Sochi-see

February 7, 2014

vladSo cheesy.  That is this picture of me and Vladimir Putin in front of the Red Square in Moscow.  Ok, it is a fake Vladimir.  But it is a real me.  It was a toss-up between Vlad and Stalin.  I chose Vlad since he is like a Russian Jack Bauer (former KGB and all).

I love the Olympics.  And so I thought why not write a little bit about my favorite parts of the Winter Olympics and this year’s Sochi games.  Here’s my favorites (so far):

Slopeside Snowboarding – this is a NEW event this year for the Olympics.  X Games has made it to prime time. When I come back in my next life I no longer want to be a Golden Retriever.  I want to be like this guy in this picture.  And my board will have Awesome on the bottom too!

Next life.

Next life.

Jamaican Bobsled Team – Who doesn’t love the Jamaican Bobsled team?  I have a friend who has a half USA half Jamaica flag as her profile picture.  I’d like to be 1/2 from Jamaica too.  It is just a happy-go-lucky country and they win the gold for looking like they are having the most fun.

Ya Mon

Ya Mon

Scott Hamilton – this guy cracks me up almost as much as Will Ferrell.  He LOVES his figure skating sport and his passion comes through in his announcing.  But I can’t get the SNL and Blades of Glory skits out of my head (he was in BOG).  So…I used to not watch figure skating but because of Scott I’m now a fan.  He makes me laugh.  I love it.  (And by the way – he’s a great humanitarian.  He has gone through a lot with cancer and continues to be one of the top supporters for various causes including the Paralympics and the Make a Wish Foundation where  he was named the first ever Celebrity Wish Granter of the Year.)

Kudos

Kudos

Toilets – My extended family (mother-in-law, brother-in-laws) run plumbing businesses up in Wisconsin.  And so, I do get a kick out of any toilet related humor.  I feel bad for the folks of Sochi but unfortunately this toilet humor and their Olympics will forever be linked in my mind.  The truth is they’ve had many issues which became public via the Twitterverse.  I posted one image on FB of a hotel that tells you to not flush toilet paper (nasty) so I won’t repeat that.  But here are several others that were very good in my opinion.

Innovative conference room idea.

Innovative conference room idea.

Just in case you thought about fishing in the toilet...don't do it.

Just in case you thought about fishing in the toilet…don’t do it!

People are very creative.

People are very creative.

Skin Cancer Prevention Tips:  Many of you have been bombarded by my personal “campaign” to raise funds in support of the Melanoma Foundation of New England (http://www.crowdrise.com/mfneboston2014/fundraiser/paulgourley).  Hopefully there has not been duplication of “ads” but I do want to get the word out not only about my participation in this year’s Boston Marathon on Team Running for Cover but also about the things you can do to help prevent Melanoma.  Here’s a few new tips and a link at the bottom if you’d like to help support my efforts.  Thank you.

  1. Being a white male over the age of fifty
    Although people of any race and age can get melanoma, people in this demographic are at particularly high risk for getting and dying of melanoma.  In this group, melanomas are most common on the back.  However, pay particular attention to moles on the scalp, since melanomas on the scalp have a higher mortality rate than elsewhere, because they are usually diagnosed when they are thicker and deeper.
  2. Having other family members who have had a melanoma
    Melanomas often run in families.  The more family members you have with melanoma, the higher your risk.  Some of the genes that occur in people with familial melanoma have been identified and can be tested for, but many patients who have family members with melanoma have no gene problem that can be tested for.  Most melanomas are easy to stop if caught soon enough — all it takes is a yearly skin exam.  Go find a dermatologist and just do it.
  3. Use sunscreen!

http://www.crowdrise.com/mfneboston2014/fundraiser/paulgourley

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Wicked Awesome!! B is for Boston!!

January 24, 2014

planbBoston or Bust could be Boston after all.  Knowing my aging, larger than desired and injury prone body is never going to get to a sub 8 min per mile pace for 26.2 miles to qualify for the Boston Marathon I went to Plan B.

