August 7th Update: Very Scared

For those that know me, you are aware I am an open book with my thoughts and feelings.  Along this journey born out of my losses, I have probably not held back one single thought or emotion and whether that is a good thing or bad thing………..it is me.  I don’t pretend I am strong when I am not.  I do not pretend I am happy when I am not. As it pertains to this update, fear would be the key word.  The journey to Kona has been full of ups and downs as expected.  Injuries, aches, pains, life……..they all have their part in this story.  In particular this last week really hit me over the head with the fact race day is only 2 months away.  It seems like just yesterday I was thinking I was ahead with my schedule and had so much time to prepare and now I am likely a month from tapering.  I went from very confident to scared out of my mind.  While my ankle has been fairly solid, there is always something and the latest is a potential cracked rib that is very much aggravated by the run.  Once aggravated, the swim is almost impossible which is very troubling because I am missing swim workouts which is more troubling because I am not great on the swim.  All this being said, I just keep pushing forward and doing what I can.  My other two stress points are being behind on the run and my deterioration in the heat.  I have had to tread lightly to work through my surgically repaired ankle and it has me behind where I would like to be from a distance perspective and from a run interval perspective. I have been running 1 minute and walking 1 minute.  It has gone okay but there is not a lot of room for error when your main workout is only a 1-1 split.  This coupled with some heat on Sunday really highlighted my concern.  I had a one hour workout on the bike trainer followed by a 12 mile run.  Everything was great until about mile 8 when my body faded unbelievably fast.  I was keeping a 9:38 per mile pace which is not overly impressive but certainly more tolerable when you remember I am only running half the time.  At about mile 8, I started to feel very under the weather.  I was dizzy and that one minute run seemed to last a lifetime.  By the very end, I was crawling for the run and ended at a 9:58 pace……….a big drop for only 4 miles.  The biggest concern is whether I would have been able to get through another 14 miles.  I believe the answer is yes but I am not sure and uncertainty is a breeding ground for stress  Would walking 100% of the time slow down my deterioration?  If 12 miles turned out to be so difficult, how do I go 26.2 miles?  There is not a ton of time left to figure all of this out.  This week I was thinking back to last year when I was talking with Christopher Trent, friend and the Team in Training representative for Kona in 2016.  I was talking with him about the race and he very confidently exclaimed that he would finish without question.  As I sit here typing, I do not feel confident making that same statement.  I can confidently say I will have to black out and be hauled away in an ambulance before I give up but I cannot say finishing is a certainty.

On a brighter note, I did ride 113 miles on Saturday and that went well.  I ran 3 miles off the bike and that also went fine.  I have been having some pain in my left foot that is tainting my transition off of the bike and plan to get in to see my doc this week to try and figure it out.  The good news is that while it is a 10 on a pain scale immediately off the bike, if I push through the pain it passes.  As I said above, it is always something!!

On another bright note.  I believe we have a good shot at raising $100,000.  That is the first hurdle I need to clear to ease some stress and while I am not there yet, I believe we have a good path. In order to hit our goal of $130,000, I will need a great turnout for our 5K (either virtually or live on September 9th) and some help from our Community Team.  Nobody is giving up over here and we will do all we can to reach and exceed our goal.  We also have Legendary Bingo at Hamburger Mary’s on August 20th at 8pm so please join us if you want to have some fun and help kick cancer in the face.  For more info on the race and bingo, you can click the links below.  Thanks for everything.  I am scared but still fighting.

5K: http://tinyurl.com/r2k5K (link is also on the home page)

Legendary Bingo: Click Here for Facebook Event

Christopher D. Wilno

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

Fundraising

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

Training

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

Update on the Road to Kona

It has been a while since I posted an update.  At a high level I can tell you my journey to Kona has been quite an emotional one.  As a coach I always speak about the journey being what you will remember on race day. The fear, obstacles and struggles are what make race day so meaningful. Well, every single characteristic that will make my race day so meaningful (should I successfully toe the start line) has made it’s way into my life.  Fear of failure regarding my fundraising goal.  Fear of being able to complete the race.  Pain……I am always in pain which greatly affects my training and my psyche.  I walk around like a hobbled old man versus an athlete that is going to cover 140.6 miles.

Soon after my last post which spoke about the joy of training without pain……..pain developed and it has been a frustrating few weeks.  Having dealt with the recovery from my posterior tibial tendon surgery, this pain that developed was different.  As an example, when I had issues tied to the tendon, a toe raise was very painful.  Hopping was very painful.  Getting out of the seat on the bike was very painful.  I have not had any of that but have been extremely sensitive to touch.  When I say touch, I literally mean the material from sweat pants brushing across the ankle while walking.  That alone produced a 7-8 on a pain scale of 1-10.  I kept hoping it was some nerve issue but an MRI showed some swelling in the bone.  This was also stressful because I have done so little running.  How could there be any stress on the bone when I only run on dirt and I run extremely conservative run-walk intervals to protect the injury.  I really do not have answers which is what is the most concerning.  None of this makes sense.

