Wow, is this really happening?

Wow. I can’t believe that this is all happening! This started with brainstorming about a year ago, started to move along before ending up on the shelf, and then revived itself again in early February. Several months of planning later, and nearly a year after I first thought about using my running to help fight autism, we’re here on day one of Operation Jack!

I was so nervous this morning when I launched the site and updated my status on Facebook — nervous to the point of nausea. I was throwing around ideas when this all started, and the good folks from Train 4 Autism started to work to make this happen. Once I went public with it, there would be no turning back. The minute I pushed that index file up to the web server, I locked in to 18 months of obligations. I have to stretch myself thin now (more than I already do!). I have to wake up early and stay in shape. There are no rest weeks. There is no weekend off. There certainly is no vacation. I don’t know what’s going to wear me down more — the travel or the running? I’m literally going to run myself into the ground. But it will be the experience of a lifetime and it will be for a cause that’s very dear to my heart.

I have an opportunity to do something huge in my son Jack’s honor. It’s incredibly sad to watch him and wonder what’s going on in his mind. He’s nearly 6 years old, but does he know who I am? Will he know I’m gone when I’m off running these races? I have faith that he’ll get better, but I am concerned about how much he’ll ever be able to mainstream. It’s very likely that he’s always going to have his problems. But I pray that this endeavor is successful, and maybe someday down the road, other kids won’t struggle as a result of Operation Jack. I’d love for him to have an impact beyond what he’d ever know or understand. I’ll always be sad that he won’t have a typical childhood, but it would be comforting to know that he has a purpose and that there’s a reason for it all.

I’ll give it my best shot and hope my knees hold out! I have the support of an amazing wife, and she’s going to be going through as challenging of an adventure as me in 2010. None of this would be possible without her. You’ll see me get sappy about her over the next 18 months, but I’m a sucker and she’s an incredible woman.

So, I’m very excited about this, and gracious for the initial support I’ve received. From all the hard-working people at Train 4 Autism, to friends and acquaintances who have volunteered, to people I’ve never met just wishing me well and jumping on the bandwagon — it’s been an amazing first day and I can’t believe I still have about 540 more days until this is done!

If you’ve read this far through the blog, you obviously have some interest in Operation Jack. So I beg you — PLEASE join a team! Please take part! I’m counting on strength in numbers to make this an incredible endeavor. You don’t have to run a marathon. Run a 5K or 1/2 marathon that’s associated with the full marathon I’m doing. If you want to participate but don’t want to run, fill out the Contact Us form to get in touch with me and we’ll figure something out.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Thanks for reading and thanks for caring!