Monday, December 31, 2012

Danada County Trails, Herrick Lake

Last run of the year! Finished with 1,589.9 miles for the year! I thought that was great until I looked at 1701.7 miles for 2011. But I did a lot more races in 2012 and had a great time!

2012 was a Great year, 12 Half Marathons(5 PRs), Chicago Marathon(PR), 4 5Ks(one mud run) and a 10K. For the Halfs we travels across the country from Boston, MA to Juneau, AL, to Cocoa, FL to Apache Junction, AZ and eight other states in between, and we raised over $3200 for a great cause! Details and pictures on my Run 12 Half Marathons in 2012  can be found on my blog at : http://run4nf.blogspot.com/p/2012run12.html

Happy New Year!






RUN4NF

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Running Excels 6mi Loop x2

Nice morning run with the Running Excels group. Comfortable 30s and  snow flurries. Tough run after back to back days of 10+ miles plus staying up late and enjoying some beverages.

RUN4NF


Friday, December 28, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Danada County Trails, Herrick Lake

Payment for all of the holiday indulgences were due and were paid for with a lunch time run on the trails on cool 33° windy trail run, followed by a walk up 8 flights of stairs to my cubicle! Tough run, maybe next time I will think twice before that 2nd, 3rd, or 8th cookie....

RUN4NF


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Running 4 Kicks, Palos Heights Loop. Invigorating 17degrees 11mi hilly run this morning! Nice way to start out the long holiday weekend.

RUN4NF

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Danada County Trails, Herrick Lake

Lunch time run in the miserable rain and wind. The first half was fine, just misty, of course at the half way point it starts to rain, yuk!

RUN4NF

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Country Lane Yellow Trail

Took the day off work, ran the Yellow Trail this morning, guess I shouldn't have had those two drinks last night, very sluggish this morning, but at least a finished the loop and without stopping.

RUN4NF

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Running 4 Kicks, Palos Heights Loop

John, Andy and I joined the Running 4 Kicks group for a morning run in the drizzle and 42 ° temps, nice hilly course in Palos Heights. Nice week for mileage 37.3 miles!

RUN4NF

Friday, December 14, 2012

Danada County Trails, Herrick Lake

Tough run on the trails today, I was tired and just didn't feel like running, first 3 were tough, kept thinking about turning around and heading back, once I made it to 5mi I felt better and knew that I would be able to finish.

RUN4NF

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Oak Lawn Pavilion Indoor Track

No time for outdoor running so I had to hit the indoor track. It is tough mentally running on a 1/8 mile track, but better than running on a tread mill or no running at all.

RUN4NF

Monday, December 10, 2012

Danada County Trails, Herrick Lake

Refreshing lunch time run, 30 degrees with some snow flurries. Still better than 90 degrees and humidity!

RUN4NF

Friday, December 7, 2012

Country Lane Yellow Trail

Ended up taking the day off to catch up on some chores, so I got up early and when for a run on the Yellow Trail.

RUN4NF

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Danada County Trails, Herrick Lake

Lunch time run on the Danada trails. Nice sunny afternoon run, temps in the 50s!

RUN4NF

Rock Canyon Half Marathon

Beautiful half marathon with the Arkansas river on one side and hills/mountains on the other side with a tough hill at the 12.5 mile mark. No PR but still a fun race on a nice course in 60 degree temps! Finished 153/628 overall and 15/39 in my age group.

RUN4NF

Oak Lawn Elevation is 600ft versus 4700ft in Pueblo Colorado!

Pueblo Colorado

Pre-race run prior to the Rock Canyon Half marathon on Saturday to try to adjust to the elevation difference. Nice run on a cool morning.

RUN4NF

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oak Lawn Neighborhood Loop x3

Nice run around the neighborhood. I wasn't able to do my lunch time run and had to settle for a run around the hood, the last 2 loops were in the dark. I do not like running on the streets at night, too many potential issues with cars and footing. This will be my only long run week this week before the Rock Canyon Half Marathon in Pueblo Colorado on Sat. I am thinking about doing two shorter runs on Thursday and Friday to help get adjusted to the altitude difference of 4120ft between Pueblo and Oak Lawn.

RUN4NF

Space Coast Half Marathon, Cocoa, FL

Perfect conditions for a half marathon! A new PR, 1:40:05, pace 7:39). I finished 106/1995 overall,  86/776 in my sex and 13/108 in my age group. Nice flat course, temps in the 50s. Of my 11 halfs so far this year, this was my 5th PR so at least I am improving.