This pain started approximately a month ago after one of my long rides. I immediately made an appointment with my doctor and started wearing a walking boot hoping to take some pressure off the injury with Ironman Kona 70.3 looming.  In my head, this was the only way I had a chance to complete the 70.3 which is required if I am going to race in October (i.e. I have to finish a half or full during the year).  I did not do any running on land or even in the pool.  In training, I even had to swim 100% with a buoy because the water rushing past my foot while kicking was excruciating.  On top of this, a few weeks out from the 70.3, I was in another accident while on a training ride.  In 2013, it was a car.  This time it was a cyclist which decided to stop on a dime on a bike path…….not only stopping but turning his bike perpendicular to the path so that I t-boned him.  I was sore for 2 weeks but was mainly concerned about my bike.  Thankfully the frame was okay and I just had to replace some parts that were damaged.  I did that and added an Enve wheelset and the bike was ready to race.  On a positive note, the gentleman that caused the accident was apologetic and went on to buy 6 Road to Kona t-shirts.

While I seem to have ventured to the topic of obstacles, I might as well mention one more.  This one is self induced and simply a function of trying to be there for my kids.  My daughter made the All

Star softball team which means that every weekend is softball…….all day, every day.   While folks would understand if I missed some games, I just cannot bring myself to do so.  As such, my weekend long rides start at midnight in my garage on the bike trainer.  I ride 4-6 hours, shower and then head off to games with the little one.  I definitely complete the workouts but I am suffering on sleep and perhaps some intensity as the trainer can get boring and I cannot perfectly simulate hills.  This plus everything typed above is why I have not posted in a while.  It was a little more than I could absorb and I didn’t want to appear too negative about where I was at on this crazy journey.

I will now fast forward to Kona 70.3.  I wore a walking boot on the plane to Kona and all the way to race day and immediately following the race.  My wife and I landed on Wednesday before the Saturday race start.  I did not really do any training but I got in the water on Thursday for a very short swim to see if my foot felt any less pain while kicking and was happy to report it was a little better.  I literally only swam about 200 yards and called it a day.  Back to the walking boot until Friday when I figured out the race start was 4 miles up the road from the hotel (I somehow thought the swim start was on the hotel premises but was mistaken.  The finish line was right outside our balcony but the start line was not).  Friday was bike check-in which, of course, was at the swim start.  I chose to ride my bike to the check in just to make sure there were no mechanical issues from the transport out to Kona via Tri Bike Transport.  It was all good.  After checking it in, my wife and I went down to the swim start to get in the water.  It was so choppy!!!!!!!!!!!  We swam to the first buoy which was about 200-250 yards out and it took forever.  I definitely had to kick more to work through the chop and could feel the pain in the ankle with the increased effort but it was nonetheless better than before.  What was worse than before was my confidence regarding the swim.  I was not sure I would be able to survive 1.2 miles with that chop.  I would say my swim training is behind coupled with the fact I have swam a lot more with the buoy than I otherwise would like to.  It was so windy when we swam and that wind picked up as we progressed to evening.  I went to bed on Friday night with a giant prayer for calm and amazingly woke up to silence.  The wind had calmed!!!  We woke up early to catch the first shuttle to the race start and were happy to see some friendly faces on the shuttle with us.  I went into transition and pumped up my tires………twice because I get paranoid and then I just chilled out……..or at least tried to………until my wave which was set to go off just before 7am.

Side tracking a bit I would say another challenge for this race was accepting the fact I was out to finish and not push hard.  I had to accept walking the 13.1 miles versus going all out in the spirit of protecting October.  Don’t get me wrong, October is about finishing as well but I hope to be in a healthier place.  Being at a race with so many amazing athletes knowing I could not give it my all had me feeling a bit dejected.  I was feeling like I did not belong.

