knows about this disease. Seeing the pictures of these kids stricken by this disease is heart breaking. And they always have these huge smiles, while their body is being attacked and killed by this disease. They'll never know which Christmas will be there last or sometimes if they'll even make it to their first. Many may never play catch with their dad or even ride a bike.

And I then think of all the people who know someone who have or had cancer. It's crazy. Just today a running acquaintance of mine lost his step-mother to brain cancer. And my friend Ron who ran 40 miles on his 40th birthday in memory of his cousin who died from cancer. My dad is currently battling prostate cancer. Everyone knows someone who has had some type of cancer. How can you not want to help that effort? I make it a point to watch the Jimmy V speech every year. It still gives me goosebumps and a lump in my throat.

My point, in a roundabout way, is that I think deep down, people want to be inspired and be a part of something that does something good and helps others. I don't really know what the next step is for me from here, but I have several ideas. Among them are starting my own charity to fundraise and raise awareness about SMA. We'd have events, running teams and all sorts of good stuff. It's a lot of work to flesh out an idea of this magnitude, so I will most likely be focusing my Cru and SMA efforts towards that. I honestly don't have a ton of knowledge about starting something like this, so if there's anyone out there that does or knows someone that does, please send 'em my way. I really hope doing something like this is possible. So, Running for Cru as it currently exists, well, will no longer exist in this format. I am not sure when or how the next Running for Cru will make it's debut, but I will be sure to let you know about it.

In the meantime, I'll start training for the 2010 Boston Marathon early in January. I'm entertaining the idea of starting another blog (why not, right?) that would be pretty similar to this one when training is going on, along with any additional thoughts that may pop in my head that I wouldn't feel bad about sharing. I'll be sure to give the details about that on here so you can follow my Boston training efforts as well as any new information about how Running for Cru will proceed.

Thanks for reading, have a Merry Christmas and I'll be talking to all of you soon. Best wishes to all of you and yours in 2010.