Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ten Days Away From 10-10-10

In November of 2009, Keri Schindler of Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association asked those on her email list who would be interested in running the 2010 Chicago Marathon as a member of Team GLASA. I immediately jumped at the chance. The good news about deciding at that point was that race day was eleven months away. I already had some long distance races planned and I knew I would have plenty more in the months to follow. Time passed and I had to officially register for the Chicago Marathon. Upon completion, I received a confirmation email. I had joined the 45,000 runners who would be tackling 26.2 miles on October 10, 2010. It was still about six months away from race day. The next step was to officially join Team GLASA. I did. Then I was assigned a couple of athletes on whose behalf I would run and fundraise. Sixteen year old twins, Elizabeth and Emily Fideler. All was set. Time to focus on the training. Most plans seemed to be geared for four to six months of daily dedication in preparation to the marathon. I had to keep in mind that while I was to prepare for conquering 26.2 miles, I also had to consider that I would be racing in other long distance road races and triathlons along the way. While it was important to follow a training plan, I had to prepare for those other races by giving them their just time of dedication.

This spring, I took part in the Chicago Spring Half marathon and the Soldier Field 10 and this summer, I made a return trip to New York for the olympic distance triathlon. Once August rolled around, it was time to focus on Chicago Marathon. I was able to find two gentlemen, Rich Karnia and Peter Mullen, who volunteered to be my sighted guides for the race. Then, it was the start of September. more and more I was starting to zero in on the race. It was getting closer. From eleven months down to five weeks. Anxiety was kicked up a couple notches accompanied by the question, What was I thinking agreeing to run this race? Ever since I was a boy, I have enjoyed running. I was fast. I was a sprinter. Yet, I am attempting a tough long distance race. It is for a great cause, but still, why did I think I could pull it off in such fine fashion? About ten days ago, I took part in the Chicago Area Runners Association's Ready To Run 20 Miler as a warmup for the full tilt marathon. I was scared and nervous, but I stunned myself with such a wonderful performance where I pushed myself to run faster than I ever had in any event of double digit miles. I was able to sustain that steady pace for eighty-five percent of the race. At the conclusion, I was tired, but full of confidence because I had run the longest I ever had and had been comfortable for a majority of the event.

I am now ten days away from making my marathon debut in my home town race. This is the event I grew up watching. This is the event I still watch on an annual basis. I will now be running in it. I am worried since I've never run that long before in my life. I am excited because I never thought I would ever run in this event. I will be running through the streets of Chicago and experiencing this city in a way I never have in my life. I will see more of this city in a few hours than I have ever seen which is why as nervous as I am, I am also very thrilled that I will be embarking on a special one day journey that will by all accounts, change my life forever!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Be Inspired Be Motivated Be Yourself

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to race in triathlons and one day, I would like to complete and Ironman triathlon. In order to do so I would have to learn to swim. When I was ten years old, I took a week of free swimming lessons at my local YMCA, but that was my only formal instruction. I was lucky enough to be introduced to two young women, Karrie Torbeck and Arica Ebersold, who worked with me for a while. As I began to show some progress, I had to discontinue working with them due to circumstances beyond our control. I decided to reach out to my local YMCA to see if I could begin working with someone there. The Aquatics Director, Jackie E. Keane was so receptive from the very first conversation I had with her that I knew I would enjoy working with her to reach my swim goals. After I explained my desire to learn as well as giving her more information about my current level of training, she immediately suggested that I would best be served working with one of if not her top instructor, Erwin John Tan. I met with Erwin and instantly, I felt at ease. He worked with me for a lengthy period before having to depart for other ventures, but the time I spent with him was a valuable period in my swim life. He took what I learned from Karrie and Arica and built on that foundation. In other aspects, he deconstructed what I had learned and decided to rebuild from the ground up to fit what he felt would best suit me. I truly appreciate what all my swim instructors have taught me as I feel it has given me a wide range of knowledge from which to pull.

