Tag Archives: Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Marine Corp Marathon Bibs Available

There are still a few race bibs left for the 2017 Marine Corp Marathon (MCM) through the Do Away With SMA charity. Additionally, anyone registering with the DAWS charity for the marathon will get a custom training plan developed by Mr. Running Down a Dream himself…The Bad Man…me.

Register for the 2017 MCM with DAWS today!

May the 4th Be with You!

This past week the DAWS charity debuted their 2nd annual May the 4th be with You virtual race. The medal this year is the Yavin medal showcased at the end of Star Wars episode IV and it looks pretty cool! Here is a picture of the mock-up.

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We worked to get my blog readers a discount for the virtual race. All you need to do is register for the race on Active.com and when you get to the final “Review Cart & Check Out“ screen you can enter the coupon code in all capital letters. The coupon code is NERFHERDER. Feel free to copy and paste it so you get the spelling correct!

The virtual race needs to be completed in the month of May and you can run, walk, roll, or swim a distance of your choosing whether it’s a single mile or 26.2 miles! The DAWS group would love for you to post a picture of yourself at the end of your virtual race on the DAWS Facebook page!

The funds raised will help find a cure for and raise awareness of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. If you are unfamiliar with this genetic disease then all you need to know is that it is the #1 genetic killer of children under 2 years of age and that there is currently no cure or even a treatment. It is a terminal and degenerative disease that causes weakness and wasting of the voluntary muscles in infants and children. 1 in 6000 children are born with SMA.

Here’s what you get!

  1. A little motivation to run, walk, roll, or swim a distance of your choosing between May 1 – 30th, 2015.
  2. A cool medal!
  3. The satisfaction of knowing that you helped find a cure or treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).

Now get out there and register you scruffy looking NERFHERDER!! Okay…maybe not “scruffy looking.”

Happy Training!

It’s all for charity…

Last week someone (Matthew Thomas) over at Team DAWS, the charity dedicated to ridding the planet of the horrible genetic disease known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy or SMA for short, came up with the crazy idea of challenging myself and a friend of mine (Mitch Brannen) to a little fundraiser for DAWS to raise some cash for a good cause.

The Challenge:

This is a very simple event.

Assuming a certain threshold of fundraising is met Mitch and I will dress up and run as Anna and Elsa (From Frozen…but you knew that) during the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend if people donated money.

After the fundraising goals are met, we will be dressed in full costumes that are being designed including a matching tutu or skirt. But who could forget complimenting makeup and a full wig to ensure authenticity…jeesh.

Donate money today and see us run around Walt Disney World in full regalia.  You never know what surprises may be in store.

What are the minimum donations for the two of us to run?

  • At the $500 total donation level, we will run the 5K in full costume.
  • At the $700 total donation level, we will run the 10K in full costume.
  • At the $1000 total donation level, we will run the Half Marathon in full costume.

When does the race take place?

  • Walt Disney World Marathon weekend is January 8-11, 2015

How do you know we ran in costume?”

  • Pictures will be taken along the way and posts on all of our social media including a Go-Pro video of the race!

Do you get a tax receipt?

  • Yes, 100% of your donation will be tax deductible and a receipt will come from DAWS.  

Upping the Ante: …but wait, there’s more…

If we raise $2000 in total donations, I have reluctantly agreed to shave my legs for the event…how do I get myself into these things? I keep remembering it’s all for a good cause.

Wait, it gets better!  Again at the same $2000 total donation level, Mitch will shave his head! No joke, we have video of him saying he would and you can see it here on my Facebook page!

Something for YOU the donor!

For every $25 you donate, you will be entered into a drawing for a free pair of new running shoes.  Donations must be made by November 30, 2014.  The drawing will be held on December 1, 2014.  Emails will be sent out to receive information on Brand, Style, Size, and Shipping Address.  Brooks, Asics, Nike, Saucony, and New Balance are all available.

I didn’t realize training for Dopey would make me so…well, you know.  Uh, happy to help out a good cause!

Happy Training!


2014 and Beyond…a Look Forward

2014 is a big year!  Lots of goals and most of these relatively short term goals are to prepare me for 2015 and the charity run we have planned that will take the DAWS Spinal Muscular Atrophy Running Team (S.M.A.R.T.) 500 miles from The Walt Disney Family Museum to the gates of Disneyland after which we will run the Dumbo Double Dare to top off the mission to raise awareness and funding for research on Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic disease that is the #1 killer of children under the age of two years.

