364 days: Now that you know WHAT, let me tell you WHY

Yesterday I let the cat out of the bag. No, not literally. Because, well, we don’t put our cats in bags. Frankie does, however, enjoy sitting in boxes – we have a whole series of photos as proof. But I digress, as that is a story for another day.

I announced first that I will be stepping up from my half-ironman triathlon racing distance of 70.3 miles to tackle the big enchilada: a full ironman 140.6. In Lake Tahoe. At altitude. One year from that day. I don’t recommend that you actually try tackling an enchilada, they are too tasty and the tackling process usually renders them inedible, but sometimes you do what you just gotta do.

That wasn’t the big announcement, however. I decided long ago that the road to this race would be one year in the making. Frankly, I don’t need a full year to train for this race – 6 months or less would have likely sufficed. But finishing the race isn’t good enough for me. It needs to be bigger than that. I need to feel like I am strong enough to stand on the podium at the end of the race, like I have in several of my races over the past couple of years.

But that is selfish. I want to race to win. I want to race for glory and medals. I want my picture taken with my hands stretched out over my head in victory. I want to race to hear the cheers, the clanging cowbells, and the glowing admiration of my friends, family, and pure strangers. Yes, at some level, all of this is true. But I don’t WANT it to be about those self indulgent aspects.

I needed to up the ante. I needed this race to be much more than a quest to check the box from the milestones in life list. To be more than a vainglorious victory lap in life. To be more than me taunting time as the inexorable march toward 40 starts to fill my windshield of life, soon to be seen only in the rearview mirror. I wanted the countless hours of training, all of the sweat, blood, and tears (yes, there will be a lot of each) to mean something more… and to provide motivation for getting out of bed at 5am to hit the pool when I would much rather be deep in comatose slumber.

Many of you know me on Facebook. Yes, I overshare. I try to be humorous. And you also know that I would be chronicling my training at some level via Facebook posts. Some of you might have even found the series of posts interesting, funny, gross at times, but at some level also motivational. But it wasn’t enough for me this time to encourage a few people to lace up the running shoes or jump on a bicycle. It had to be more.

In 2011 my races helped encourage many of you to contribute to a fantastic organization, the Sarcoma Foundation of America. And I sincerely thank you from the depths of my heart for your generosity. And I know for a fact my friend Mike would love nothing more than to give each and every one of you that contributed a hearty bear hug of thanks. But that effort was random and unfocused. It was successful, but it could have been MORE successful. But how much more? Did we raise $1,000? $2,000? I don’t know.

What would happen if I were to be better organized? More focused? Could we raise $2,000 for the SFA again? I think so. Worst case I just write a check and call it day. Mission accomplished. Sort of. Drats! I had an out!

How about $5,000? Too easy. Let’s go for $10,000. Contrary to what some folks may believe, I am not a rich man with a money tree in my backyard – I am not going to be able to write a $10,000 check. Perfect! That is the target!

So yesterday, with exactly one year until the big race day, I let the cat out of the bag. The big announcement: let’s raise $10,000 over the next 365 days!!! And I won’t take no for an answer.

I love the Sarcoma Foundation of America. But I also love other charities and causes, so let’s spread the wealth a bit… Over the next several days I am going to introduce you to the organizations I have selected, give you all an opportunity to help find some more, and explain the mechanisms of this effort.

Because this time I HAVE A PLAN.

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