Those who read my entries on a regular basis have read my various stories about my different races. Readers have also read how I use my fitness achievements as a springboard for my theater and film projects as well as motivation to have a sexy lean physique at which family, friends, and others could marvel. Recently, Erwin asked me to submit a piece to be published on his web site which discusses my reasons, motivations, and inspirations for leading a healthy active lifestyle. Said piece is now posted on his site and I invite all to visit it and take a glance at not only my submission, but at all which he offers.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ready To Run 20 Miler

As I stared down the next athletic obstacle, Chicago Area Runners Association's Ready To Run 20 Miler, I was scared because I had never run twenty miles. I had run 18.6 miles at the Sugar Land 30K in December of 2009. The next closest race of that distance was the Chicago Spring Half Marathon, a 13.1 miles run. On top of the fear of never running twenty miles, I was concerned over the fact that when I registered for the Ready To Run I had to fill in my expected pace so I put nine minutes and thirty seconds per mile. There was no way I could keep up that pace for that long. I figured if I wrote that I was slower I may not be able to find a guide who would be willing to be out on the course for so long if he or she knew we would be running at an eleven minutes per mile pace or so.

On Saturday night, I laid out my race shirt with my bib number already on with safety pins, running shorts, socks, hats, sweat shirt, and running pants. My wake up call was 4:15a.m. which would give me enough time before I would be picked up by Rich Karnia who had agreed to guide me for the first ten miles of the event. I was in a deep sleep when I was suddenly awakened by my phone ringing. Am I late? Did I over sleep? I leaped out of bed to answer already making mental notes of where my clothes were and what other items I still needed to put into my bag. When I answered, it turned out to be a friend just calling to say hi. What time is it? She said about midnight. I hung up and attempted to go to bed, but it was tough. Soon it was about 4a.m. so I just rose up out of bed and began to prepare.

Rich arrived at 5:30a.m. and we made our way to Foster Avenue Beach in Chicago. We parked, made last second preparations, and walked over to the start area. It felt a bit cool, but Rich assured me it would warm up. "Besides", he said, "Once you start running, your body temp will rise, and you'll feel hot." The first wave of runners went off shortly after 6:30a.m. with a new wave going off every thirty seconds. We were in wave 45. We inched our way towards the start and it was fun to have Chicago Marathon Race Director, Carey Pinkowski, as the public address announcer making jokes, encouraging the runners, before saying, "Good luck. See you on the south side. Now, go!" Shortly after 7a.m. we stood at the start line waiting to be given the green light to go. How long will I be able to keep up the 9:30 per mile pace? I should have written ten minutes and thirty seconds or even eleven minutes. After all, this is twenty miles. Too late now. It is time to go! We started running. This was Rich's first time guiding so I figured he would need a while to adjust, but he seemed very comfortable almost immediately. Pretty soon, he informed me that we had crossed the one mile mark, but I was beginning to fall back from the pack so he encouraged me to pick it up a bit to catch up and maintain. I did. I normally would not push so early in a race, but I had to this time. I was not sure if and how this would hurt me later on, but I had to push. We would fall back then catch up right away. The miles rolled by then around mile eight we seem to hit a nice stretch of open space as some runners fell back and others pressed ahead. I found a groove and moved at this steady pace for a couple miles as we neared the tenth mile where Rich would hand me off to another first time guide, Jennifer Pfaff who I would meet for the first time when she would introduce herself at the exchange. We met her, Rich and Jennifer chatted for a quick moment, and soon she and I were off towards the second half of the run.