RUN4NF

Cocoa Beach, Florida

6:30AM, 54 degrees, beautiful morning run along the beach, nice and easy run in prep for tomorrow's half. First time I ran more than a mile on the actual beach, great experience! We got out of town in time to beat the 27degree temps in Chicago!

RUN4NF

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Half Marathon 11 - Space Coast Half Marathon

This month, I am headed to Cocoa Beach, Florida for my eleventh half marathon this year.  Like many runners, I have a dream of running in every state, but what makes my story different is that I am running to raise awareness for Neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that affects more than 2 million people.

I have been running almost as long as I have been teaching 7th grade religion class at our parish in Oak Lawn, Illinois.  Last year, I became aware of Neurofibromatosis, when I learned that a former student of mine named John is struggling with Neurofibromatosis.  I never realized that he had Neurofibromatosis, in fact; I didn’t even know what Neurofibromatosis was.

Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a progressive genetic disorder of the nervous system.  It causes tumors to grow on nerve tissue anywhere in the body and at any time, which often times result in terrible disfigurement, deformity, deafness, blindness, brain tumors, cancer and death.  Some tumors may be surgically removed, but they can grow back.  Neurofibromatosis is the most common neurological genetic disorder caused by a single gene.  Severity of Neurofibromatosis varies greatly.  In families where more than one person has NF, the physical signs and complications will vary for each person. Neurofibromatosis can affect people of all races and genders equally and symptoms vary from person to person.  Neurofibromatosis can occur in ANY family.
My thoughts of running a marathon seemed like a dream not a reality, until 2010.  I always ran alone, thinking about myself and my goals, then I met a group of runners and began running with them.  On the average, I was 10 years older than most of them but they gave me the encouragement that I needed to run my first half marathon.   When I crossed the half marathon finish line I knew at that point I could do it.  I could run a marathon, so I signed up for my first marathon, the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  Suddenly I saw the confirmation that my registration was complete and I knew my life wasn’t going to be the same. I dedicated eighteen weeks to training for the marathon and my wife was always cheering me on.  She believed in me, supported me and made sure that I always had everything I needed. 

The morning of the 2011 Chicago Marathon all I could feel was runner’s adrenaline; that feeling of excitement and anxiousness for the race to start.  I felt good and I started strong.  My pace remained around 9 minute miles, until I hit mile twenty-two and I started struggling.  My pace slowed to about 10 minute miles and I just kept thinking, finish, make it to the finish line and when I did I remembered the training, the commitment, and the support.  I didn’t expect the struggle.  I felt for a brief moment last year after running the Chicago Marathon that this was my last and I wasn’t going to run another marathon but somehow like thousands of other marathon runners that all changed.  In retrospect, that last hour of struggling to finish the Chicago Marathon is pale in comparison to those who are struggling with Neurofibromatosis on a daily basis.  Then I started thinking about the families of those affected with Neurofibromatosis, and as the father of two healthy children who are now adults, it makes me realize the incredible strength these families have.
Every morning, I wake up thinking how fortunate I am to be able to run.  What would I do if I couldn’t run anymore?  I think about those who can’t run.  I made the decision to run the Chicago Marathon again, but this time, I wanted to do if for different reasons I wanted to do it for those that would never experience the thrill of crossing that finish line feeling that great sense of achievement.  I have found there is much more to running than just miles.  I am just one man who loves to run and I could make a difference and that difference is to help those that are less fortunate.

When I was looking at the hundreds of charities to choose from, I received an email from NF Midwest.  The subject was “A Unique Opportunity.”   And there it was, it said “RUN FOR A CAUSE and choose NF Midwest as your charity of choice.”  Neurofibromatosis does not have a big name spokesperson or a big budget.  I could raise money for NF, and I could raise awareness.  My biggest goal is to raise awareness for Neurofibromatosis which in turn, would open new doors and make it easier for those that come after me to raise money for NF.  It seems that people are more willing to donate or even listen to your story when it is for something they have heard of.  In fact, there are about 2 ½ million survivors of breast cancer and over 2 million people who have NF, it’s that common.  My goal is to raise awareness of Neurofibromatosis to those around me is my opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those that struggle with Neurofibromatosis.  So step by step, mile by mile I am running to raise awareness of Neurofibromatosis.

A year ago I never even heard of Neurofibromatosis, since that time I have learned a great deal about NF as well as about John’s struggles with this genetic disorder. Since deciding to help raise awareness for NF I learned of two more people I know that struggle with NF and then I met another person at a Health expo.   So when you hear about Neurofibromatosis chances are someone you know has NF and if you are like me, you didn’t even know it.

