Update: Good Progress | Isabella’s Day

I thought I would provide an update as it has been a few weeks.  Overall, we made some great progress on the fundraising side of things.  I would say I was also making progress on the training side but on Sunday, while goofing off with my son, I either pulled a muscle (which is what docs are leaning towards now) or cracked a rib.  I was in very intense pain for two days, woke up Wednesday to almost no pain but ran 10 miles Wednesday night which brought back the pain. The worst is that I cannot swim and I really need to swim.  The pull motion is not pleasant.  Anyway, here is a more formal presentation:


Since my last update, we received a donation for $20,000!!!  It was completely unexpected and there is a long story behind it.  The donation comes from a long time friend of the family.  I had an email in my We Will Find a Cure account asking for donation information.  Prior to this email, for years I have only received pornographic spam emails so I rarely check for email.  I am not sure what possessed me to check email but thank God I did because it ultimately led to this unbelievable turn of events.  There is certainly a lot wrong with the world but throughout my years of fundraising I am constantly reminded there is a lot of good.  People are kind and generous and want to make a difference.  This plus a match that should post soon puts us very near $75,000 towards our goal of $130,000.  We cleared the half way point.  I am relatively confident we can clear $100,000 but need a strong push if we are to reach our goal.  From here the ways to help are very straightforward:

  • Straight donation via one of the many DONATION buttons at this site
  • Join us for our 5K in Venice, CA on September 9th or join us virtually. Everyone receives a shirt, a medal and a bib. For those joining the live event, you also receive all you can drink mimosas and Bloody Mary’s after the race.  Food and other drinks are available for purchase as well.  The registration link is http://tinyurl.com/r2k5K or click on the link on our Home page.
  • If you live in the LA/OC area, we will be hosting Legendary Bingo at Hamburger Mary’s on August 20th. Come join us, help me celebrate my 51st birthday and help us to end cancer. The FB event is https://www.facebook.com/events/682322398627755/
  • Join our Community Team. Message me for details.
  • If all of this is too much, you can simply buy one of our shirts. I really love this shirt. Super soft.  Awesome design.  On the back is my favorite quote and one I believe is hugely important for all of us “It Always Seems Impossible Until It’s Done” Nelson Mandela. http://tinyurl.com/r2kshirt


I am currently in the middle of a recovery week…….which is not as laid back as I would have thought.  I am coming off a two week build which was fairly intense.  Last week I trained about 215 miles between all sports.  The weekend was challenging.  I rode 100 miles on Saturday (6,000 feet of elevation climb) and ran 3 miles off the bike.  I was crazy sore and tired.  I woke up on Sunday in even more pain and my body was trying to tell me to take the day off but my mind/heart would not allow it.  I am so stressed about finishing this race tied to the heat and wind and my falling behind on swim training.  Missing key workouts would do nothing but severely stress me out.  As such, I headed out for a 3 hour ride, 8 mile run brick.  The bike felt awesome.  I was very proud I got out there.  I had 3,000 feet of climb on the ride.  In between the ride and run is when my cracked rib/muscle pull developed.  I was heading out the door to run when I saw my son lying on the bed…….in my room which he seems to claim as his own most of the time.  I decided to pounce on him…….his knee pushed into my chest and the pain that triggered knocked me to the floor.  It freaked him out because it was obvious I was in a lot of pain and he had no idea what happened.  Me either!!!  I let it go and headed out to the run and this chest pain turned out to be a non-issue.  What was an issue was the heat.  It was just an 8 mile run and, if you have been following my journey know I use a crazy conservative run-walk interval because of foot surgery in my past that has led to a slow recovery.  It started out great but about 3 miles in I started getting dizzy and nauseous.  I was not pushing hard at all but was struggling a lot.  By mile 6 I vomited and could barely run.  By about mile 7 I just had to walk it in.  I am fairly sure I was having heat stroke which is my big stress point in Kona.  My body does not do well in heat.  I was down and out for a few hours because of this short 8 miler……..how will I survive 26.2?

Anyway, a few hours later, I managed to get up and decided to try and get in my swim.  I headed to the pool and felt okay tied to the heat issues but this is when it was clear the incident with my son caused a problem.  I could not pull without a great deal of pain.  I probably should have stopped completely but I proceeded to go super slow (for me which is sloth kind of slow for most).  I did this for 2,000 yards using a buoy.  By Sunday night, I could barely move my right arm and could not even touch my chest.  This pain got better by Wednesday which is, of course, when I was going to the doc so they did not take x rays.  Wednesday night was a 10-mile run which went well.  I pulled back the walk portion of my interval offsetting that with a slower run pace.  The result was a similar overall pace but a 1-1 interval (run 1 minute, walk 1 minute).  After my Sunday 8-mile debacle, I believe I need to try and ramp the amount of time I am running so I have some cushion built into my race day.  Last comment on the 10-mile run for Wednesday………it triggered the chest pain so I had to miss another swim.  I am praying to get in the pool today but if the pull hurts I will have to skip it.  I think I am going to ask my coach for a very swim intense week for my next recovery week so I mentally feel like I have made up or lost training.