Jennifer was nervous about guiding so I said we could take the first mile slowly as she found her comfort level. It would also give me a chance to rest. We ran our first mile together in ten minutes and thirty-nine seconds. We ran the next in ten minutes and thirty-one seconds. Jennifer had asked for what pace I was aiming so by our third mile together, the thirteenth of twenty, she began to push me to dig a little deeper. We hit that mile at nine minutes and thirty seconds. That was the first of five consecutive miles at that pace. Sure I was tired, but somehow I was finding the ability to press on in a way I had never done before in any previous race. Prior to the Twilight 5K eight days ago, I do not remember running in any events in which I was consistently under ten minutes per mile yet I was hitting 9:30 on the clock in this event and we were at miles fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen. How was that possible? Meanwhile, Jennifer kept informing me that we were passing people all the time. Packs of three or four runners would add up to twenty-five within a couple minutes. We were moving. She kept encouraging me and in a sign that she was comfortable, she began to describe the scenery while navigating me through the course. My legs were taking a pounding and it was starting to wear me down, but with every step forward we were closer to the finish. Jennifer kept driving me. We reached mile nineteen. One more to go. The volunteers at every aid station were amazing, but the folks at this one were extra special with music and loud cheers. We refueled and off we went towards the finish. With only six tenths of a mile to go Jennifer insisted on laying the hammer. I wanted to slow up and even walk, but she was not going to let me. So close now. If she had to drag me across she would. Of course, there was not a need for that. The least I could do for her willingness to guide me is dig deep one final time. I did and before I knew it she said we had crossed the finish.

A post race party was well underway with food, drinks, and music. I was proudest that I had gone the distance. Twenty miles. For the most part, I kept my pace throughout the entire event. It was clear, I was ready to run. I am more confident in the possibilities which await me on October 10, 2010. I can go twenty miles so with a bit more training I will be able to accomplish something truly special at the Chicago Marathon.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Will I Be Ready To Run Tomorrow

In three weeks I will be anxiously anticipating my marathon debut. It will be October 9 the eve of the Chicago Marathon which I am running on behalf of sixteen year old twins, Elizabeth and Emily F as a member of Team GLASA. Tonight, I am anxious for another running reason. Tomorrow is the Chicago Area Runners Association's Ready To Run 20 Miler. It is not a race. It is simply an organized training run along Chicago's lakefront, but I am nervous about having to run twenty miles. It is difficult for me to find friends or runners able to go with me on long runs. As it is, many people in society lead busy lives so to find the time to go on long runs of double digit distances can be quite a chore. Add to that the responsibility of being a sighted guide for someone who can not see and it becomes a bit more daunting. I have plenty of friends who care about me who would want to help out, but arranging time in their busy schedules or having the comfort to be my eyes and communicating with me while running can be a scary proposition. As a result, I spend plenty of time getting my running in on a treadmill. I am still able to get my four, five, or six miles in, but since it is in a control environment, I do not get a chance to experience various weather elements or footing conditions that others do on their outdoor training runs which can make adjusting to them on race day all that much more difficult during the early stages of an event. I do not get a chance to run many double digit mile runs unless I register for ten mile races or half marathons. If I am able to sign up for these events, the next task becomes finding someone who is available or willing to be my sighted guide for these races. I sit here pensively typing this entry knowing in a few hours I will have an opportunity to run twenty miles guided by two individuals who will each run with me for ten miles. Rich Karnia and Jennifer Pfaff. I am sure both are also nervous since neither has ever guided a runner who can not see. On the bright side, this is an organized training run and not an official race. Many of the same pressures of race day will be present. For me, the fears of knowing I have not been able to get in a run of at least ten miles or more since I ran in the Soldier Field 10 this past May loom large. I have been getting in my miles on a daily basis, but not as many as I should to be properly prepared for the 20 Miler. Hopefully, I will make it through. On the positive side, running these twenty miles will teach my body what to expect come October 10. Yet, I also expect to continue running as often as I can putting in as many miles as I can so I will be in even greater shape in three weeks than I am today so maybe I will not be as nervous then as I am tonight. It is time to go make last minute preparations before going to bed. As the night before any race, I probably will not sleep much, but I am going to try so I can be as rested as possible to give it a solid try on Sunday morning.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