My swim start was approaching so I joined my age group athletes in red caps.  Knowing my swim would be horrible I went right to the back of the line.  There is no need to make anyone swim around me.  Four athletes were released to the water at a time.  My group finally made it to our turn and off we went.  I got in the water and did my best.  My plan was not to kick to protect the ankle and that was what I did for a very slow 50 minutes.  I thought I would come in at 45 but the lack of kicking coupled with poor sighting had me off even my projected slow swim time.  I will definitely work on sighting a lot more between now and October for many reasons.  First of all so that I swim straight.  Second of all to develop those muscles in my neck.  When I got on the bike the first thing I noticed was how uncomfortable the aero position was which I figured out was from how stiff my neck was due to the sighting.  The second thing I noticed………also stored for October……..is that I need to take the time to use body glide out of the water.  Anyway, off I went and other than aero being uncomfortable and sitting being uncomfortable, all was well.  This was the only part of the race I could push even the slightest.  A funny side note about the bike: fairly early into the ride I looked down and noticed my watch was clocking my speed at 29 and then I noticed I was already at what I thought was mile 10.  I was killing it when a little while later I looked closer to see my Garmin had somehow switched to kilometers.  I was NOT killing it!!  It was so windy I did not dare try to change my watch setting so the rest of the journey had me converting kilometers to miles.  I actually felt fairly strong on the bike.  I pushed on the flats and uphill as best as I could and took it easy on the downhill to rest my ankle.  People blew past me on the downhill like I was standing still but it was okay.  The closer we got to Hawi the more the winds picked.  They were crazy.  I was already uncomfortable in aero tied to my neck but the winds certainly pushed me to get out of aero. When a gust came I would literally swerve 2-3 feet so I moved to a death grip to avoid a crash.  I had already passed one ambulance on the way to Hawi and I did not want to be the second.  Once the winds were at their strongest, my pace definitely was impacted but I pushed forward knowing I was getting close to the turn.  Once I did turn, the ride was unbelievable as it was mainly downhill.  I still had the death grip going but I was able to ease up on my ankle.  In a healthier state, this would be where I would haul to the bike finish.  On the way down the hill I saw another ambulance.  Based on what I could tell, I really think two riders collided due to a wind gust but I am not 100% certain.  The path back was great except about 15 miles out while climbing a hill I went to get out of my seat and there was a lot of pain in my right foot and calf.  While some of it was the same injury there was a new intense pain on the outside of my lower leg that radiated into my foot.  As I sit to write this post 12 days later, the pain is getting better but certainly still present.  I believe this new development was tied to pushing hard on a calf that had been underutilized in the walking boot for the prior 3 weeks.  Either way, I did not feel pain when seated so in a genius move I stayed seated.  When I saw the cones marking the turn back into the resort I pushed a little bit feeling excited I had survived.  I pulled into the bike stop, dismounted, put my right foot down and almost fell to the ground.  That radiating pain I discussed above made it difficult to put any weight on the right foot.  I went from excited at a strong bike ride which left plenty of time to walk the half marathon to some concern over how I would walk 13.1 miles as slow as I was having to walk to T2.  I just figured I would sit down, put on my running shoes and hope to exit T2 pain free.

No such luck. I hobbled out of transition to see Crea standing at the exit.  Fifteen minutes earlier I had imagined seeing my wife with elation at my bike ride (don’t get me wrong, my bike was no record setting event but for a windy day on a hurt foot I was excited).  Now I was feeling a bit dejected.  I wanted to run so she could get a decent picture but I was struggling just to walk. I think I covered the first mile in 15-16 minutes.  It was horrible physically and mentally.  I was really struggling as athletes passed me by.  I wanted to explain my story.  I wanted them to know I was not giving up and succumbing to exhaustion.  I did not feel like I belonged in the race but I kept moving forward.  I tried to push through the pain and tried to exaggerate the push off my right foot on the walk to see if I could work out the pain by forcing movement.  Slowly I started to feel some relief.  I decided I would try a one minute run and I survived.  The run was more like a fast walk but it eased my concern of missing any cutoff.  I set my watch to a very short run walk interval and I managed to survive the first half of the run.  I had some friends on the course.  It was awesome to see friendly faces even though I was not competing at a standard I would like them to see.  They reminded me I was supposed to be walking because every time I seemed to pass someone, I was on that one minute run.  I let folks know it was only a short run but over time I came to realize I needed to protect October so I simply cut out the run interval.  I felt completely fine aerobically and moved my efforts to try and entertain those around me that were struggling.  Some were in good spirits and some were really having a tough time.  One of the things I love about this sport is the support for each other out on the course.  Everyone is out for their own time but you always want the best for those around you.  The rest of the run was uneventful except for 2 things.  At one spot on the course I came across hundreds of goats.  It was amazing to see.  There was a small lake on the golf course and apparently they came here to drink.  The second thing had to do with cramps.  Holy crap you would think walking would not be an issue but the cramps set in which will take me back to T2.  I had a HotShot in my transition bag but a volunteer had tied my gear bag in such a way that I could not get my bag open.  I, of course, had to get into the bag as my shoes were inside so I had to rip it open.  My frustration resulted in my failure to actually bring the HotShot with me to the run.  I was in such pain at the beginning of the run (walk in my case) that I did not dare go back.  This was a learning experience and one I will not get wrong in October.  That is really about it…….13.1 miles later I found the finish line.  I didn’t even make the effort to run across it tied to everything I have already talked about.  This finish line was to grant me access to October.  Despite not being able to compete at a level I would like, I got it done and the bonus was definitely learning some things that will be useful the next time I visit Kona.

