Posts Tagged ‘Ronald McDonald House Austin’

Friday night will be the last chance for us to lace up our flats and do a little racing in 2013.  In fact, it may be the last time we really try to “go fast” before Ironman Texas.  Immediately after Friday night’s event the focus will shift to volume, volume and more volume.

Long steady runs, long, cold, windy bike rides and early morning long swims in the pool.  80-120 laps long.

But one more time this year we’ll push the limits at the Ronald McDonald House Lights of Love 5K.  This is an annual event that the whole family has gotten involved with since our good friends the Smith’s here in Austin had their little boy Caleb a couple of years ago.  Little Caleb had a ton of challenges when he was born.  Most to do with his digestive system and ability to go potty.  He struggles getting nutrition, going to the bathroom still even after numerous procedures and surgeries.

He and his family traveled to Cincinnatti a little more than two years ago for the first time to consult with the best Doctors in the country for Caleb’s ailments and for his surgeries.  The cost of flights, meals, time away from work and finding a place to stay became a huge struggle for our friends and as the stress of the situation became harder and harder to deal with – Ronald McDonald House stepped up to do what they do best.

Provide a welcoming environment for the Family to stay together.  A safe place to stay, do laundry, cook meals, play together and be a family.  All for less than $20 a day.  Truly amazing.  Ronald McDonald House Charities has been doing this since it was founded in 1974. 

That year the first Ronald McDonald House opened its doors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  At the time Kim Hill, the daughter of Philadelphia Eagles football player Fred Hill, was undergoing treatment for leukemia.  Throughout Kim’s treatment, her father recognized the need for a supportive environment away from the hospital for families of seriously ill children.  He enlisted the aid of his teammates and local McDonald’s restaurant owners to raise funds that would help purchase and renovate the first Ronald McDonald House.

The first Ronald McDonald House was named, not only because of McDonald’s fund-raising support but also for the positive, hopeful, and fun-loving feeling Ronald McDonald was able to instill into the minds of so many children.

Today there are over 300 Ronald McDonald Houses located in 30 countries and regions world-wide. 

Growing up in suburban Philadelphia at the age of 7 in 1974 and having lost a sister to Leukemia the mission of the Ronald McDonald House has always had a special place for me and after seeing how much they helped our friends the Smith’s with their son Caleb’s needs we have tried to do all that we can to help.

This year Landry is again raising money for Ronald McDonald House as part of Caleb’s Army.  To help her out her Mother and Father have committed to match every donation that she secures dollar for dollar up to $1,000.  Come Friday night we hope to be donating at least $2,000 to Caleb’s Army and then Dad is going to go out there and see if he can’t chase down one more PR this year.

Fast or slow won’t really matter at the end of the day, this one is all about helping those less fortunate.

(I’m still going to try to run pretty fast though ….)

Today is Giving Tuesday – so please make the most of it and visit Landry’s fundraising page located HERE and make your gift today – any amount will help her reach her goal and it will be doubled by Dawn and I.

You can also visit:  https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1069880&supId=396480510

Landry & Ronald 2012Thanks everyone!  Hope to see you on Friday!

 

I spent most of the day Friday relaxing and enjoying my last day off before starting my new job with Back on My Feet on Monday. They say that this generation of workers will have three “careers” before retirement. Monday will mark number 2 for me as I get a chance to serve as an Executive Director with an incredible organization that is launching a chapter in Austin this January.

Back on My Feet (BoMF) is a national nonprofit that is dedicated to creating independence and self-sufficiency within the homeless and other underserved populations by first engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem. The organization does not provide food nor shelter, but instead provides a community that embraces equality, respect, discipline, teamwork and leadership. Back on My Feet’s approach focuses on the very profound and innate desire for all of us – regardless of age, race, socio-economic status – to feel recognized, appreciated, valued and important. Through dedication and hard work, Members earn the opportunity to create a new road for themselves by advancing to the “Next Steps” phase of the program where they gain access to educational, job training and employment opportunities, as well as financial aid. In short, BoMF focuses on changing the direction of people’s lives by changing the way they see themselves.