GLASA Twilight 5K

Saturday, September 11, 2010 was the ninth anniversary of the terrorists attack on America. So many men, women, and children lost their lives on that Tuesday, September 11, 2001 day. So many individuals lost a loved one if not more. So many people display such heroism as they gave of themselves to help or save others. On this anniversary, the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association held its annual Twilight 5K benefiting the wonderful programs of GLASA. These include planning and executing competitive and non competitive sporting events for youth and adults with physical and visual disabilities. My first time running in this event was in 2009. As part of the Team GLASA Marathon Team for 2010, I was able to race in this event once more. This year, I was guided by Brett Petersen, a Ironman triathlete and triathlon coach. In 2009, one of my sisters ran in the event. She returned again this year and brought some family members along as my eldest sister decided to tackle her first ever 5K race as did my fifteen year old nephew.

There was a bit of a breeze as I arrived an hour before the race which began at 6p.m. I signed in, received my goodie bag, and met Brett. I am usually nervous before a race wanting to perform well, but knowing I am not in the best shape. This time, I was anxious because I knew my conditioning was the best it has been in four years so I was confident I would have a good race, but the expectations of a solid performance made me a bit scared. What if my finishing time was about the same as always? What if I did worse than normal? This was Brett's first time guiding so I figured he would require some time to adjust to having to communicate any needed information to me. I also knew it would take me a while to relax and trust him during the race. The beauty of this race is that the field is capped at 500 runners so once we would get through the initial congestion at the start of the race, we would have a fast wide open course on the streets of Lake Forest, Il.

The gun sounded and we were off and running. Sure enough, we had to make our way through some early obstacles of people, but we were able to get out fast. At one point still very early in the first mile, Brett informed me that we were moving at an 8:12 pace. Considering that we were having to move in, out, and around some early traffic, we were making great time. In fact, we were probably moving at an under eight minute per mile pace. As we neared the end of the first mile we settled into a slower pace closer to 8:40. There was one aid station during this race at the 1.5 mile mark. We moved quickly towards the tables, grabbed our liquids, hydrated during a quick break, then began to move again. We crossed two miles and we were flying towards the finish line. My pace seemed to be getting slower as the early fast start seemed to be catching up to me, but Brett continued to encourage me insisting we were nearing the end. He motivated me to push myself and when I would feel strong enough, I would. Brett said we were a half mile from the finish and I struggled to push. I was moving much faster than I have ever moved in a 5K race, but I wanted to press on the gas and go. I found myself fading, but Brett kept encouraging me. Before long, we had reached the final shoot and we sprinted for home.. I gave it one last kick before the finish, but it did not feel like my typical final kick. It was a kick none the less which helped me cross the finish four minutes faster than any other 5K.

My sister who has raced many 5K events previously crossed the finish in her typical quick fashion. My fifteen year old nephew crossed in about twenty-five minutes. While my eldest sister proudly crossed the finish line in her first ever 5K! Because she and my nephew had never raced in a 5K before this one, I was happiest for them. All in all, it was a wonderful time for all who raced and raised money for a wonderful organization, the Great lakes Adaptive Sports Association.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Opening Night 4 Years Later

The stage remains dark. "Hello" by Evanescence plays for a minute then words are spoken. "A long time ago I fell in love, but I lost her. I hold on to the hope that I will be with her once more. She was my love. My eyesight." "Hello" fades out.