  • Sighting: I definitely need to build sighting into my swim training.
  • Ocean swimming: I need to get with the OC Team in Training chapter and swim in rough waters. I am greatly impacted by the chop and need to get stronger.
  • Hydration on the bike: It is so windy on the bike I did not feel comfortable reaching behind my seat to grab my bottles. I exited the bike having only drank 2 of 3 bottles of my hydration.  Each bottle had 600mg of sodium so every bottle is important.  In October, I might change the bottle placement or I will just stop for 30 seconds to make sure I refill my XLab Torpedo on my aero bars
  • Hot Shots: I learned that sodium will not prevent cramping nor will one HotShot.  In talking with my coach, Gareth Thomas, my issue is nerve contractions and moving forward I will be taking in one HotShot every 90 minutes.  I will report back as to the results of this modification.
  • Running: I am going to revert back to ultra conservative run-walk intervals and a very slow mileage ramp. I have to work my way through mileage increases slowly to avoid any stress fractures.  I will also be icing after every run.
  • Lastly, I will spend a lot more time in the heat. Up until now my long rides start at the crack of dawn.  For a few weeks, including this weekend, my long rides are on a trainer in my garage.  As I mentioned, my daughter made All Stars for softball and while I have a good excuse, I just cannot miss such a big experience for her.  The second softball is over, however, I will swim early on the weekend and start the bike so that I am on the road for the hottest part of the day.

This post is much longer than I anticipated so I will cut off the training aspect of this post and switch over to fundraising.  As of typing this very second, if you include some employer matches that have yet to post, we are within $600 of $40,000.  It has been a little slower for the past few weeks but that is expected.  Every once in a while I open up my email and am surprised by another donation.  I appreciate every single one of them whether they are $5 or $1,000 or anywhere in between.  These past two weeks I have had some very special people in my life make very generous donations.  One of these folks is a survivor that had her health take a turn for the worse a few years ago. I went to what was a ‘going away’ or a ‘stay strong’ party as her outcome was not looking great.  Today she is doing well and with us so this donation was extra special.  The other donation was from someone that was at my daughter Isabella’s memorial.  He and his family have been so supportive over the years and have always backed my crazy adventures.  There are so many people like him that give time and time again.  It is very humbling to have people in your life like this.

Beyond these random donations that came in, I finally appeared in the local magazine where I live.  The title they gave the article was a little off calling it the Ironman Marathon but I am grateful nonetheless and had some donations come in as a result.  From here to race day, I believe the key to reaching my goal ties to the following:

  • t-shirt sales. They are $25 each and are really nice. I know everyone selling a shirt says their shirt is great but this one really is awesome.  The quality of the shirt is amazing and I, albeit biased, I love the design.
  • Road to Kona 5K: we are holding a 5K on September 9th in Venice, CA and we have a virtual option as well. If you want a shirt, this might be a great option with only a small financial upgrade. For just a little more you get an amazing medal in addition to the shirt and, if you are joining us for the live event you get all you can drink mimosa and Bloody Mary’s.
  • Community Team: a great friend Javier Rivera is helping to lead our Community Team. You can have your very own web page and raise money however you choose. Run a race. Have a lemonade stand.  Have a garage sale………..whatever works for you works for us.  There is no minimum and, if you raise $300, you get an entry to our virtual or live 5K.
  • Legendary Bingo on August 20th. This will be a great time and we are working on some great prizes. My birthday is the week before but we can use this day to celebrate my old age.
  • ManvBar: great friends and friends of Team in Training started this event years ago. It involves a lot of drinking and a lot of charity. We are finalizing the date but this will be a great event.

That is about it for now.  Thank you for your time and generosity!!

Christopher D Wilno

Week Ended May 14th: Big Obstacles

To those that have known me for most of this journey, you know I am an open book with my emotions. I am sure the jury is mixed on whether it is a good thing or not.  I believe being open has helped me to raise money and touch lives but I know some probably believe I should be a little more private.  To me there is never really a decision as to what I say or don’t say.  I have to remain true to me and that has always been to open my heart.  Right now as I close out this week, my heart is full of frustration and concern.  Two weeks ago I wrote about the joy of training with no pain.  On the very next day after that post, pain in my surgically repaired foot developed.  It does not appear to be tied to the tendon thus it is not tied to the surgery but it is in the same foot that has experienced pain more times than not over the last few years.  I started this week with a trip to my PT, Chad Beauchamp at Repair Sports Institute on Monday.  On Tuesday I had an early morning MRI and then a trip to Dr. Dan Geller.  The MRI confirmed the tendon is okay but there is some swelling in the tibia…….per doc the exact diagnosis is a subchondral bone marrow edema in the distal medial tibia. It is not a fracture but it does put a damper on running.  The strangest part of the injury is that I can jump around and could probably run without pain.  If a tissue grazes the ankle, however, extreme pain!!