As I was getting ready for Friday Night’s Race I took a moment to reflect on all the gifts that running has given me over the last 7 years and how fortunate I was to be able to go out and do something I love to do for a great cause. We were going to be racing Friday Night and trying to run a fast time, but we were going to show up already winners as Landry was able to raise $1,315 for the Ronald McDonald House before we even got in the car to head over to the Mueller Hanger. Our team, Caleb’s Army was well over $6,000 in donations making it two years in a row where the Team raised the most money among all groups for the charity.

The race was going to be basically a victory lap – but I had a feeling something good might be in store as even though the temperatures were a bit higher than I would have liked for a race, 70 degrees, the wind was still and my legs were feeling very “runnerish”.

I thought about my splits from last year as I was slipping on my race shorts – 5:43, 6:10, 6:04. I had run a solid opening mile last year, then I let off the gas too much. That 6:10 would need to be more like a 6:02 this year and that final 6:04 closer to 6:00. If I was able to pull that off, that would turn my time from 18:19 to 18:09 and a new PR at the 5K distance by :03. I didn’t share this with Dawn, Landry or anyone else – but in my mind I had my goal for the night.

Just PR, by the narrowest of margins – I would be fine with that. My 5K PR was one day older than Landry having been set at the NOCC Balance 5K on August 28, 2010. 25 hours later I would be a Dad. With Landry running, talking and doing all the things that a lucky, healthy and happy 27 month old can do – it was time. That PR was old news.

Sure it was hot, sure I ran 80 miles last week and had another 31 in the books already on this one, but for some reason – I really liked my chances.

To The Race: Dawn, Landry and I left the house around 4:20 p.m. to make our way over to the race site and beat some of the traffic. We had an easy drive, chit-chatted on the way and got a great parking spot to get in and out after the race ended. We loaded up Landry’s jogging stroller with our bags and made it to the Caleb’s Army Tent that the Ronald McDonald House was so generous in providing to the teams who raised I believe $3,000 or more for the race this year.

We saw Bea and Jay, Caleb’s Mom and Dad upon arriving and helped them get the tent and their Triple Jogging Stroller set up with a big Caleb’s Army lighted sign. That’s right – TRIPLE jogging stroller for Caleb and his two sisters. Great stuff.

Dad and Landry got a chance for a quick photo-op with Ronald McDonald himself.Lights of Love 2012 Dad-Landry-RMc

Landry chowed down on some pizza, potato chips and a water – pre-race meal of champions. I decided to just have a bagel on the drive over and a Gatorade. No need to get the stomach feeling full before a short race like the 5K. I was very relaxed up until it was time for Landry and Dawn to get in line for the family fun run that preceded the 5K race. Once they were ready to go I would head out alone to run my warm-up.

Pre-Race: I ducked around the side of the starting area and ran down the course all alone. The only people out there were some early spectators setting up their food, drink and music and the volunteers that were lining the course. I quietly strode along the race course running the final mile in the opposite direction that I would be traveling in about 45 minutes. Downloading the turns to memory from last year and remembering the slight hills and where the water stations would be.

It was all coming back to me and I was starting to feel the pre-race anxiety that no matter how many events you run, always seems to hit me about 30 minutes before the gun.

I wrapped up my warm-up of 2 miles in 15:48 – and quietly went down to the tent. I hit the porta-potty for one last visit and then dropped my singlet in a bag for after the race. Time to line up.

The Start: I waited to see Landry and Dawn return from their Fun Run and sure enough my little daughter stayed out of the stroller and walked the entire route. She crossed the finish line and with about 5 minutes to go until the gun, she and her Mommy disappeared from sight.