That is the opening to "In The Dark" my autobiographical piece whose opening night was four years ago tonight on September 8, 2006 at Prop THTR in Chicago, Il. This world premiere production was directed by Prop THTR co-founder and Artistic Director, Scott Vehill and took place a year after the piece was selected to be part of the New Play Fest where it was directed by Emily Lotspeich. Leading up to opening night, I was excited and confident because this was my story. I wrote and memorized it. Above all, I lived it! Yet I never in my wildest dream could have imagined that this piece could get so far. It had been a few years since I decided the radio industry did not want to let me in so I had better attempt something else, but what? Screenwriting. I took a thirty minute film script I had written for a script writing class in college and turned it into a full length. I attempted to create other pieces. I began taking acting classes when I learned the school offered courses in writing plays taught by G Riley Mills. I had never even considered writing plays, but I figured there were basic aspects of story telling in plays I could take and transfer to films. Within two months, I had written my first full length play and began on my second. Then G suggested I tell my story. Could I do it? Would there be any interest? Of course not! I have a boring life. Mr. Mills disagreed and insisted. I mentioned the idea to actor, director, instructor, Eileen Vorbach who immediately stated, "If you write it, I'll direct it." Ultimately, she did not, but the mere fact that she was so interested and believed in it and me, I had to write it. I began to craft the piece. After several months, I had a draft. I soon heard from G that he contacted friends at Prop who were in search of new pieces previously unproduced and told them his friend, Israel, had a special piece which he would be sending them for consideration. Before long, I heard that Prop was interested in the piece and then I received word from Emily Lotspeich that my show was selected and that she would be directing for New Play Fest.

After a successful showing as part of NPF, I waited for the call which eventually came when Scott Vehill expressed interest in moving forward with the project which he would direct. I originally viewed the piece as a one man show in the same vein as a John Leguizamo piece, but I began to think I would want others in the show with me. Laura Sturm, actor, director, instructor, whom I respect greatly insisted that considering my training with her and others, it would be best to have others in the show since it would allow me to play off of them in the various scenes. So I asked my friend, Madelon Guinazzo who jumped at the chance to play nine different female roles. For all the male roles with whom I would interact, Ivan Ortega was brought on board.

I had been in shows in grade school and high school. I had even been the lead in a second grade play, but this was different. People were paying to come see what I wrote and to watch me carry a show. Scott Vehill was marketing me as a young Al Pacino. There were articles in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times discussing how this piece was influenced by John Leguizamo. This was Prop THTR, one of the most respected theater groups in the city. This for me was the big time. How many people who start writing a film or theater piece ever finish the first draft? How many get it read upon completion? How many get it produced, star in it, and do so on a Chicago stage? On top of that, the fear of failing and embarrassing friends and family drives me so the pressure was mounting.

I arrived at Prop in the middle of a performance of "Hizzoner" written by and starring Neil Giuntoli. As I waited for the show to conclude, a couple friends, Lisa and Sunshine, walked up to express their excitement and best wishes. Wow, this is really happening and there are friends here to watch it. When "Hizzoner" ended, I walked into the theater and was greeted by Mr. Giuntoli. We exchanged pleasantries and I voiced my concerns for my pending performance, but Neil offered some encouraging words of wisdom and prayed with me that I may be guided through the performance. Madelon, Ivan, and I were ready. An announcement was made welcoming audience members to the show then the lights went out and it was time to go. As the song from Evanescence played, Madelon whispered to me, "Thank you for giving me the chance to help tell your story." She then paraphrases my dear friend, Therese Rowley, by saying, "Now let's go show the world how a blind man sees."

The night was a special one for me as was the run and the feedback from audience members after each performance. A special thanks to the many wonderful people who believed in me on route to opening night. Scott Vehill, Stefan Brun, Diane Honeyman, Emily Lotspeich, Neil Giuntoli, G Riley Mills, Madelon Guinazzo, Ivan Ortega, and so many others who played a role in making this happen!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Guides For Chicago Marathon

Happy Labor Day to all my followers and readers!!