So how does one prepare to run 19 back-to-back marathons to equal 500 miles then think it’ll be a walk to run another 19.3 miles around Disneyland? The answer: Lots of planning!

Screenshot 2014-02-15 13.22.55

I need to bring my physical self to a whole new level and I plan to do that by training for three BIG events in 2014 with several smaller events sprinkled in for continued motivation and fun. You can checkout my full race schedule here! Let me know if you’ll be at any of the races and we can meet-up for a pre-race  photo while we still look good!

Event #1: The Hendrick’s County Park-2-Park Relay

This run spans 45 miles. I will run it solo (I’ll have a support crew) on June 14, 2014. The event is timed and the cutoff is 9-hours. This will be the most difficult event of the year due to the cutoff. This ultra marathon event will be a huge push for me. I am planning on dropping 25 pounds to reach my best performance weight prior to this event, but it is the staging ground for all other events in 2014.

Event #2: Ride Across INdiana (RAIN Ride)

This ride will take me 164 miles across the state of Indiana in a single day. On July 12, 2014 I’ll ride this event with a group of friends so this should be a fun event, but I will not let the future fun detract from the fact that I’ll need to spend quite a bit of time in the bike saddle in order to prepare myself to go the distance.  Thank goodness this one has a lunch break around the halfway mark!

Event #3: Cedar Point 70.3 Triathlon

I am in the process of becoming a triathlete and with this event on September 7, 2014, I will earn my place as a more all around athlete. This event includes a 1.2 mile open water swim, 56 mile bike ride and a half marathon. This one is a little scary as I haven’t swam any distance at all in the last 20 years and before that it was just laps during swimming in middle school…good times!

The Plan

Training for three events is taking a lot of patience and planning. Currently I am doing two-a-day workouts in the morning and at lunch with a long run on Saturdays and a long bike ride on Sundays. The cross training is helping my recovery from any one workout. I usually swim in the mornings three days a week, and then also lift and bike in the mornings two days a week. Across lunches I’ll either do the elliptical for 60 minutes or run either a tempo run or do intervals. If I need a rest day then I take one and I have planned in pull back weeks where I drop my training volume significantly in order to let my body rest that week.

I was already trained to run a full marathon at Disney so it’s good to be starting from a solid fitness base. Dialing in my nutrition will be an important part of the training as will my recovery efforts. Nutrition will be 70% of the training as I must reach a healthy performance weight in order to maximize my training and push the envelope on training volume when I need to.

Of course, on September 8, 2014 what’s a guy to do considering all three of the big events will be completed? Easy, I “start” training for the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World coming up in January 2015.

I have a half marathon planned in October and in November I have a full marathon and a 30-mile ultra marathon on back-to-back weekends. I’ll be 8 weeks out from the Dopey Challenge at this point and poised to run a great series of races across four days!

I’m hoping to take a lot of pictures and have a lot of fun this year as I reach my short term  fitness goals to prepare me for 2015 and the DAWS  running team’s 500 Mile Challenge.

So expect a LOT of race recaps this year!

Happy Training!


You can also follow me on Facebook at Running Down a Dream 23

Plankapalooza 2013!

This is a reblog from the Do Away with SMA Team Blog of which I am a member and contributing author.  We are running a Plank-a-Day Challenge throughout the month of November and it starts TODAY, November 1st!  You can find the original post here!  You can also add your name to the Google Doc to track your progress here!

Original Post:

Coach Brian here for Team DAWS! Need a challenge? Great, then you’ve stopped by at the perfect time! The entire month of November the DAWS Team is challenging YOU to do a plank a day! Sounds easy right?

First, what does a plank look like when done with good form? In the pictures below notice the straight line from the person’s head to their heels. Note that their neck is in a neutral position not hanging low or hyperextending toward the ceiling. Weight is balanced between the forearms and the toes. You can keep your feet together or if you need more balance you may spread your feet to a single shoulder width apart. My suggestion though is to keep them together for maximum benefit. Finally note that in both pictures the elbows are directly below the shoulder. Again, this helps with stability and protects the shoulder joint.

For accuracy I like to hold a watch in my hands with a seconds counter so as to time the plank as opposed to looking up at a clock or counting.  Looking up puts your neck and spine in an odd position and counting tends to speed up as your muscles fatigue.