I hopped across the starting mat and ran a quick 200 meters to get the blood going in the legs, tucked back in to the front and waited for the Star Spangled Banner. After the anthem, Robert “Evil” Evilsizer did the honors as announcer, got us staged as he does race after race in Austin.

“Runners to your Mark! – Horn!”

Mile 1: With a lot of small kids up front at the starting line which happens at these events all the time, it was a little bit dicey. I just jumped out quickly – far above pace for the first 15 meters to get away from any trouble and hit the course running out front. I knew that I would be swallowed up by some of the younger college aged runners in the first quarter-mile, but I wanted to get out clean and not have to do any dodging.

In a short race like the 5K, you just can’t make up precious seconds later on like you can in a longer event. I was happy with my start – the legs felt great and all I could think about was that opening 5:45 I wanted to post. Stay smooth I thought, don’t get caught up racing anyone yet – just run your mile.

As a few runners slid past me I fell back into 7th place. I didn’t hear or feel anyone else going with us, I was just off the lead pack and did not think that I would have anyone coming up behind me from the rear. A race of 400 runners was now down to a group of 7. Just stay steady I thought, they’ll come back to you when you are getting stronger, they are going to be getting weaker.

The first mile ticked over in a blur – I heard the watch beep at me – 5:42 split. We had given ourselves a chance.

Mile 2: I wanted to run the second mile as close to 6:00 flat as I could. I knew that this mile in particular was going to define the race. No matter how tired you are, the last mile tends to run itself, basically 3/4 of a mile and then a kick. But mile 2 is where you are starting to hurt a bit and still have a long way to go before you get to finally empty the tank.

I decided I would try to just run two identical 1/2 miles. 3:00 minutes and 3:00 minutes. I was still running in 7th place, but the distance between me and the 6th place runner was shrinking. I clocked the first 1/2 mile of this section in 3:00 flat. Perfect. Oddly, I didn’t feel like I had to pour any more energy out to hold pace. It was hot for sure, sweat was running down my face, shoulders, chest, legs – but with no wind, the course still felt fast.

We hit the C shaped section of the course and I worked the tangents, around a right turn I pulled past the runner ahead of me and dropped him quickly behind. I was not speeding up so much as he was slowing down – at the beep the second 1/2 mile in this section came in at 2:58.

A 5:58 2nd Mile – if we could just stay even we had it.

Mile 3: Quickly into the mile we closed on two runners up ahead. With a glance over the shoulder the first runner acknowledged me as I slid past, then the next runner let out a “nice job” as I pulled past him into 4th position. The rest of the runners were far out of reach – no chance to catch them – so I would be alone for the rest of the race, but the crowd support in the neighborhood was great and we were getting a lot of encouragement every block.

I didn’t check my watch at the first 1/2 mile split in this section of the course as I didn’t want to know how hard we were pushing. I was just gradually opening the faucet until we hit the 3 mile sign, then I would make the last turn to the left and let it all hang out.

Mile 3 came in at 5:57, then it was time to kick.

Finish: As I made the left turn at the large Oak Tree in the circle filled with Christmas Lights, I saw the race clock still ticking in the high 17’s … for the first time I thought we might have a shot of finishing sub 18:00. I kicked to the finish and left every ounce of energy I had out there on the course.

18:02.

Post Race: Our effort was good enough for 4th place overall, 1st Place Male Masters and a new PR by :10.

I couldn’t find Landry and Dawn in the finishing chute or at the Caleb’s Army Tent, so I went back out on the 5K course and found Bea pushing Caleb and the girls in the triple stroller. I spent some time with them and then jogged back to the finish area and found Dawn and Landry. We chatted a bit with everyone and then went over to the hanger for the awards ceremony.

Landry made the trip up to the stage with me and we got a chance to be interviewed for a promotional video about the Lights of Love event that Ronald McDonald House will be putting together for next year. It was again a tremendous event that is absolutely as well run and organized as any of the races in Austin.

