Calling All Experts- Dan needs your help.

I received an e-mail from a reader named Dan.  He read the story of Lauren Kaminsky and decided to reach out to me and the Chicago Endurance community.  I want to hear from you (constructive help only).  What advice, direction, motivation can you offer Dan,to help him make it across the line.  This is what I love about The Pace of Chicago, it's about our community of athletes and people are starting to turn to this community (which includes you) looking for help, advice and guidance.

Dan, I am calling you out.  Right here, right now.  If you sign up for a charity and raise the money, I will run with you, every step.  Who else wants to "play?"  I won't name names...yet, but there are several Tribune/Chicagonow staffers, who run and could help out...Ahem!!!!
Below is the e-mail exchange.


Hi Dave-

I just read your post about this year's marathon!  Sounds like an amazing yet brutal day.

Ok, so here's the scoop.  I'm a fat guy, father of two wonderful daughters.  The oldest was born with a heart defect...our family has a history with heart disease.  I had set a goal to complete the Chicago Marathon. 

My reasons/ inspiration:

  • My oldest daughter Kaelyn (4-1/2 years old), who was born with a defect and had open heart surgery at 2 days old
  • My second daughter, Penny (7 months old)...I don't want to be the fat guy who keels over at 50 and leave her, my oldest and my wife like that.
  • My dad, and both grandfathers...all three had heart attacks.  My dad has gotten in shape, walks daily, rides his bike and has managed his Diabetes II and his heart extremely well!
  • To kick start getting in shape.  I want to grow old with my wife and I want to be around and see my girls grow up.

Why email you?  Well, you said to...see, I chickened out; I didn't register, didn't run and now regret it.  After reading about your's and Lauren's day, I feel inspired again.

I want to start preparing for the 2010 Chicago Marathon.  I'm looking for tips, guidance, etc...I have no idea where to begin, I just feel like this would be a damn good thing to do.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Hi Dan.

Thanks for writing to me and for sharing your story.
Lets get started to get you across that line.
1. Where do you live?  There are a lot of great teams and coaches out there, so knowing where you live can help.
Have you thought about hiring a coach.  I am a tight ass.  I hired a
coach to train me for the Ironman, I felt like I had to get every
dollar out of every workout.  So being cheap, pushed me to succeed:)
It seems like you are an obvious fit to be a charity runner.  They are
a great way to get motivated for a few reasons.  First, you are running
and training for a great cause.  Second, they pay for everything,
training, entry etc.  However, in a lot of cases, if you don't meet
your charitable goals, it comes out of your pocket.  More motivation to
4.  Can I post your letter on The Pace and see if we
can get coaches and teams to chime in.  If not, not to worry, but it
could be a good way to get you going.
5. Make a goal, stick
to it.  If it's Chicago next year, then sign up, go to Fleet Feet and
buy shoes and start to train.  That single task of setting the goal is
the hardest but the most important.

Here we go.



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  • I accept your challenge, and will run/ raise funds for the American Heart Association...I'm reaching out to them now.

  • Dan - you have such great reasons for doing this, I know you will accomplish your goal. I've done 4 marathons with a charity group (1999 to 2002) and they provide great training and the people you meet on the team motivate you to keep you showing up for the training. (That's how Lauren met the now famous "Amazing Barb"!!) When the time comes to do your fund raising, make sure you get in touch with me and I would be happy to support the cause. Dave and Lauren know how to get in touch with me.

  • Dan, we lost my dad three years ago to a heart attack. It took me over two years to figure out I was headed down the same path he was. Just after the first of the year I set out to lose weight and have. I just finished my first 5K a few weeks ago and am running another this coming weekend. I am way more slow than Lauren, but for me, it has been about the time. Set some goals and know you have people pulling for you!

  • Wow! Thank you all for the support!

    Barb- I work downtown...Wells & Jackson, I'd love to meet!

    Lauren- I'm down with either, and I'm sure I'm slower lol!

    LRDad- Wow! Awesome thanks!

    Kristen- Wow, congrats on the 5K! And thanks!


  • OK Dan..
    Although I can't really call myself an expert on Marathons.. I have only done 3 marathons in my many moons..2 of the part of my Iron man races..But all of them were hard, and It sounds like you have the heart, the cause and certainly the desire.. Now you need to believe.

    Go sign up! Right now! commit to this amazing goal and visualize crossing the finish line.. Because you will. The more you talk about it, the more peeps you tell, the more real it becomes.. Really! And, the more committed you become. It's easy to let yourself down, but not those hundreds of friends that you now have become THIER inspiration.

    YOu can do this. Don't think about the 26 or in Dave's case 27 miles ;-) that you have to accomplish.. Today you don't have to be there.. Today you sign up, tomorrow you start.. walking/running and slowly adding on mileage. Before long you will be able to go longer than you ever imagined possible and you keep building on that.. ANd Lo and behold, Next year around this time you WILL be ready for the big day and a big day that will be.