This takes us to the weekend.  On Satruday I had a 6 hour ride scheduled.  I took off and was happy my pedal stroke did not create any pain.  Instead the pain came from vibration……rough road or bumps as examples.  This created a lot of pain which MAKES NO SENSE!!!!!!!!!  I just pushed forward and was happy to be getting in the ride.  I was at about mile 56 when I hit the Back Bay in Newport Beach.  I actually hate riding this area because there are runners that take up the bike path and generally folks that don’t respect the ‘Bikes Only’ signs that line the road.  I always enter very late on the path where I would guess there is at most a ½ mile before I exit to the road.  All was good.  I was calculating my path back to my car to refill my hydration when a guy in front of me decided he would turn around in the middle of the path without looking to see if anyone was behind him.  He had no helmet on and he was wearing ear buds.  Needless to say I could not stop in time.  While better than my 2013 crash into a car, this was not what I hoped for my day.  I hit the ground.  My left hip, tail bone and heel were sore right after the ride.  Today I would add shoulder pain and knee pain.  I will heal.  I need to know if my brand new bike is salvageable.  I cannot afford any down time.  Without running, I have to be strong on the bike and swim.  I will walk the marathon if I have to but I better be prepared to kill it on the bike.  Anyway, my brain has been reliving the last crash and the last time I had to throw my Specialized Shiv into the trash can.  That coupled with the pain from the injury on my right foot have me in a weakened frame of mind.

On a good note, I did manage to suck it up from the pain and complete my 6 hour ride yesterday.  My wife came and picked me up after the crash.  After I got home I hobbled to the bike trainer and rode for 2.5 more hours.  Today I was supposed to get in a 3 hour ride but I am too sore and afraid pushing through might lead to a different injury so I am taking it easy.  I will get checked out tomorrow and make sure all is well.  I will also get the bike checked out and pray for good news.  All in all, I got in 9 hours of riding this week and 6,000 yards of swimming.  This is far from where I want to be but I will get there.

All of this is what it is.  I, of all people, know that life will present challenges.  I know any journey is full of challenges and obstacles but I do sometimes wish God would stop finding me worthy of hard times. For now, I can only move forward and give 110% of the me that is healthy.  I must give even more as it pertains to fundraising which continued to be light this week which truthfully was expected although I still check the mail with anticipation hoping a donation has arrived.  Right now is about planning the next events that will generate funds……5K, t-shirts, Man v Bar, Community Team, garage sale, Drag Queen bingo, the next round of letters and a geriatric escort service……..whatever it takes J .

That is it for now.  Not to play on the bad events of the week but I really could use some support right now.  If you hate cancer…….join the Road to Kona by clicking the donation link above.

Week Ended May 7th: Setbacks and T-shirts

It was a tough week.  Almost as soon as I posted last week’s update talking about the joy of no pain…..pain showed up in my surgically repaired right foot.  This coupled with a scheduled colonoscopy had a significant impact on my training volume.  The worst part about pain for me in general is the uncertainty that accompanies it.  There is always pain in training.  It is expected.  Coming off an accident, though, and coming off surgery really makes you question whether this pain is ‘the’ the pain that will unravel your race.  Because of that, I must be very cautious.   I am forced to stop and reach out for medical advice before proceeding.  This particular pain is also frustrating because it truly makes no sense.  You might think I first felt it while running or riding but that is not the case.  I felt it putting on sweat pants.  The material of the pants brushed against my foot and that insignificant routine action created an 8 on a pain scale of 1-10.  Here is the frustrating part……..when I apply pressure in the same area, I cannot replicate it.  I honestly believe I could go run and not feel pain.  The usual activities that result from tendon issues are not creating pain…….toe raises for example.  My hope is this is some kind of nerve issue that will fade.  I went for a swim on Saturday though and even the water movement around the foot created pain.  I have an MRI scheduled for Tuesday and a visit with Dr. Dan Geller immediately to follow.  That is the routine I must follow.  I have Kona 70.3 in a month and, even though missing workouts is hugely stressful, it is what I must do.

As for what I actually accomplished this week………3 trainer rides for a total of about 5 hours and 2 hours of swimming.  Tuesday I had to skip a 12 mile run because of the foot and because of the dietary requirements of a Wednesday colonoscopy.  As skinny as I am, I eat about 7-8,000 calories per day.  The diet requirements of my procedure resulted in about 400-500 calories consumed on Tuesday and I didn’t feel it smart to attempt a long run on so few calories.  I had a long ride slated for today but the pain combined with some rain combined with the OC Marathon which closed down most roads I planned to ride had me pull the plug.  It is probably a smart move.