Landry and Dad getting 1st Male Masters Award

Landry and Dad getting 1st Male Masters Award

They do a tremendous job having a little something there for everyone and even the smallest details are accounted for. Pretty indicative of how the entire Ronald McDonald House Operates on a daily basis. Just a top-notch organization that makes a tremendous impact on the lives of so many.

So what’s next for us? First day of work on Monday which is pretty darn exciting and then another race – this time a half-marathon down in Shiner, TX next Sunday. At that point we will be exactly one month away from the starting line down in Houston. Makes you want to tap the brakes just a bit and slow things down – as things are moving way too fast right now.

Kind of like raising a little girl.

Landry & Santa - Lights of Love 2012

Landry & Santa – Lights of Love 2012

Race day is upon us once again and little Landry is pretty psyched.

At breakfast this morning as I was eating my traditional peanut butter bagel and a Cliff Bar, Landry with a mouth full of blueberry muffin looked me in the eye and said, “I’m going to run slow tonight Daddy.  You are going to run fast.”

I smiled at her and asked, “Why are you going to run slow tonight Landry?  Don’t you want to race fast like Daddy?”

She seemed to think about that for a second or two and replied, “You are going to run fast tonight Daddy …. and Landry is going to run fast too!”

So there you have it, I guess my 18:19 time from last year is in some serious trouble tonight as Landry has made it clear that I’ll be laying it down tonight at the Ronald McDonald House Lights of Love 5K.  Truth be told, I think it is going to be awfully hard to match last year’s performance.

The race was 4 weeks after the New York City marathon, where I had just run my marathon PR by 6 minutes and 52 seconds.  I took two weeks of recovery time and was just ramping my mileage back up.  I was sound, rested and coming off of a week where I had only run about 30 miles.

I have already run 31 miles this week, and I haven’t run since Wednesday morning.  Last week?  80 miles.  Highest mileage ever.  On top of all that mileage the weather tonight is not going to be very cooperative with temperatures around 70 degrees at 7:00 p.m. and some sticky humidity hanging around.

Last year was a cool, damp evening that was near perfect for racing.  Tonight?  Not so much, but it will be a great night out at the event for all of the families who are there to take in all of the sights, sounds, events and activities that go along with this race.  Tents, face painting, food trailers, lots of kids, doggies to pet and play with and of course Santa and Ronald McDonald will be there.

Pretty awesome.

So, from a racing perspective.  We’re just going to go out somewhere around 5:45 pace for the first mile and take it from there.  Last year our splits went – 5:43, 6:10, 6:04.  Only that middle mile was a mild disappointment as I would have rather been around 6:05 or so – but all in all, it was a great performance just :07 off of our 5K PR.

Tonight, I’d like to put myself in a position to match last year’s time, but the closing two miles, especially that dreaded 2nd mile of the 5K is going to be a tough one.  It always seems like that is where I am fighting my legs as they want to relax off the gas a bit and float until the closing mile.  It is something that every runner has to deal with in the 5K.  I am waiting for that race where I just hammer through that float mile and push through to the finish.  It is going to take a performance like that one of these days to break through that 18:12 mark, which truth be told is a pretty fast time for a 45 year-old distance runner to try to take down.

We’ll see, as you never really know what is going to happen on race day.  Sometimes those breakthrough moments come at unexpected times like the IBM Uptown Classic in the fall of 2011 when I was just a month out from the NYC Marathon, worn down by training and showed up hoping to run a fast time.  Without any indicators that a big performance was coming that weekend, we ran our 10K PR of 37:30 (6:01 pace) on our way to NYC.

Interesting that we are now 5 weeks out from Houston and in a similar position.

The big news tonight however isn’t so much the racing, splits and times that will be posted.  It is the race beneficiary that is the story – the Ronald McDonald House here in Austin.  RMH is a place where families can stay together, at a suggested daily donation of just $10, and receive a welcoming home environment, meals, access to laundry, toys for the kids, and an exceptionally warm and caring environment for their family as they are dealing with all of the stress and fear of having a sick child cared for at one of our area hospitals.