On Sunday, November 25, 2012, I am running the Space Coast Half Marathon as my eleventh half marathon this year.  I am running 12 half marathons in 12 states in 2012 to honor John and to continue to raise awareness for Neurofibromatosis.  I have run in Texas, Arizona, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Alaska, Washington, Massachusetts, and Ohio. The 157.2 miles I have run have been for a reason to raise awareness for Neurofibromatosis.  So far I have raised over $2,800 for NF Midwest.  In the past year, I have gotten to know John and his family a lot better and in an interview earlier this year, John said “I didn’t know that anyone cared about me.”  Well now he knows.  So to John, and the 2 million others with Neurofibromatosis, I am running the 2012 Space Coast Half Marathon for you!

Country Lane Yellow Trail

Tough run on the Yellow Trail on a beautiful sunny afternoon! I started out too fast, the first 2 miles were just under 8, and payed the price on the backend. Last run until the Space Coast Half Marathon in Cocoa Florida this weekend, number 11 of 12 halfs in 2012!

RUN4NF


Monday, November 19, 2012

Danada County Trails, Herrick Lake

A Beautiful day for an afternoon run! Lots of people on the trails today enjoying the great weather. I am just about 100% now, but still a tough run.

RUN4NF

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Orland Hills 5K Turkey Trot

Beautiful day for a Turkey Trot! Angelica, Andy John and I running our annual Orland Hills Turkey Trot. Not my best time, but it was a great day for a run. I prefer longer distances, 5Ks are a such a struggle to maintain the faster pace.

RUN4NF

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oak Lawn Pavilion Indoor Track

Haven't run or worked out since Saturday, I have had a cold/sore throat. I did my normal workout with weights at lunch and decided to run on the indoor track after work. I don't like running on the indoor track, but it is better than the treadmill, and is better than running in the elements when I am recovering from being sick.

RUN4NF

Saturday, November 10, 2012

RE 6mi Loop x 2

Nice Saturday morning run with the Running Excels(RE) group. We were on pace(around 8:00) for the first 6mile loop but they picked up the pace on the second loop, kicking my butt, I fell back and it was a struggle just to finish. Bottom line, a nice run and a good workout!

RUN4NF



Thursday, November 8, 2012

Danada County Trails, Herrick Lake

Work lunch time run on the Danada Trails. I felt sluggish and tired for the first 4 miles and was thinking that I might not even be able to go the distance. Had my normal GU at mile 4 and continued on, after mile 6 I felt much better and made an effort to pick up the pace and ended up finishing strong.

Split    Dist    Pace
1     1.00     8:23
2     1.00     8:35
3     1.00     8:38
4     1.00     8:45
5     1.00     8:45
6     1.00     8:40
7     1.00     8:11
8     1.00     7:59
9     1.00     7:56
10    1.00     8:04
11    0.38     7:51


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Danada County Trails, Herrick Lake

Late afternoon run after work on the Danada trails. Tough 40 degree run in a light drizzle.

RUN4NF

Monday, November 5, 2012

Oak Lawn Neighborhood

Nice short run around the neighborhood. I decided to bump up my weekly mileage(by 10%) so I added another day of running this week. My goal is to maintain an average of about 35miles per week through the winter.

RUN4NF

Saturday, November 3, 2012

RE 6mi Loop x 2

Nice cool crisp morning run with the RE group. The numbers are off because I paused my Garmin and forgot to re-start for 2 miles, not that it matters, its about the mileage and the company of those that you run with!


RUN4NF

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Country Lane Yellow Trail

Great sunny autumn morning run on my favorite Yellow trail! A very challenging trail run, 6 miles of rolling limestone trails and 5 miles of narrow winding wooded trails. You concentrate so much on the trail that you aren't aware how tired or sore you are. I haven't run this trail since July, so it was great to be back.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween Half Marathon, Clayton Ohio









Nice half marathon in Clayton Ohio. Finished 16th overall(out of 113) 1st in my age group(50-54) and first for over 50 which they call Grand Master(which just sounds old). Not at PR, but I am happy with the time!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Running the Halloween Half Marathon Neurofibromatosis

Entering Ohio on a rainy afternoon.
You might look at me and think I am just another runner who wants to run in every state and maybe in many ways I am.  Like most runners I work towards setting a new personal record.  But there is more to my story and why I am running the Halloween Half Marathon.  Mine is a story about a young man named John who has Neurofibromatosis (NF) and my running.  I have been running almost as long as I have been teaching 7th grade religion class at our parish in Oak Lawn, Illinois.  Last year, I became aware of Neurofibromatosis, when I learned that a former student of mine named John is struggling with the genetic disorder that affects more than 2 million people.  I never realized that he had Neurofibromatosis, in fact; I didn’t even know what Neurofibromatosis was.

Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a progressive genetic disorder of the nervous system.  It causes tumors to grow on nerve tissue anywhere in the body and at any time, which often times result in terrible disfigurement, deformity, deafness, blindness, brain tumors, cancer and death.  Some tumors may be surgically removed, but they can grow back.  Neurofibromatosis is the most common neurological genetic disorder caused by a single gene.  Severity of Neurofibromatosis varies greatly.  In families where more than one person has NF, the physical signs and complications will vary for each person. Neurofibromatosis can affect people of all races and genders equally and symptoms vary from person to person.  Neurofibromatosis can occur in ANY family.

I always ran alone, thinking about myself and my goals, then I met a group of runners and began running with them.  On the average, I was 10 years older than most of them but they gave me the encouragement that I needed to run my first half marathon.   When I crossed the half marathon finish line I knew at that point I could do it.  I could run a half marathon and even better, I had the confidence to run a full marathon.  So in 2011 I ran my first Chicago Marathon.  I dedicated eighteen weeks to training for the marathon and my wife was always cheering me on.  She believed in me, supported me and made sure that I always had everything I needed.

The morning of the 2011 Chicago Marathon all I could feel was runner’s adrenaline; that feeling of excitement and anxiousness for the race to start.  I felt good and I started strong.  My pace remained around 9 minute miles, until I hit mile twenty-two and I started struggling.  My pace slowed to about 10 minute miles and I just kept thinking, finish, make it to the finish line and when I did I remembered the training, the commitment, and the support and I didn’t expect the struggle.  I felt for a brief moment last year after running the Chicago Marathon that this was my last and I wasn’t going to run another marathon but somehow like thousands of other marathon runners that all changed.  In retrospect, that last hour of struggling to finish the Chicago Marathon is pale in comparison to those who are struggling with Neurofibromatosis on a daily basis.

Every morning, I wake up thinking how fortunate I am to be able to run.  What would I do if I couldn’t run anymore?  I think about those who can’t run.  I decided I would do it again.  I would run the Chicago Marathon but this time, I wanted to do if for different reasons I wanted to do it for those that would never experience the thrill of crossing that finish line feeling that great sense of achievement.  I have found there is much more to running than just miles.  I am just one man who loves to run and I could make a difference and that difference is to help those that are less fortunate.

I’ve decided to dedicate my running to raising awareness for Neurofibromatosis.  Neurofibromatosis does not have a big name spokesperson or a big budget.  I could raise money for NF, and I could raise awareness, which in turn, would open new doors and make it easier for those that come after me to raise money for NF.  It seems that people are more willing to donate or even listen to your story when it is for something they have heard of.  In fact, there are about 2 ½ million survivors of breast cancer and over 2 million people who have NF, it’s that common.  It’s my opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those that struggle with Neurofibromatosis.  So step by step, mile by mile I am running to raise awareness of Neurofibromatosis.

A year ago I never even heard of Neurofibromatosis, since that time I have learned a great deal about NF as well as how John’s struggles with this genetic disorder. Since deciding to help raise awareness for NF I learned of two more people I know that struggle with NF and then I met another person at a Health expo.   So when you hear about Neurofibromatosis chances are someone you know has NF and if you are like me, you didn’t even know it.

Packet Pickup with Sheri
I am running 12 half marathons, in 12 states in 2012, and the Halloween Half Marathon will be my 10th half marathon this year.   I am running to honor John and to continue to raise awareness for Neurofibromatosis. From Alaska to Boston, and Arizona to Florida I am running for a reason, I am running for NF.  In the past year, I have gotten to know John and his family a lot better and in a recent interview, John said “I didn’t know that anyone cared about me.”  Well now he knows.  So to John, and the 2 million others with Neurofibromatosis, I am the Halloween Half Marathon for you!
Pasta Dinner at Tony's at Englewood, OH

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Danada County Trails, Herrick Lake

Lunch time run on the Danada Country Trails. Very tough run, the longest run since the Chicago Marathon. It has been over 7 months since I have done the lunch time runs on the trails. Nice break from work! Last long run before my next half marathon in Clayton Ohio on Saturday, number 10 of 12 for 2012.