Regarding fundraising, it was a light week as expected.  I raised approximately $1,100.  If you count matches in process I am about $700 shy of $25,000.  Not too bad but certainly a lot of work to do.  On a positive note, we locked down our t-shirt and were able to get them ordered.  I really like them. The shirts are great quality and I love the design.  Our logo is the front of the shirt and my favorite Nelson Mandela quote is on the back.  We will have a men’s and women’s version as you can see below.  We are finalizing pricing and, more importantly, we are currently setting up registration for our 5K.  The tentative date for the live event is Saturday, September 9th but we will kick off the virtual event asap.

That is it for now.  Please join this journey by clicking the donate button at the top of the page. 

April 30th Weekly Update

Well this felt like a recovery week on all levels.  It certainly was for training which my body needed.  On the fundraising front, a late week push helped generate some funds but I had expected the week to be more about planning anyway and we made good progress there.

Fundraising

We generated approximately $1,800 this week.  Not much has been coming in the mail any more from my letters.  I will send a second round over the summer that will hopefully generate more funds.  We did good out of the gate but there was less participation than I had hoped.  I am super grateful for everyone though.  Many folks have given to me over the years and this venture might be the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Later in the week I sent emails to all of my prior teams and that generated most of the funds that were raised.  We had non-monetary wins/progress though.

Community Team

The biggest announcement ties to Community Teams.  This will allow anyone to create their own page for this journey and raise their own funds that roll up to the total for the Road to Kona.  As I keep saying, I want this journey to be for everyone touched by cancer and this will allow you to join the battle and fight back.  You do not have to do a race. You can send letters and emails (I can help), you can have a garage sale, you can sell lemonade………whatever you want to do to raise funds is fine by us.  There also is no minimum.  You can raise $10 or $10,000.  If you do want to incorporate a race it can be any distance you wish……….1 mile, 5K, 10K……..anything goes.  If you choose to go the race route and want me to build a schedule for you, I would be happy to.  I should pause here to mention a good friend of mine Javier Rivera is helping to lead the Community Team effort.  He has already created an individual page and has spoken to folks that might be interested in joining.  Javier and I met at Team in Training.  He was a participant for my team and went on to great things.  He has coached many seasons, he is currently on the Board of Directors for LLS, he is a fellow Ironman and he does all of this for his Mom who is a survivor.  Our goal is to get a research grant in her name!!!  Our goal is also for the Community Team to raise $30,000.

I will write a separate post on the Community Team and put it on our home page but I also want to point out that anyone who raises $300 will get a virtual or live entry to our Road to Kona 5K.  It comes with a t-shirt, medal and if you join us live, all you can drink Bloody Mary’s  or Mai Tai’s.  If you feel you are ready to do this, you can create your page now with zero obligation.  Just click the link below.  Once you get to the site, click on JOIN AS INDIVIDUAL on the left side of the page and follow the instructions.

http://events.lls.org/pages/ocie/wewillfindacure

Logo

We finalized our logo and I really like it.  I am a sucker for turtles.  A huge thank you goes out to Teresa Weiss-Paczkowski of Elena Trevino Design for all her efforts to produce this logo.  They have been there to support my efforts since I was in the 2014 Man of the Year campaign.  They designed the original logo and they volunteered their services to produce the Gala program which helped to generate more fundraising dollars.  Please check them out at:

Website: www.elenatevinodesign.com (website is being remodeled)
FB: Elena Trevino Design
Twitter: teresa paczkowski @tpacart
Instagram: teresa_elenatrevinodesign

Anyway, the logo is above.  This allows us to produce t-shirts.  We will have this design on the front and the quote that has driven much of my experience at Team in Training on the back:

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” Nelson Mandela

It really is a great shirt and we hope you will like it.  The logo and the t-shirt allow us to finalize the medal so that we can launch our virtual 5K and lock down our date for the live 5K in Venice, CA currently slated for Saturday, September 9th.

I believe that is it for fundraising.  There was certainly a lot of work and planning but not all of it is newsworthy.

Paloma Sol

This is my daughter’s site www.palomasol.com .  She makes unbelievable jewelry.  She is also a cancer survivor.  She has, without any intimidation by me, agreed to donate 25% of your purchases back to this mission.  Check out her amazing work and use the code ROAD2KONA for free shipping and to make sure she knows to set aside the 25%.  I will write a separate post about this as well.

Training

As I mentioned above, this was a recovery week.  I always ramp up 2 weeks and then recover the third week.  That means this week ramps up but my workouts will be challenged Tuesday and Wednesday because I am old.  By old I mean I am having a Colonoscopy on Wednesday.  Truth be told I am a little freaked out.  I have spent so much time fighting cancer that I always feel it is out to get me………like it is some living breathing entity that seeks revenge.