Other than all of this, Isabella’s Day is 5 days from now.  If you are not intimate with this day, it is the day my daughter Isabella passed away.  She is a huge part of my story.  She is why I have accomplishd much of what I have.  I always hope that August 1st arrives and I am strong but it never happens.  My heart hurts from missing her and this year will be no different.  If you happen to remember this day, I always ask that you raise a glass and toast my little angel.  She never took a step on this planet but her impact has been enormous.

Thanks for reading.  Thanks for the support.

Christopher D. Wilno

July 10th Road to Kona Update

This was a recovery week which I am finding is great on the body but tough on the mind.  The workouts are certainly scaled back as my body is allowed to heal before ramping up again but my mind goes crazy.  The mental challenge is not the taper but the extra time that allows my mind to wander. I am constantly thinking about the race and contemplating whether I will be successful.  I begin to stress about the fundraising because none of this is about me nor is it about a race.  It is about making a difference.  It is about honoring promises. It is about ending cancer.  If I do not reach the financial goal, how will I respond?  Will I be a failure despite having raised so much money since my Dad passed.  I would like to think not but I am tough on myself and I don’t want to be remembered for the guy that failed to achieve what he set out to do.  I think the toughest part right now is the extra time I have to think about my Dad and especially Isabella.

August 1st.  That is Isabella’s day in this household and it is quickly approaching.  She would have been 14 this year and while you might think 14 years should allow me enough time to move on, that is simply not the case.  I would say 14 years has allowed the time to be stronger 11 months out of the year but the month leading up to Isabella’s Day will likely be difficult until God takes me home.  I miss her.  I think about her all of the time and to continue to be cliché, the silence of her absence is deafening.

The funny thing is that cancer didn’t take Isabella but she is a big part of why I have accomplished all I have.  Her loss gave me the drive to do something meaningful.  I truly do believe Isabella is part of my ‘cancer’ story, though, because if she had not passed away they may not have discovered the cancer that was growing inside my wife.  I believe she saved her Mom and was there to greet my father in Heaven.

I don’t want to get off track too much but these thoughts have been a big part of my recent journey so it felt important to put words to them.  As for the fundraising, it is still slow.  We have just over three months to go until race day and we are at approximately $47,000.  It certainly is not bad but we have a long way to go and I will not feel good about this journey if we do not clear $100,000.  That has always been a key metric for me but it has even more meaning because at $100,000 a good friend of mine Javier Rivera, will get a research grant in the name of his mother.  She has non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and while medicine is keeping her alive, her medicine is not a cure.  Javier was on the first Team in Training marathon team I ever coached and has been a great friend ever since.  He is leading the Community Team for We Will Find a Cure which has a goal of raising $20,000 on their own.

If you want to help us reach our goal, the ways to do so are the same although we will announce a new way to participate soon:

  • click on any of the donation links at this site and join the fight
  • purchase one of our Road to Kona t-shirts. They really are one of my favorite shirts. Super comfortable and a great design. The link to our store is on the home page or click HERE.
  • register for our live or virtual 5K. Both events come with the Road to Kona t-shirt, a very cool medal which is set to arrive this week and a bib. The live event will be held on September 9th in Venice, CA and also comes with all you can drink mimosas and Bloody Mary’s. The registration link is also at our home page or you can click HERE.
  • Share my story. Just this week we received a $500 donation simply because a friend shared my story to a client of his.
  • By Tuesday this week we will start selling raffle tickets to win a 55” Samsung Curved 4K television. We are selling tickets for $20 each and will only be selling $100 tickets (i.e. you have a 1 in 100 chance of winning per ticket).
  • donate items we can use as raffle prizes. We will be holding some events that require giveaways and auction items. We could use help accumulating these items.

As for the training, like I mentioned above, this was a recovery week so I feel good.  The surgically repaired foot is also not feeling too bad although I refuse to say much about that because every time I mention progress…….pain shows up.  In fact, I will go the other direction and say my foot is horrible………the worst pain ever J .  The key workouts this week were a swim workout > 4,000 yards and a 42 mile ride/9 mile run brick workout.  The swim was my longest since my biking accident in 2013 and did a lot for my swimming confidence!!  The brick workout was fairly standard but any time I can get through them pain free is a good thing.

That is it for now.  Thanks for reading!

Christopher D Wilno