For our friends Bea and Jay Smith, Caleb’s Mommy and Daddy – the Ronald McDonald House stepped up for a big way for them when they were in Cincinnati during Caleb’s surgeries and procedures for his condition.  When the Smith’s needed to extend their stay after Caleb’s surgery, they truly did not know where they were going to stay or how they were going to afford it.  But the Ronald McDonald House made all of that possible and more for their family as Caleb battled like the little warrior that he is.

2011 was a tough year for the little man.  Caleb was born with a condition called VACTERL association – he had problems with his spinal cord, was born with no anus, had minor cardiac issues and very complex kidney/bladder problems.

In the last 12 months Caleb has had:

1 NICU stay.

4 surgeries.

6 hospitalizations.

4 ER visits.

12 months of difficult times.

So tonight Landry, Dawn and I are there for Caleb and his family – part of “CALEB’s ARMY” – which as of this morning is the top fundraising team with $5,875 raised.

Landry is sitting in third place in the entire fundraising effort which has right now raised more than $225,000.

Last year Caleb’s Army was number 1 overall as was Landry.  Third place is nothing to be ashamed of out of thousands of fundraisers.  But I think my little girl has her eyes on something a little bit higher.

There is still time to help!  If you can, please click HERE:

Or visit:

http://rmhc-austin.kintera.org/faf/r.asp?t=4&i=1028938&u=1028938-372877349&e=6313287430

We all thank you for all that you are doing to help families like Caleb’s this holiday season.

As for the race – 7:00 p.m. tonight.  Boom goes the dynamite.Dad-Landry-Ronald Mc

12 Weeks until Houston.  I am finally in the place that I want to be during marathon training.  Firmly in the now.  Not looking too far ahead and perhaps more importantly, not looking behind me.

Frank Shorter once famously said, “You should never run a marathon until you have forgotten your last one.”

There are a couple of ways to interpret Frank’s remark.  The first time I read it I thought that he must be talking about the fact that the marathon being such a unique race takes a tremendous amount of effort to prepare for, get mentally checked-in, race and then recover from.  It is such a draining experience for the athlete whose goal is not merely to finish, but to run the race as close as possible to their maximum potential, that you need to not only physically recover from the race, but you really have to get your mind right before you tee it up again.

I still believe that is the main point that Frank was trying to make.

Lately however I have found new meaning in Frank’s comment.  With the NYC Marathon now less than 2 weeks away I have continued to replay that race over in my mind on training runs over the last month or so.  Despite the fact that I finished Boston in April, I consider NYC to be my “last” marathon.  Yes, I earned a finisher’s medal in Boston for the second time in three years and covered every step of the storied course from Hopkinton to Boston.  But with race day temperatures reaching 87 degrees, I did not “race” Boston, I merely “ran” it.  Still an accomplishment, but never for one moment on April 16th did I feel the intensity of race day.  I simply left Hopkinton at a comfortable training run pace, dealt with the course, the heat, the need to hydrate and fuel to the best of my abilities, high-fived kids along the route, flirted briefly with the coeds at Wellesley and hung on through Brookline past Boston College to the finish.

NYC was my last Marathon and it was my best ever.

What I am realizing is that when you look back fondly on a great performance that can be a dangerous place to be preparing for a marathon.

The marathon is cruel.  The distance is significant.  The training is tough.  The race is tougher.

You have to not only put in the work prior to the event to put yourself in a position to be successful, but you have to prepare mentally for some of the toughest miles you will ever run.  If your “memory” of marathon glory is too fresh, if the only thing you can draw from is how exhilarating it felt to cross the finish line with a new PR in hand then you are not going to be in the right mindset to battle through the pain and fatigue it takes to get there.