Anyway, I only trained 106 miles last week.  The toughest swim was a 3,000 yard swim.  It was my longest of this training season and felt good.  It was certainly a boost to the confidence.  On the weekend, I had a brick workout that had me ride 3 hours and run 1.5 hours.  I rode 50 miles and ran 9.62 miles.  The best part of the week is that I remained pain free.  It is unbelievable to train without any pain…….it has been so long

That is it for now.  I hope you will join via a donation or via the Community Team.

Christopher D. Wilno

Week Ended April 23rd: Strong Results

It was a strong week for training and fundraising although I really need to improve on reaching folks that do not know my story.  That is the only path to reaching $130,000 and to date all donations have come from individuals that personally know me and/or my wife.  I have said this before but on some days it feels like this journey could be easy if we could just get 100,000 people to donate $1 each.  The challenge is how to get this journey in the hands of 100,000 people.  I am an open book so feel free to share your ideas.

Training

I will let two Instagram posts do the talking but this was the best training week I have had since my biking accident in 2013.  If you made it to this post without reading my story, someone opened their door in 2013 while I was on the bike and it has been a huge setback.  This week things went differently for me though.  The overall stats are that I trained 195 miles consisting of 3 swims, 2 straight runs, 2 trainer rides, a 2 hour ride and one 5.5 hour ride followed by a 15 minute run off the bike.  I did all of this with zero pain which stresses me out to put in writing but to hell with superstition.  The most amazing workout was a 13.1 mile training run.  It was the first time since my accident that I ran without the fear of pain. I was able to let my mind escape and just enjoy the run through some amazing landscape.  I followed this up two days later with my first tempo run where I allowed myself to run at a sub 8 minute mile pace.  That is a big step mentally for me.  I have been utilizing extremely conservative run-walk intervals in the spirit of staying healthy.  I will continue to do so because finishing the race is far more important that pushing myself to an injury.  If my confidence continues to improve, I will allow myself to push from time to time.  My weekend was mainly about the bike.  Seven and a half hours of total riding split up into a 2 hour ride on Saturday and a 5.5 hour ride on Sunday.  I cleared the 90 mile mark on the long ride with 5,600 feet of climb.  It was good mentally to get in the distance.  I now enter a recovery week which is a good thing because I am most definitely sore as I type this Monday morning.

Fundraising

We had a good week raising approximately $4,800 towards our $130,000 goal.  On the surface it sounds like we are way ahead of things but most of these funds are from letters and emails I have sent out.  I have budgeted out various ideas and I have a path to $70-75,000 which means we still have a very large gap to close………or we need 60,000 people to each give $1.  We also did a lot of filming for the video to be featured at www.wewillfindacure.com .  It will take some time to edit but a huge thank you goes out to Paiwei Wei for taking time out of his busy schedule to shoot all the footage and help to produce the video itself.

I expect this might be a slower week on the fundraising front but we have a lot to accomplish.  We will launch our community teams, we will finalize our logo thus finalize our t-shirts and thus be very close to launching the virtual 5K and locking down a date for the live event in Venice, CA.  There is so much to do but nobody said ending cancer would be easy.

Thanks for
your time and for following this journey.  If anything here inspires you, please share our story.  If you would also consider a donation, we would be grateful.  This journey is about everyone touched by cancer.  Join us.

CHRISTOPHER D. WILNO

Week Ended 04/16/17: Community Teams

A lot happened on the #Road2Kona this week and I believe the most important is a development that allows ‘you’…..yes I mean you….. to join the journey and raise money on your own.  We will announce more details this week but this news ties to a Community Team.  Beyond my personal fundraising page, you will be allowed to create your own site and raise money however you choose.  You can choose to do a sporting event, send letters and emails, hold a car wash………..however you choose to spread the word and for whomever you choose to spread the word.  There is no minimum.  You can raise $25 or $2,500………whatever the total it will be considered a part of the We Will Find a Cure total that is generated for the Ironman World Championship.  Once we finalize our t-shirts, I will be sending a shirt to everyone that raises $250.

As far as fundraising goes, we had a good week. Someone stepped up with an offer to match up to $2,500 through today, April 16th.  We have raised $2,450 as of my typing this post so we are very close although I did see the $2,500 anonymous donation come through so I suppose they exercised some faith in us.  If you check out our fundraising page, we cleared $10,000 and technically there is another $5,500 of match that is on the way but I would rather count the matches once they hit.  A huge thank you to everyone that donated this week to help us achieve success.  I am truly grateful.  While this is a great start, we have a long way to go and I absolutely cannot do this on my own.  This journey needs support via financial donations, spreading the word, getting press, items/experiences we can auction off, etc.  Please visit Ways to Help to learn more.

