Dear friends and family,
Well the sun is shining (at least it was briefly) as I gaze west out my home office window. However, the Weather Channel certainly feels differently about what will happen next versus what I can see - they say rain and lots of it. So, a stay indoor Sunday probably tops the menu of most Southern Californians tomorrow.
However, as you all probably know, I and 25,999 of my soon-to-be-closest friends will take to the streets run or shine or clouds to participate in the 26th LA Marathon. The LA Marathon undertook a renaissance last year with the introduction of the Dodger Stadium to the Ocean course. Basically a straight shot from downtown through Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood, Brentwood and Santa Monica, the course passes over 40 landmarks. Despite running an ultramarathon 5 weeks previous in 2010, I felt obligated to run last year's race to try the new course. I had such a good time that I committed to run it again. That corresponded with The Alliance for Children's Rights, one of my charities that so many of you have graciously donated to, asking me to be their co-chair of fundraising in association with the marathon. Honestly, other than attend a few meetings and offer my name to emails, I haven't done any of the logistics.
Today, the LA Marathon Big 5 Dodger 5K was run. We had about 15 runners from the Alliance, and everyone one of us had a great time. I ran a chippy 23:22 on the hilly course around Elysian Park which is probably faster than I should have, but I was having fun. The head fundraiser for the group walked it with her kids and a friend and they were beaming from start to finish. That was partly because the Alliance is just short of its $50,000 fundraising goal as being an official charity of the LA Marathon weekend. They are sitting at $46,000 or so. Of the about $9,000 we have raised together, about $4,000 of that has gone to the Alliance (with the rest to CODE and Children International). Here's the link again for any last minute donations: https://www.justgive.org/basket?acton=viewWishList&donorId=200018&listTypeId=1
The event tomorrow is a "training" run for my next ultramarathon on April 10. So, after running it, I plan to run the 4 miles back home to get in about 30 total. But I've promised to meet a reporter from our local Patch website at the Alliance booth for a quick photo before I do that. I tell you, I'm big in 90272. (At least on my block and really not even in my own house. Aspen the dog is still bigger news. Oh well.) Here's an article they posted this week about the Antarctica exploits: http://pacificpalisades.patch.com/articles/video-game-exec-plays-polar-position
And speaking of Antarctica, I think my last update from March 1 got lost in satellite email hell. Here's a link which talks all about the race. http://www.runlairdrun.com/2011/03/antarctica-marathon-post-race-report.html. Overall, the trip was amazing. Just everything about it, including being super seasick coming back to Argentina, was great. (Ok, being sick wasn't great, but it didn't erase the smile from my face.) I think what really made the journey special was sharing it with 120 other like-minded people. Every meal was filled with a new conversation, every boat ride a new shared experience and every hour kicking back in the lounge yielded a new story. I have never done a package tour before, so this aspect was a big unknown going in.
More details on visiting the continent are posted at the Adventure Logs at Indy in the Classroom: http://www.indyintheclassroom.com/travel/laird/intro.asp. Thanks again to Thomas and Wes for hosting me there and awaiting a long overdue next chapter!
A lot of you have asked for photos. Photos? We got tons of photos! (Too many really, but I haven't had a chance to edit them down further than the 10% cut - the full amount is nearly 1200.) http://web.me.com/lairdo/Site/Antarctica2011/index.html. One of the fellow runners on the trip is going to cut a video of all of the best photos from my various shipmates, so I'll post that when I get it.
Lastly, amidst all of this crazy running and less crazy fund raising, I would be remiss to not say a few personal things about Japan. My first race outside the US and my 4th marathon was in Nagano Japan. That visit was my second to Japan, and I have since been back for work another three times. I have enjoyed every moment I have spent in the country. I've never had a bad experience or even really a bad meal. Despite not knowing more than a few niceties in Japanese, even in rural areas, I have been able to make my way around. So, to see them suffering from the double impact of earthquake and tsunami is heart breaking. Rebecca and I have donated to their relief efforts via AmeriCares. Rebecca found them via charity navigator which identifies AmeriCares as a top charity. For anyone who wants to donate on behalf of my running to a Japanese relief fund, please do so. Shoot me a note, and as always we'll match $10 via AmeriCares for any donation as we do for any of the three on my list already. In an odd coincidence, I started reading on the trip "Underground" by Haruki Murakami which chronicles the thoughts of victims of the 1995 sarin gas attacks. It's horrifying to read about that senseless suffering, and I imagine that many of those in Japan impacted by the natural disasters must be feeling similar throughs. At least then, there was someone to blame. Murakami is a wonderful writer who also happens to be a marathon runner and I recommend his books without reservation.
Thank you all for your support. I'm excited about Sunday's race more than even I thought I would be. A final email for the 2011 fundraising will go out after with the results.
Think fast and dry thoughts Sunday morning starting about 7:25 AM PDT.
All the best,