I’m not sure if it has been the increased intensity of my run workouts over the past couple of weeks that have flipped the switch from Triathlete to Marathoner or not, but with each passing workout I feel like my mind is getting closer and closer to where I want it to be on race morning.  Tempo miles, hill repeats, long runs – it is all building toward a crescendo that on race morning down in Houston we are going to attack the marathon like none of the other 9 that have come before it.

All it really took to get me there was the look on Landry’s face as she was preparing for her first “Fire Truck” Race at her friend Levi’s Birthday party on Sunday.

Go Big or Go Home

If I have ever entertained the thought, “chip off the old block”, seeing that photograph brings it home.

In 5 Weeks we will be racing on Thanksgiving morning at the Thundercloud Subs 5-Miler.  16 days later the Ronald McDonald House Lights of Love 5K, 16 days after that the Shiner Half-Marathon and then 4 weeks after Shiner we will be in Houston.

4 races, 4 opportunities to leave it all out on the course and go after a PR in the 5-mile, 5K, half-marathon and marathon.  Approximately 5 hours and 14 minutes of racing where we need to be focused throughout, race with passion and determination and in a word, fearlessly.

Running that close to the ragged edge can be a bit scary.  It also has the potential to create a race where you go out too hard too early and fade badly at the finish.  Very true.

But I also know that failing to go all in and playing it safe is a recipe for the average to slightly above average performance more times than not.

Frankly, I’m not interested in that.

If we blow up down in Houston, miss our goal and struggle to finish the race, I’m prepared to pick-up the pieces after the race and figure out where we go from there.

The one thing I don’t think I can live with is driving back to Austin and looking Dawn and Landry in the eye knowing that I was too scared to go for it.  We’ve got 12-weeks to make sure that on race day we’re prepared for the toughest final 10 kilometers we have ever run.  We’ll be ready.

I’m pretty excited as Daddy is going to be picking me up from school and then we’ll be getting Mommy at her office so we can go to the race tonight!

I got my very first race bib – number 2,674.  Daddy told me it’s different from my other bibs that usually go around my neck.  This one he put on my race gear with safety pins last night.  There is going to be a whole lot of runners there this year for the 1K race and the 5K race that my Daddy is running afterwards.

2,800 or something like that they told my Daddy, twice as many as last year.

I’m pretty sure I’m still going to win because I’ve been practicing A LOT with my Mommy when we go on our walks with Kayla.

Daddy told me to make sure I ate all my lunch today at school and was all “carbed up” for tonight’s race.  I’m not really sure what he was talking about, but I never am when it comes to running.

He’s really fast though, I know that much, so I should probably listen to him.

Whether we win anything or not doesn’t really matter because I’m running for my friend Caleb. 

He is only about 6 months old and has already undergone 2 surgeries, with more to come. He and his mommy and daddy recently returned from a 3 week visit to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where the very best doctor’s in the world for his condition performed an important surgery for Caleb. While there, the Ronald McDonald House Cincinnati was their home away from home. For $25/day suggested donation (they do not turn you away if you cannot pay), they received a nice room, free meals and snacks, access to laundry facilities, shuttles to area grocery and clothing stores, activities, free or reduced passes for entertainment, and the little things that make things easier. For Caleb, it was borrowing one of their baby strollers as post-op he cannot sit or be carried in certain positions- the stroller is comfortable and safe for him. They accommodated them when there were complications that caused them to have to stay for three extra days with no worries.

Most importantly though, they provided support and encouragement to my friend and his parents. At Ronald McDonald House no one gave his mommy and daddy dirty looks when Caleb was screaming non-stop. No one batted an eye when they found out he didn’t have a pooper. There is a sense of community with families sharing their stories and becoming friends so that no one feels alone or isolated.

There is no place else like Ronald McDonald House. So, I am running the Lights of Love 5k/Kids K on December 2 in Austin to benefit our local Ronald McDonald House.