When I decided to take on the challenge of training for then running my first ever marathon, I knew there would be obstacles along the way. My longest road race to date was the 30K in Sugar Land, Tx last December. I coasted through the first fourteen miles at a steady pace, but the final four and a half were some of the toughest miles I have ever endured. I have been told that there is a saying that "The first twenty miles of a marathon are the first half of the race. The final six miles are the second half." As much physical stress as I will put on my body prior to and during the marathon, there will be plenty of mental stress to overcome. Another difficulty prior to race day is finding a sighted guide to run with me for the 26.2 miles. This is something about which most runners need not worry, but I must find someone to run with me acting as my eyes informing me of runners, obstacles, aid stations, turns, ascends/descends, or anything else along the course. I was pretty confident I had a friend lined up to be my guide, but it fell through so I kept looking for an opportunity to present itself. One friend did offer to ask some of his friends who were planning on flying to Chicago for the October 10 race, but I waited before asking him. The days passed. The training period became shorter and I knew I had to put the word out one more time and hope destiny smiled on me with some potential guides.

Destiny sure smiled as a few friends expressed an interest. One said he wanted to guide, but he knew going the full distance would be a tough task so if I could find someone to split the race with him, he would be up for it. That was a wonderful suggestion! I have never been a guide for a blind or visually impaired person, but I assume it can be quite challenging having to focus on running and breathing then to top it off, communicate with a person so he or she will be as well informed as possible during the race. It is a tough task to ask one person, especially one who has never guided before, to go the distance considering the physical and mental demands. I have decided to show my appreciation for those who offered to guide me for the Chicago Marathon by having two of them guide me. Each will run with me for 13.1 miles. This way both can be at the top of their game and will hopefully not feel overburdened by the responsibility of being my eyes. Thank you to those who volunteered and to those who asked around on my behalf in attempting to find me a guide. Special thanks to the two individuals preparing to guide me on October 10, 2010. Rich Karnia and Peter Mullen. Two men who have never guided before. It will be a memorable experience for all of us and 45,000 of our closest friends, fellow runners, and volunteers.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Marathon Day Five weeks Away

I woke up today feeling fresh after a five mile run yesterday. I had a bit of discomfort in my left calf and right knee, but otherwise, I felt great. I thought to myself, it is one week away from the GLASA Twilight 5K in Lake Forest, Il, two weeks from the CARA Ready To Run 20 Miler, and Five weeks away from the Chicago Marathon. Really? Just five weeks away? The most miles I have ever run at one point was the Sugar Land 30K (18.6 miles) last December so the thought of twenty miles has been on my mind. The full 26.2 miles while in the back of my mind, had never fully come to the front until today. It was last November when Keri Schindler of Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association first reached out to anyone interested in running the Chicago Marathon in 2010 as a member of Team GLASA. She said we had about two months to mull it over, but I knew by the end of the email that I was going to run it. I then debated between GLASA and another charity, but ultimately stayed with my first choice knowing that I would have plenty of other chances to run for or be involved with that other cause, The Special Olympics Children's Charities. From time to time I have thought of the commitment I made to run a marathon and wonder why? Of course for a great cause. Still 26.2 miles. The dedication required to prepare is more than I have ever done in my life. Sure, in between-spring and fall semesters in college, I spent my summers dedicated to a work out routine where I was doing pushups, sit ups, bicep and triceps curls with a dumbbells, military presses and other resistance movements with a barbell, jump roping, and forms from Kajukenbo. I even tried out the Total Gym for a few months, but did not like it. Then there was my New Year's resolution to begin the 2004 year where I was going to work out five days a week performing all sorts of resistance training weight lifting exercises, pushups, sit ups, martial arts, and running. I ended up sticking to that resolution from January 2004 through June 2006 and only stopped because my autobiographical theater piece, In The Dark, went into rehearsal and production so I had to devote myself to rewriting as well as memorizing. In the first case, I was attempting to bulk up. In the second one, I was attempting to get as lean and sexy as possible. I did not have the pressures of a marathon looming. I have completed two triathlons and plan to do many more, but I am not a swimmer nor a biker. I am a runner. Yet even during my college years, I ran on a limited basis. During the two and a half years I was carving out a lean physique, I only ran about 3.1 miles a day and usually no more than sixteen miles per week. Now, I am running twenty, twenty-five, or thirty miles a week. Yet I think to myself that it is not enough. I am running more than I have ever run, but I do not feel it is enough. I do believe I will be showing up to the Twilight 5K, 20 Miler, and marathon in the best condition I have ever been for any previous race. I have been building my wind and conditioning like never before. I want to be strong. I want to run the longest race of my life knowing I have prepared the best I can. I want to feel strong down the home stretch and not find myself wondering how much better would I be doing right now if I spent more time running. Everywhere I read and everyone to whom I speak states the same thing that when it is your first marathon, the only goal should be to finish. You should never put a finishing time goal on the race. Simply cross that finish line. In my case, it would also be to remember that this marathon is not about me. It is about running for Team GLASA and on behalf of sixteen year old twins, Elizabeth and Emily Fideler, GLASA athletes who have benefited greatly from the programs and activities GLASA organizes all the time. I am running to raise awareness and money for GLASA and to tell people how their donations help Elizabeth, Emily, and others discover their self esteem and confidence. I am just worried that the physical demands will be too much and I will find myself fading the final miles. If I can keep running over the next five weeks and building leg strength with more weight lifting then maybe it will not be an issue come October 10, 2010. Five Sundays from today. I need to remain dedicated and keep pushing myself. Just five more weeks.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"I'm Spiritual, Dammit!"