    So, how's that for a pep talk!? Feeling at all inspired? Starting to Believe? I certainly hope so.. Because you Can do this! If you need help with a training guide, I can write one out from you, beginning with Novice run walks... Also,'s site has some great beginner training programs.

    Finally, if you want to join a great Triathlon training group for awesome cross training to support your running, I can help you there too ;-) Together We Tri is the most supportive group out there! With lots of folks with similar stories to yours..

    Go get em DAN! I look forward to hearing how impactful this accomplishment is to you and your family, how many lives you will touch by taking this leap, and how much your life will change by reaching out and having the courage to try! Let me know if I can help in any way. Who knows maybe you can become a triathlete and finish a marathon all in the same amazing year!

    Thanks Dave for always reaching out and helping anyone and everyone!

  • Hi Dan!
    Ok, I respect Dave's opinion to include your story and as a mom of 2 kids and a Triathlete/marathon runner/coach, I want to see you succeed. I am a full time marathon and Triathlon coach. I would like to offer the following to you, if you are interested:

    I will coach you for free. I will coach you for the Chicago Marathon next October (if you are interested, we can agree on the best time frame for this).

    I have 2 requirements:
    1.) You have to run for a charity and work with Dave to blog about it all and your experience. YOUR story will be an inspiration for many!

    2.) You need to get a Drs clearance to run and train for this marathon!

    If you can agree to those issues, I will agree to coach you for free.

    Dave knows me and please visit my website for further information on me as an athlete and coach:

    My direct email is:

    Email me directly if you are interested! No time like the present!

    We will have FUN!!!! Coach Jen

  • Jen..just emailed you. Yes, I accept.

    Barb,and I said in my note to Jen, I had been going back on forth on this since I emailed Dave, and when he first replied. When I read this post, I knew I wanted this.

    The show of support and help is overwhelming, thank you all!

    I will blog about this; and I'm starting tomorrow at 4am with a 2 mile walk/run!

  • Way to Go Dan! Can't wait to hear all about your journey!

  • Just added my blog to my profile...I started blogging earlier today right after I emailed Dave. It's not the greatest, but feel free to check it out at cubicledad dot com.

  • Way to go Dan, I look forward to reading about your journey and success!

  • Dan,
    Congratulations for so many things.
    1) Being honest with yourself and us that you set this goal but did not register. You now have an entire network of people that are going to hold you accountable for next year.
    2) Truely being honest about why you want to run the marathon. Those are personal reasons for you, and every time you train (or think about not training) you need to think about them.
    3) Going for the big goal (a marathon)

    I definitely think running with a charity would be great for you. It puts you together with people that have a common interest as you. My friend Catherine just ran the marathon and ran with the Aids Marathon group.
    You can register for next year's marathon til the end of this year. But don't wait til then to start moving. Start eating better and get moving. Exercising now will help your body get ready for the training process.
    Check out my blog, Body By Bond, here on Chicago Now for eating and exercise tips. Let me know if you have any questions.

    Be excited! You have set a goal and are on your way to achieving it.

    Have a fun and fit day.

  • Hi Dan -

    Congrats on deciding to train for your first marathon. We commend you! I am a co-owner of a running and triathlon shop in downtown Arlington Heights called "Runners High 'n Tri." We'd love to support you by getting you in a free pair of shoes. More important, we'll make sure you get in the right pair of shoes with the right fit. Let us know when you can come out to the shop and we'll get you ready to go.

    Since you're in the city, you can take the metra from downtown and just get off at the Arlington Heights stop. We're walking distance from there. Please email me for details at runrshigh (at) aol (dot) com. We also have certified trainers on staff who can give you more training tips, program, etc.

    Good luck and talk with you soon.

    Mark Rouse,
    Runners High 'n Tri

  • Ashley- thank you! You are very kind! I have started with daily 2 mile walks, and will be in the Halloween Hustle in Palatine this Saturday!

    Mark- oh my gosh, that is extremely generous! Thank you!

  • I realize that this is an old post and comment thread, but I wanted to let all of you who are supporting Dan know that this effort is having some far reaching consequences. I live in Austin, TX and only know of Dan through a shared interest in blogging about our lives as dads.

    But reading his story and seeing how your community is supporting his efforts have encouraged me to get out of my house and start moving. After being a stay-at-home-dad for 8 years I knew a lot about caring for my kids, but I had not done much to take care of myself. But now, thanks to Dan, and all of you who are supporting him, I am doing a better job of both.

  • For fun I came back to revisit this post...

    Dan, you've come a long way, baby!!!! EMBRACE THE RACE ON SUNDAY!

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