So far I’ve raised more than $540 and I’m the top fundraiser on Team Caleb, I’ve even raised more money than my Daddy, he’s only raised $378. 

Overall we are the number one fundraising team with almost $5,000 raised!  If you haven’t helped yet there is still time – you can click the link below or right HERE to access my personal page.

http://rmhc-austin.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=491203&lis=1&kntae491203=BF6F60F8DF3B4AC4A06DB72DD062934A&supId=345360915

Thanks again!  I’ll be posting a race report after I finish my first 1K – Daddy will help me write it.

I hope everyone out there had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with their family and friends.  One of my favorite meals of the year, I always look forward to Thanksgiving.

This year it was only Dawn, Landry, me and our 16 year-old dog Kayla, so I dialed back on the menu a bit and just stuck to the family basics:

Escarole Soup – more commonly known as Italian Wedding Soup

A small 7 lb. fresh Turkey

Homemade stuffing

Mashed Potatoes

“Holiday” Mushrooms – also a family recipe

Pretty basic stuff, but good stuff all the same.

I ran a little farther than I normally would on Thursday and stretched things out by a couple of miles on Sunday – but other than that, a pretty relaxing last few days of running and training.

But it’s race week this week as we will be toeing the line as part of TEAM CALEB for our good friend’s Bea and Jay’s son at Friday night’s Lights of Love 5K which benefits the Austin Ronald McDonald House.

Austin Ronald McDonald House

I haven’t raced since the New York City Marathon and have not raced a 5K since August 13th.  Our strength and stamina is in good shape right now, but our high-turnover, fast twitch running muscles are woefully unprepared for the all-out effort that makes for a fast 5K time.

I’m hoping to run something right in the 19:00 minute range on Friday night – it would be great to be able to crack through that barrier for Caleb, but I have to be realistic about our chances having not done any speed work in quite some time.

The race is more about giving back to our Austin community and making a difference in the lives of many families across the area who are struggling with a sick child.  It is also about Landry and I participating in the event for her (Boy)friend Caleb.

Caleb was born with a congenital condition – imperforate anus.  He also has kidney reflux and tethered cord.  Long-term serious issues that threaten Caleb’s life and development.

Most parents will tell you that all they hope for is a happy, healthy baby – that it is truly a blessing.  Seeing the things that Caleb and his family have had to go through so early in his life have illustrated to me just how lucky those of us with healthy children truly are.  It is a remarkable gift.

Caleb and his family have been working hard to find help for him and this search led them to Cincinnati where the top rated colorectal surgery team in the world resides.  The Smith family stayed in the Ronald McDonald House where the care and support the family needed took care of all of the daily worries for things such as food, shelter, laundry – all free of charge – which allowed the family to focus solely on Caleb and getting him better so they could return home to Texas.

The Ronald McDonald House has been doing this for years and years – providing countless families the support they need at the time when they need it most.

Caleb’s family wants to give that same experience back to other families with sick children.  As Caleb’s Mom Bea put it:

“It was such a blessing, in your time of greatest need to have a home away from home where they cared for you like family- every family with a sick child should have that. They helped ease the burden, comforted us and encouraged us.”

Landry has been practicing her walks in the evenings for the 1K event and Dad has been running and training as usual to make sure we are ready to do our best out there.

On the fundraising front – Landry has been doing AWESOME and is closing in on her goal of $400 before race day on Friday.  You can click HERE to see Landry’s fundraising page and read her letter about her good friend Caleb and what she is doing to help him and other children like him.

http://tiny.cc/4ehxi

I’d like nothing more than for Landry to beat her Dad on the fundraising front.

As for the race on Friday – sorry Landry.  There will come a day when Daddy isn’t as fast as you are – but I’m sad to say, Friday is not that day.  You’re going down kid.

You gotta teach them at a young age how to lose gracefully ….

Thanks for all of the support everyone!  Hope to see you out there on Friday night.