After one hundred days, it all comes down to this moment.
Action 500 – Get Ready To Run The Marathon.
As I type this, I’m sitting in my car at the Pasadena City College (in VIP Parking!). In just over one hour, I’ll step across the start line and begin the marathon. I’m excited, nervous, and a little bit anxious.
This has been an amazing journey already. I’ll blog about it more after the race, because I really want to capture this experience. All of these actions have had a big impact on me, and I want to use all of this as I go forward to my next challenge.
For now, though, my eyes are on 26.2 miles of the beautiful city of Pasadena.
It’s run time!
Last month, I announced that I had reached my fundraising goal of $1,775 for the Semper Fi Fund. But I quickly realized that I was not going to be content with just meeting the goal and posted a new challenge. My counterpart, Don Thieme, has also continued to raise money and has far exceeded the amount I have helped to raise. But the ultimate winner is still Semper Fi Fund, so there is no loser in this contest.
Action 494 – Ring The Last Call Bell. The Pasadena Marathon is Sunday, and this action is my last request to friends and family. For those who have already donated, your generosity is appreciated more than I can say. And for those who have been waiting until the last opportunity, this is it.
The Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund is an amazing organization offering real help to real Marines in need, like Corporal Colin Faust and Major Justin Constantine.
As I have said before, I will continue to talk about this cause anywhere and anytime, to any and all who will listen. The work they do is so important, and the Marines they serve so worthy, that pushing for more donations is the very least I can do. But this is your last chance to donate as part of ProjectOneFive and the Pasadena Marathon.
Click here to reach my donation page. And thank you.
Semper Fi, Marines.
I am dedicating my run in the Pasadena Marathon to Marine Corps heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice, so that in my own small way, they may be honored, acknowledged, and remembered.
Action 493 – Honor Heroes (Final Distance). I will run the last two-tenths of a mile and cross the finish line in honor of 2nd LT James Blecksmith, born on September 26, 1980, in the city of Pasadena. A member of the famed Third Battalion, Fifth Regiment, Dark Horse 3/5, Blecksmith was killed during Operation Phantom Fury. On Veterans Day, November 11, 2006, two years to the day after Blecksmith’s family heard he’d been killed in action in Iraq, the Marines renamed Pasadena’s Marine Corps Reserve Center in his memory
I will complete my run and finish the marathon in honor of this hometown hero. Semper Fi, Lieutenant.
Marine 2nd Lt. James P. Blecksmith, 24, of San Marino, Calif, died Nov. 11, 2004, as a result of enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Blecksmith was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
(Photo and summary courtesy of militarytimes.com.)
My Grandfather turned 90 years old last week. I went to Austin to celebrate his birthday, but he was in the hospital and unable to enjoy a party. I did see him in ICU, though, and was able to talk and visit with him there. Back at my Uncle and Aunt’s house, I found pictures of my Grandpa and I knew immediately what they meant.
Action 489 – Be A Chip Off The Old Block.
The first picture is my Grandpa competing in the Senior Games in Texas. He was a menace in that wheelchair if you made the mistake of getting between him and the finish line. And really, it’s not like they were specific and actually prohibited the use of your own feet to move you faster across the course. I like to think that Grandpa just applied a very loose interpretation of the rules.
And this photo is him afterwards, sporting his medals. And now I know where I get my love of cheap, shiny jewelry. Here I thought chasing medals was something new that I was doing. Turns out, it’s an old family tradition and I am just the next one in line to do it.
Thanks, Grandpa, for passing down the “I must have that medal” gene. Now I can blame genetics and heredity when I find myself signing up for a race just to get the finisher’s medal!
For the most part, I am aware that I am a very lucky person. As I wrote earlier to a friend,
My burden is light and my troubles small.
I take that for granted. My life is pretty good, my basic needs are met, and I have no worries that a good night’s sleep doesn’t seem to solve. I’m very, very fortunate in this regard. And today, I’m going to acknowledge and remember that.
Action 488 – Count My Blessings.
Today, I read about a baby diagnosed with cancer. I was immediately overwhelmed with a sense of sadness for the little girl and her entire family. The news they received this afternoon about her condition was as good as could have been hoped for, but it’s still a serious situation with dark, scary days ahead. And this is a baby. A baby. I can’t imagine how those parents will be able to do anything but break down and cry, but they will. They will carry on because their child depends on them to be strong.
And to think, yesterday my complaint was that running was uncomfortable because I had a few mosquito bites. Imagine what suffering those parents would endure if it meant their child could be healthy again.
I still struggle with my spirituality. Is God real or a wish made by people desperate for a reason to have faith? I really don’t know. But one thing is simple and obvious. Whatever and wherever the good things in my life come from, I am grateful for them. Each day brings with it another reason to smile, to laugh, to love and be loved. Whether it’s random chaos of the universe or a divine plan, it doesn’t matter. It makes each day a joy to experience and I am going to bask in that knowledge.
I will count my blessings today. I will continue to keep others in my heart and hold hope that they will know the same simple joy of the day that I do.
In the end, what else can I do?
I’ve been ultra-focused on my upcoming marathon, and I make no apologies for that. This is a big deal for me and I’m proud of the progress I have made since I began this project. That said, I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge two people who are inspirations to me and who are also running significant events this weekend.
Action 486 – Share The Spotlight.
First up is the amazing Katie, who blogs at RunsForCookies. She is running her first full marathon on Sunday, the Cleveland Marathon. This is her next step in a journey that has seen her drop 125 pounds. She is funny, adorable and absolutely motivating to so many people. I can’t wait to see your finish line photo, Katie!
Second, a shout-out to the fabulous Mary. She blogs at ASmallLoss and has lost an incredible 151 pounds. She is running the San Francisco Bay to Breakers event this year, and she will be joined on the run by a long-time reader of her blog. How amazing is that? She has managed to not only motivate herself to change her life, but she is also motivating and inspiring others. I love that!
These ladies, along with several other running buddies, are hitting the streets this weekend all over the country. They will be giving all they have as they run mile after mile, and they are examples of what can be done when you set a goal and let nothing keep you from it.
I am happy to share the spotlight, because there is plenty of “oh my gosh, that is so awesome!” to go around.
Run strong, ladies!
I am dedicating each mile that I run in the Pasadena Marathon to another Marine Corps hero who has made the ultimate sacrifice, so that in my own small way, they may be honored, acknowledged, and remembered.
Action 485 – Honor Heroes (Mile 26). I will run mile twenty-six in honor of Cpl Ramona Valdez. On June 1, 2007, the United States Marine Corps honored the memory of Cpl. Valdez by dedicating the II MEF Communications Training Center as the Valdez Training Facility during a building dedication ceremony. The building has a plaque with Valdez’s name inscribed.
I will run this mile in honor of this fallen Marine warrior, dedicated wife, sister and daughter. Semper Fi, Corporal.
Marine Cpl. Ramona M. Valdez died June 23, 2005 serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom; She was 20, of The Bronx, N.Y.; assigned to Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; killed June 23 when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near her convoy vehicle in Fallujah, Iraq.
(Photo and summary courtesy of militarytimes.com.)