Other things I would consider wins this week are:

  • a local magazine, Fountain Valley Living, returned my phone call and is considering my story for the June edition.
  • my daughters elementary school is going to include my story in their weekly email in a few weeks.
  • a friend of mine works at Compass, a technologically driven Real Estate Company. They offered some philanthropic help and my friend is going to push the virtual option for our 5K once we are up an running. The 5K, and especially the virtual option, has a chance to be one of our biggest fundraising ideas.
  • our new logo should be close to complete which will allow us to finalize the t-shirts and the 5K. Our live option will be held at the end of the summer but the virtual option can launch immediately.

On a training front, it is more of the same.  I still have another 40 minutes to put in on the trainer.  If you assume a 16.5 mph pace I will close the week at 186 miles.  My coach went a little heavy on the bike this week and scaled back the run which was probably genius to allow my ankle to feel better.  Same as the last few weeks, I have struggled with pain.  Frustration set in this week so I simply cut out my walk breaks starting with my Friday run.  I would not say it is a smart move but I honestly am not sure.  I am so far removed from surgery that the pain is a mystery.  I have taken it so easy that it would not make any sense this is still a tendon issue.  I have had many MRI’s on the surgical site and the tendon appears fine.  My theory is to run in a manner I was always accustomed to and pray that things will work itself out.  I believe I said this in a prior post but I have to put this race in God’s hands.  If I am meant to get to the start line, it will happen.  I just have to put in the miles and raise the money……..the money being by far the most important.

One last thing before I sign off.  I was able to meet the Orange County IronTeam Saturday night thanks to an invite from coach Monica Jan.  My family and I visited where they were camping out this weekend and I provided a Mission Moment.  It was nice to share my story with folks that had never heard it before.  As you would expect, it was a great group of people that are giving up their time to make a difference in this world.  To close out my talk I used a quote from Nelson Mandela which is really sticking with me on a daily basis these days.  It is included at my fundraising page:

“IT ALWAYS SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE UNTIL IT IS DONE”

This quote can apply to so many things in all of our lives.  How many things have you accomplished that you never thought possible?  Most of what I have done since my father’s diagnosis would have been on that list.  A cure for cancer might sound impossible but I believe we can get it done.  We can change the world………….I just need you to join me.

 

Week Ended 04/09/17: Fundraising and Training

One more week in the books.  It is freaking me out how fast it is going but such is life.  Time to kick things into high gear:

FUNDRAISING

Consistent with prior weeks, I made a lot more progress on planning and behind the scenes items and prepping for what I hope will be donations.  That being said, I am grateful to have raised another $1,200 this week.  I also have some commitments for donations as well but we will not count those until they appear.  I wanted to point out here that if you read anything and want to get involved or offer grand ideas, I am very open to that.  Like I have said and will say many times again, this journey is for everyone that wants to fight back against cancer.  Perhaps it is a financial donation. Perhaps it is sharing this journey with others.  Perhaps it is an idea we can put into action.  It all helps.  here are some specific things that transpired this week:

  • Mailed hundreds of letters to friends and family that I know in real life and some that I have only met virtually over the years by sharing my story.
  • Made progress with the website. There is a lot still to do but we are getting closer.  A huge thanks to Leah Beck and Craig Harrison for all of their time to date.
  • Received nine different shirt samples.  We just need the new logo and we will have shirts for sale and for the 5K we will hold (both live and virtual).  We also made progress on finalizing our medal.  We are upgrading the medal this year so it is going to be very nice. The same company that produces medals for Boston and for Ironman will be producing the 2017 Road2Kona medals.  Much thanks to Sam Felsenfeld of Operation Jack for the introductions to his vendors.
  •  A key member of We Will Find a Cure was in a position whereby she was getting rid of a lot of her furniture.  She offered that furniture to me so that we could find the best path to selling it.  My house is now bursting at the seems with furniture!!! All proceeds will go to this campaign.  A huge thanks to Lori and Jules Jomsky.
  • Team Hotshot offered to share my story at the blog at their website. I have been utilizing their product to deal with cramping and it has been amazing thus far. I will write a separate blog post about the product in a few weeks.  I have 2 long rides coming and I look forward to sharing the results.

I am sure there is more but that is about it for now on the fundraising.

TRAINING

This was a recovery week so not too much exciting to report except I survived the week with little to no pain in the ankle that has been causing me issues tied to a repaired torn posterior tibial tendon. It was good timing for a recovery week and I feel strong going into the next build phase. On Saturday, I did get some quality time with my coach, Coach Gareth Thomas of TRIO.  I had my second lab tests for the bike and it showed improvement with the level of lactose at every heart rate level.  I still have a lot of work to do but the good news is I have time.  I also spent an hour with him to evaluate my swim.  I am not very strong in the pool and he took a look.  Luckily my form is not too bad.  I just need to tweak a few things and get more time in the pool to build some strength.  We talked about having some swim heavy weeks in the near future.

That is it for this week.  As always, if any of this inspires you join WWFAC via donation or any other means, we welcome the help!!