From the moment I first heard Spike O'Dell on WGN Radio in Chicago I fell in love with his voice and style. Within a few months of being a loyal listener I knew I wanted to work in talk radio. From the time I was fourteen years old, I focused solely on that dream. My interest shifted from politics to sports. I would always do my homework quickly so I could listen to various local and national sports talk shows as well as broadcasts of college and pro games of all sports. I felt that in order to understand where I was going in my career I needed to learn who was successful and who were the men and women who paved the way for me in radio, television, and newspapers. If one day I would be upset at an athlete or coach for not knowing or respecting his/her franchise's history or that of the sport I better know and respect that of the media industry. I continued studying about media in college attending games, befriending media members, and constantly asking questions. After graduating college, I struggled to find an entry level job anywhere in the country, but I kept listen and studying.

I heard a woman on the radio named Jenniffer Weigel. I thought to myself isn't this Tim Weigel's daughter? Is she the same Jenniffer Weigel who is an award winning TV anchor and reporter? I listened. I liked her, but soon she was gone from that radio station. After some time, I heard her on another station. I was hooked once more. Having not held a job in radio for a few years at this point, I was sad because I could not reach out to Jenniffer to introduce myself, explain how I was a big fan, and interview her for my radio show. Soon, she was off the air again.

I went on to write a few theater pieces one of which was my autobiographical play, "In The Dark" in which I starred along side Madelon Guinazzo and Ivan Ortega at Prop THTR in Chicago. Midway through the show, Madelon and Ivan would ask me some questions about losing my sight and adapting to my circumstances which would lead into opening the floor up to audience members to ask questions. One woman asked a question about my relationship with my father and I answered. After the performance a friend asked "Did you know that the woman who asked about your father was Jenniffer Weigel?" Thee Jenniffer Weigel? She was here? She was watching me? After all the years of wanting to meet her and introduce myself. It turned out that Jenniffer and I had two mutual friends if not more one of whom, Therese Rowley, ultimately brought us together and I was finally able to tell Jenniffer how much I love and respect her work. She had published a very successful book, Stay Tuned: Conversations With Dad From The Other Side which she then turned into a one woman show "I'm Spiritual, Dammit!" which has been a smashing success in Chicago. Now she is releasing her follow up book, "I'm Spiritual, Dammit!" which has been receiving rave reviews. She is an award winning journalist, a fine actress, and quite a story teller. She will be telling stories and autographing her latest book on Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at the Wilmette Theatre at 7:30p.m.

For more information and to order your tickets, please log on to: