Racers Against Childhood Cancer

More sunrises

I’ve always been partial to a beautiful sunrise. When traveling anywhere near a coast or a good vista, I’ll almost always get up at an absurd hour to drive or run to see it. Like…this one.

Gulfstream Park, Florida, 2011

Boy, there’s something to be said for the “real” camera. I need to pull that out more often. But anyone who knows me Facebook or Twitter knows that I *love* to run at sunrise whenever possible and share Instagram photos. Like…this one.

South side Milwaukee, somewhere near the infamous “Vomit Hill”

And this one.

South Shore Park, Milwaukee. Where all good sunrise runs start.

So, I was thinking recently about how to meet my fundraising goal for Racers Against Childhood Cancer this year, beyond the usual “incessant begging” strategy that has worked in the past, thanks to your generosity.

What could I do? Shave my head? Still not quite ready for that…

What event could I have? Working on some possibilities, but with all the training, don’t have much time for planning…

What could I give?

Inspired by Drawing Support on my friend Mickey Gomez’ blog, I found the “sunrise” connection.

This year, if you support RACC through my page, I will send you a special sunrise card. And if you donate $100 or more, I will send you a special framed version of the sunrise of your choice.

Together, we can help fund research so the 46 kids who will be told they have cancer today see more beautiful sunrises.

(Yes, sort of like the American Cancer Society “more birthdays” campaign. But way cooler ;) )

THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart, to those of you who have already shown your support this year. I promise to work my ass off to make you proud.

So much love.


Running for RACC Fund: Racers Against Childhood Cancer

When I started running last May, it was for a higher purpose: childhood cancer. This cause still calls to me and pushes me forward, which is why I recently joined the great team of people who run for Racers Against Childhood Cancer. This group was founded here in Milwaukee in 2007 by a couple, Cole Braun and his wife Jenny, who have been working together to raise money for childhood cancer research since 1984. {Bravo!} Cole knows from his extensive personal racing experience that many athletes are motivated by something *beyond themselves*, and has put that to work in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Racers Against Childhood Cancer logo

Supporting THREE childhood cancer causes.


One of the many things I love about RACC is that the funds raised go to support *three* wonderful pediatric cancer causes: Cure Search, MACC Fund, and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Cure Search for Children’s Cancer funds and supports research, and provides information and resources to those affected by this dreadful disease. MACC Fund is dedicated to funding research on childhood cancer and related blood disorders; its goal is to be cured out of existence. {Gooooooo MACC Fund!} And Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is known for state-of-the-art research.


Imagine, being a parent that has to tell your little son or daughter that he or she has cancer, if he or she is even old enough to talk. I can’t. I can’t even imagine. Yet, 46 kids will be given this news today.

My goal is to raise at *least* $1,000 – and my *dream* is to raise $2,620 – in the six weeks remaining before I run the Wisconsin Marathon for Team RACC on May 4…just under six weeks from now. Truly, ANY amount of help that you can give, $5, $20, $26 (dollar a mile, yo) or more, will be appreciated from the bottom of my heart, and will be used well by these tremendous causes. We got almost 20% of the way to my base goal the first day, which seriously made me verklempt – you guys are just amazing.


If you are able to help, please do so on my RACC fundraising page.


As for the running, I’m 275 training miles into this marathon program in the past 12 weeks, including an 18-miler this past Saturday. And I’ve got 168 training miles to go before the big 26.2. I’m feeling relatively good about it and as long as my tweaky right ankle holds out for another 6 weeks, I’ll be crossing that finish line with a big grin on my face, and a HUGE smile in my heart because of your support. Truly…I think of you, my amazing supporters, when I run. You keep me going, big time.

Love. Spaight

Marathon training: halfway! and my new team

Photo credit: Mike Baird

There’s a lot to be learned from marathon training, or any other endurance training. I think it makes you more optimistic. And more persistent. More of a believer, because you have to be, to get out day after day and get the miles in.

I’m nine weeks into training, and frankly I’m still feeling a bit…stunned. I ran 37 miles last week (WTF!?!) and while I felt great after my Saturday long run, the next day after yoga class my legs just…stopped. Laying around, eating and feeling my legs throb seemed like a good time to reflect on the first half of training, what I’m learning, what’s driving me, what anyone might take away.


When I jumped into this in January, I presumed I’d be doing it for a dual purpose: 1) to keep myself honest and disciplined through the winter and 2) to raise funds for a childhood cancer charity. Not necessarily in that order.

As it turns out, it has been great for keeping me honest; crappy winter weather and all, I haven’t missed a single run/workout in the past nine weeks. Many days, I’ve doubled up. I’ve run 187 miles since January 1 and dropped just over 10 pounds – through a combination of the running and nutritional obsessiveness – and yes, I’m damn proud of that. Yet as I’m about to cross the threshold this week between merely crazy-hard and completely batshit (15 miles? At ONCE? Say what?), that just doesn’t seem like enough of a REASON to start running 15, 16, 18, 20 miles at a time. It should, perhaps, but it doesn’t. There has to be more to it.


Last year at this time, I couldn’t run a mile without stopping. I sure as hell couldn’t run 5 or 10 or 13 miles. I’ve been “just getting by” for a long, LONG time. There’s a line in the P!nk song “Try” that gets me every time – “When you’re out there doin’ what you’re doin’, tell me, are you just getting by?”

My answer, now? NO. HELL NO. I am NOT just getting by. I am PUSHING. More. Better. Faster. Stronger. Every. Single. Day.

It stupefies me, to be thinking “Sweet, I *only* need to run 10 miles today?” This is SO ridiculously far outside anything I’ve ever pushed myself to do before, that it is absolutely SHATTERING long-held negative perceptions of myself. Not only is it making me more optimistic, it is, in fact, making me BELIEVE THAT I CAN. Maybe – just MAYBE – even that I’m GOOD ENOUGH. *Maybe.*

Life is short, friends. And pushing yourself, in whatever way you wish, feels a hell of a lot better than just getting by. Whether you are an athlete or not, I would say to you: are you just getting by? Think about it. How might you stretch yourself a bit more?


I’ll spare you the details of how frustrating it has been the past couple of months, trying to find a childhood cancer cause, or a child, to represent this year. Tenuous relationships, state law, the IRS, politics and PR…all got in the way. Three strikes later, I really thought about giving up, and *just* running for me. But it still felt…hollow. Then, I remembered the perfect answer.

I could not be happier and more proud to share that this year I will be running for Racers Against Childhood Cancer.

Founded in 2007 right here in the Milwaukee area, RACC is a team of runners, riders and triathletes that uses their passion and competitive spirit to raise awareness and money for research and the fight to defeat childhood cancer. The funds raised go to THREE wonderful causes: Cure Search, MACC Fund, and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

46 children are told that they have cancer every day. And children’s cancer kills more kids than all other diseases combined. I hope you will join me in this fight; I will share my fundraising page in the days to come.

Not hollow any more.

These next 250+ training miles, and the 26.2, 60 days from now, are for the kids.

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