Good form is essential for this exercise.
Good form is essential for this exercise.

Plank 1Ok, now that you’ve seen a picture of what this should look like let me tell you what’s in it for you. The standard plank pictured here is a g-r-e-a-t, GREAT exercise for building abdominal strength.  Hate sit-ups? Yeah, me too and that’s why I don’t do them…okay I don’t do them because as far as abdominal exercises go there are a ton of better exercises to do than “ye olde gym teacher stand-by.”

Benefits of Plank Endurance:

  • Strength – Works your upper and lower abdominal areas. Planks will build strength in your stabilizer muscles, promotes good posture and will help with any back pain you may have while also helping to protect against back injury! Most importantly, doing planks will “teach” your abdominal muscles to stay contracted while you stand and when you exercise. All-in-all it a great exercise for building all around core strength.
  • Flexibility – Plank exercises help increase flexibility in posterior (rear) muscle groups. Your shoulder girdle expands and stretches various muscles around your shoulders, collarbone and shoulder blades. Pressing the front of your thighs upward and lengthening your legs as much as possible stretches the hamstrings that form the back of your thighs. Plank exercises also stretch the arches of your feet as your toes hyperextend to support your weight.
  • Mental – There is something about the mental battle of holding a static position as your body begins to shake from the effort.  This exercise is not only great from a physical standpoint, but will also build your mental fortitude (will power) to keep pushing when your body begins to fatigue.
  • Aesthetic – This one is easy.  Plank = Tight abs. Tight glutes. Tight core. That’s tight yo.

Want to track your progress with the rest of us?  Check out this Google Doc Spreadsheet and add your name to the list!

So here’s the 30 day challenge and no skipping on Thanksgiving Day for my US participants!

The 30 Day Plank Challenge will send your core strength through the roof!

Nov 1 – 20 seconds
Nov 2 – 20 seconds
Nov 3 – 30 seconds
Nov 4 – 30 seconds
Nov 5 – 40 seconds
Nov 6 – REST
Nov 7 – 45 seconds
Nov 8 – 45 seconds
Nov 9 – 60 seconds
Nov 10 – 60 seconds
Nov 11 – 60 seconds
Nov 12 – 90 seconds
Nov 13 – REST
Nov 14 – 90 seconds
Nov 15 – 90 seconds
Nov 16 – 120 seconds
Nov 17 – 120 seconds
Nov 18 – 150 seconds
Nov 19 – REST
Nov 20 – 150 seconds
Nov 21 – 150 seconds
Nov 22 – 180 seconds
Nov 23 – 180 seconds
Nov 24 – 210 seconds
Nov 25 – 210 seconds
Nov 26 – REST
Nov 27 – 240 seconds
Nov 28 – 240 seconds
Nov 29 – 270 seconds

Track Your Progress Here. Just add your name to the honor scroll!

That’s it! In 30 days and you’ll be a plank master! Is that even a thing? Well, it will be come November 30th!

Good luck and Happy Planksgiving!!

Enter to win a DAWS Prize Pack! Click on the Rafflecopter.


The Big Announcement! #DisneyTrail

For the past few weeks if you’ve followed me on Twitter, Instagram, DailyMile or Facebook then you’ve seen the hashtag #disneytrail along with a countdown for today!

What is the DisneyTrail you ask?  The DisneyTrail is a journey to make a difference, it’s a worthy cause and a new ohana coming together. Let’s start from the beginning. A few weeks ago I received a phone call at 9 o’clock at night from a friend of mine asking me to do something a bit crazy. A fellow runner and friend was putting together an ultra run event to raise money to start a foundation for research to fight a terrible disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  1 in 40 people in the US are a carrier of the gene that causes this disease and few if any survive the genetic disorder.  Our fellow friend and runner, Joe Kolinsky, lost two brothers to the genetic disorder and wanted to do something to make a difference and the idea of the DisneyTrail was born.

On August 17, 2015 we will start a 19 day journey running from the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, CA to the gates of Disneyland in Anaheim, CA.  Myself and 5 other dedicated athletes with the help of a rock star support crew will run the entire distance together covering close to 500 miles (more if we get lost) or approximately a marathon (26.2 miles) each day!

For details, please check out our group’s blog.

Please follow us as we raise money and awareness for this worthy cause to not only help a dear friend, but also a community of silent victims who desperately need a cure.

This journey will be like no other I’ve experienced and it starts, today!

Happy Training!