Each year the Boston Marathon selects twenty-nine organizations to raise money for charity.  In return they distribute a limited number of race numbers for individuals who are raising the funds.  So…Plan B had me applying to two charities that hit close to home – the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Melanoma Foundation of New England.  It is not at all easy to be selected.  They only have around 30-35 team members per charity.  And you need to guarantee a minimum amount of money you’ll raise, write a personal essay on how you are connected with the particular charity and be interviewed by a selection committee.  They then go off and deliberate and let you know.  As you can imagine, the applicants this year are through the roof given the horrible events this past year.  But after all of this and after months of waiting, this week I was selected to be a team member of the Running for Cover Melanoma Foundation charity!  [Plan] B is for “Boston”!  Holy *hit!  I’m running the Boston Marathon this April!

I think this is beyond belief not only because I will get to fulfill a bucket list dream of running in this marathon but I’ll be raising funds for a disease that could have taken my wife from me and my family not too long ago.  Even I took it in stride early on as we’ve all most likely had spots checked, frozen by liquid nitrogen and such.  I don’t take it lightly any longer.  You may not know this but if the cancer that has been found and diagnosed as Melanoma spreads beyond the local area into another organ and reaches Stage IV the prognosis has survival rates of 7-19% of making it five years longer.  In layman’s terms – those aren’t good odds.  This is cancer.  When her spot started to spread significantly (50 cent piece size) they took a big old chunk out of my wife’s calf to try to make sure this sucker didn’t spread any further.  She is very lucky to have caught it early and had it treated.  And now, I feel lucky to be able to give back to the charity to raise awareness and try to find even better treatments to eliminate this disease.

Here is where I need your help (keep reading; and then click link below or click here:  http://www.crowdrise.com/mfneboston2014/fundraiser/paulgourley).   I’ve been writing these blogs for the past 3 years or so.  I try to brighten people’s days and make them as light and humorous as I can.  Remember the “Got a Hemi in There?” one?  Or maybe the “Get in Mah Belly?!” one?  Or there is always the classic “Crop Dusting” issue?  I’ve also had several serious moments when I wrote about getting caught in Mumbai while serious bad guy terrorists were bombing three parts of the city where I had just been.  (Yes, they may have been chasing me – or so I thought.)  And of course the most relevant to this blog – last year’s bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon.  It has been fun and sad to write all of these and now I think I’m nearing the final six point two miles.  I’ll write more between now and April 21, 2014 (Patriot’s Day) when I run this year’s race.  And I’ll also be asking for you to help me raise funds for Melanoma and to support my efforts and America’s stance against terrorism.  Think of it as a way of saying to these nuts (in a powerful way) that you may have tried to break our spirit but once again the people of Boston and all of America proved that we are unstoppable.  We go on and on and on.  And we will continue to do so.

Here is a link to team Running for Cover’s donation site where you can join my team and contribute.  I’ve never asked for donations on any other run or event I’ve done and kind of feel strange doing so now.  I’ll also commit to not asking you again in the future!  But I do need your help.  This provides a strong combination of supporting Melanoma awareness and research and making a statement in support of my efforts in this year’s Boston Marathon!  I’d appreciate anything you can do.  And I’d also appreciate it if you’d tell your friends about my efforts and pass them the link so they can join in.  Thank you!

http://www.crowdrise.com/mfneboston2014/fundraiser/paulgourley

Skin Cancer Prevention Tips:  Instead of Running Updates I am shifting gears and giving you all a few tips to prevent skin cancer each blog post.  Some of this is common sense but even if it has you putting on sunscreen on a more regular basis I’ll call it success.  Here you go.

  • Do Not Burn or Tan (Avoid intentional tanning; avoid tanning beds (Todd?)) – Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds causes skin cancer and wrinkling.
  • Seek Shade – when the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (go to the Tiki Bar instead)
  • Apply Sunscreen – SPF 30 or higher (on you AND your wife)
  • Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow and Sand – these surfaces reflect the sun and increase chance of sunburn (think Shark week)

Early detection of melanoma can save your life.  Carefully examine all of your skin once a month.  A new or changing spot should be evaluated.  and click the link above to help Paul.  Or click here:  http://www.crowdrise.com/mfneboston2014/fundraiser/paulgourley  🙂

Boston Strong!

Boston Strong!