RUN4MF

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Country Lane Trail

Angelica, Maria, Carm, Joanna and I at Country Lane. A beautiful morning for a leisurely run on the trails.

RUN4NF

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Oak Lawn Neighborhood

I tried to get a run in before the rain, ended up getting rained on for the middle 3 miles. Running 5 still seems like a struggle, I guess I have not fully recovered from the marathon.

RUN4NF

Monday, October 15, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

Oak Lawn Neighborhood

Solo run around the neighborhood. Somewhat of a tough run, my legs are still fatigued. I going to take two days off and hit the trails on Monday.

RUN4NF

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Oak Lawn Neighborhood

Solo recovery run around the neighborhood. I thought my legs forgave me after the marathon. They only said "Really? Seriously?"


Monday, October 8, 2012

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Perfect weather for the marathon. Came out too fast, first two miles were just under 8 and last two miles were in the 9's, but beat my best time by 16 minutes!


Saturday, October 6, 2012

EVERY DONATION NO MATTER HOW BIG OR HOW SMALL WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE


On Sunday, October 7, 2012, I will join 45,000 runners in the Chicago Marathon.  I am dedicating my run to support, educate and find hope for Neurofibromatosis. I am hoping you will join me in making a difference in the lives of those who struggle with Neurofibromatosis (NF) through a contribution to NF Midwest.  Neurofibromatosis does not have a big name spokesperson or a big budget.  In fact, there are about 2.5 million survivors of breast cancer and over 2 million people who have NF.

I became aware of Neurofibromatosis, when I learned that a former student in my 7th grade religion class, named John is struggling with the genetic disorder.  I never realized he had Neurofibromatosis, in fact; I didn’t even know what Neurofibromatosis was.

John is 22 years old and has had Neurofibromatosis (NF) since birth.  He was expected to be blind and deaf by the age of 18.  His sight and hearing aren’t the best, but he still has function of both.  NF also causes learning disabilities, but that did not stop John from completing high school and completing HVAC training, over a 9 month span.  John has numerous cafĂ© au lait (birthmark looking spots) all over his body, along with multiple tumors that affect his daily life and functionality.  He is currently seeing a doctor for a tumor on his spine, which causes him immense pain on a daily basis.

Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a progressive genetic disorder of the nervous system.  It causes tumors to grow on nerve tissue anywhere in the body and at any time.  It often results in terrible disfigurement, deformity, deafness, blindness, brain tumors, cancer and death.  Some tumors may be surgically removed, but they can grow back.  Neurofibromatosis can affect people of all races and genders equally and symptoms vary from person to person.  Neurofibromatosis can occur in ANY family.

Last year, before the marathon, I could feel the runner’s adrenaline; that feeling of excitement and anxiousness for the race to start.  I felt good and started strong.  When I hit mile twenty-two I started struggling.  My pace slowed and I just kept thinking, finish, make it to the finish. In retrospect, that last hour of struggling is pale in comparison to those who are struggling with Neurofibromatosis on a daily basis.  Shortly after making the decision to Run4NF, the Oak Lawn Patch did a story on John and me.  In the interview John said “I didn’t know that anyone cared about me.”  So please join me in letting John and the other 2 million people who struggle everyday with Neurofibromatosis that we care.  Together, we have the opportunity to make a difference in their lives.

Click on the links to the right for more information and the link to support NF.  If you prefer to send a check,  mail to: (Please put M. Blaha in the memo section of the check)
    NF Midwest
    473 Dunham Road, Suite 3
    St. Charles, IL 60174

With your help, the money I raise will create awareness, improve treatments and promote research to find a cure for Neurofibromatosis.   Thank you for your support!

With heartfelt thanks,
Michael & Annamarie Blaha

Oak Lawn Neighborhood

Andy and I on our last run before the marathon. Good test for clothing, 7:00AM, 34 degrees, long sleeve Nike compression shirt, long sleeve Brooks dry fit shirt, singlet, gloves, shorts and throw away hat. I am ready!!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Oak Lawn Neighborhood

Solo 4 mile run around the neighborhood. Getting anxious, only 4 more days until the marathon!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Oak Lawn Neighborhood

Solo run around the neighborhood. Gotta love the fall weather for running, sunny and cool! One week for the Chicago Marathon. Extended forecasts from three different weather sites are calling for 50's and partly cloudy,  perfect conditions! The anxiety is building!

RUN4NF

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Swallow Cliffs 8 mile

Final long run before the Chicago Marathon with the group. Beautiful morning run on the trails!

RUN4NF