Pike Shrimpfest for Parkinson's
Robin Pinkowitz and Ed Burns
SMU Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity
A Team Fox Extravaganza!
Join us on November 9, 2013 at Barley House for Pike Shrimpfest for Parkinson's!
In August 2013, Elisa Farrell, Jaywin Malhi, Federico Canavati, Eugenio Zubieta, and Andrew Pinkowitz met in a project management course in the SMU Cox School of Business. Our semester-long fundraising project for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research has culiminated in Pike Shrimpfest for Parkinson's: a day-long extravaganza filled with unlimited shrimp, complimentary drinks, and great live music!
To read more about our project, check out our feature in SMU's campus newspaper, The Daily Campus, at http://www.smudailycampus.com/news/cox-students-to-team-up-with-fraternity-for-philanthropy. To read more about Andrew Pinkowitz's family and an explanation of their personal experiences with Parkinson's Disease, please continue reading!
2013 NYC Marathon
After having an x-ray and determining that I have a stress fracture in my foot, I've decided that it would be wise not to run this year's NYC Marathon in an effort to prevent further injury. Although it's extremely difficult to not be able to run this race for two consecutive years, my fitness journey has shown that running is very much about the long-term. After some extended recovery time, hopefully next year's race will work out just fine. Maybe NYC 2014's slogan should be "Third time's a charm!".
Regardless of race performance, however, together we've been able to accomplish some great things for the MJFF, and at the end of the day, that's what truly matters. Thank you very much for your support to both me and my family, and here's to next year's race!
I'm back, and ready for more!
It's time for me to finally cross that finish line in New York City. Join me in my goal of raising an additional $1,500 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research in hopes of both crushing the 2013 NYC Marathon and Parkinson's Disease.
For information about my first marathon and my family's experience with Parkinson's Disease, please continue reading.
Follow my journey in training for a 4:59:59 or faster marathon time at http://vivalapinkowitz.tumblr.com/.
Malibu Marathon: Completed!
Dear Donors to Team Fox,
Recently, I was able to achieve a monumental goal. On November 11, 2012, I ran the Malibu International Marathon.
Originally, my mom and I had arrived in Manhattan and learned about the cancellation of the 2012 NYC Marathon due to complications from Hurricane Sandy. We, just like thousands of runners from across the world, were in complete shock.
Though, there are two types of people in this world: those who adapt to change, and those who stagnate. After remembering the words Hal Higdon, the running coach who designed my training plan, I knew it was time to find an alternate solution:
"Often, the logical thing to do is shrug and rationalize: 'There are more important things to life than racing 26 miles 385 yards.' That's true, but that doesn't make the decision to postpone your marathon any easier. What do you do? First, you cry. Then you begin to consider your options."
Coming home from NYC after the cancellation of the 2012 NYC Marathon certainly wasn't easy at first. It felt like a chapter in my life remained incomplete -- I knew that I had to run a marathon as soon as possible, and spontaneously decided upon Malibu as the destination per the recommendation of a couple great friends.
The flight itself brought back the same feelings of anticipation I felt on the way to NYC. "This is it. Now it's going to finally happen." After I arrived, I knew I chose the right place. Lush, rich vistas of blue oceans completely surrounded Malibu. It was the perfect athletic catharsis.
Though, what they don't tell you about Malibu is just how steep everything is. Since I was used to training on mostly flat terrain, my muscles felt extremely sore after just a quick 5K on an all-downhill course. Whether this was a mistake or not, I wasn't sure. But the soreness definitely carried over to race day!
After spending a few days hanging out in the city, and following a Herculean carb-load, I decided to get an early night. The pressure that I would be running a marathon in less than 24 hours was definitely sinking in.
3 AM -- I hear my bongo-drum cell phone alarm. I leap out of bed in anticipation. "It's time." This race was going to be like a performance after many dress rehearsals. I've run in the same long-distance outfit for weeks, and refined every detail down to a science. From the Gu's I intricately placed in my CamelBak to the way I pinned my bib on my compression running shirt, I felt prepared and excited.
4 AM -- It was still pitch black outside. My taxi driver looked like the Monopoly man. He made some pretty quirky but hilarious comments. I was sort of half-paying attention -- I couldn't help but think about the race before me.
4:30 AM -- There was a massive power outage. All of Malibu was entirely devoid of street lights. After a little bit of aimless driving, he dropped me off on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway. I decided to walk to a nearby parking lot, and rendezvoused with runners who were just as confused as I.
5 AM -- We carefully loaded the designated race-day school bus after thirty minutes of searching. We were finally on track to get to the starting line. Majestic shades of orange, pink, and light blue illuminated the sky as the sun rose. I made a friend, too!
6 AM -- It was rather chilly, and we decided to huddle together to stay warm. So much for California heat, right?
7 AM -- There was a delay. 30 more minutes to start the race felt like an eternity. In the meantime, I met quite a few people running Malibu who were also planning NYC.
7:30 AM -- After a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by an opera-trained runner, it began.
From the get-go, I jumped into a moment of clarity. I suppose that's how I'd best describe it mile-by-mile -- successfully filtering out every other thing that was going on my life to focus on the goal ahead.
And so, to my best recollection, these were my thoughts:
Mile 1 -- "Ow. My legs still hurt from that downhill run. I really hope this doesn't affect my run. Remember what Hal Higdon says, 'Start slow, finish fast.' It's cool if these guys pass me."
Mile 2 -- "Phew, the soreness is kind of going away. Lots of farm stuff here. At least the roads are flat!"
Mile 3 -- "5K done! Hard to believe this was the distance that used to be the goal for me. 23 miles to go."
Mile 4 -- "Pain is completely gone. Time for my first Gu. Hmm, I don't know if I'm just super hungry or if this actually tastes pretty good."
Mile 6 -- "10K done. This isn't so bad. Have a swig of water and keep it up."
Mile 8 -- "Still feeling pretty good. Oh, is that a hill?"
Mile 10 -- "Alright, so a couple hills, not too bad. Focus, Andrew. 16 miles to go."
Mile 12 -- "Starting to get a little winded, but this is nothing new. Remember, you've run much longer than this before. Keep calm, and keep running."
Mile 13 -- "Interesting that they shut down an overpass just for us. Oh hey, I just ran a half-marathon!"
Mile 14 -- "Wow. You can't beat that view of the ocean on the Pacific Coast Highway. What a beautiful place to run."
Mile 15 -- "How many hills can there be? Hopefully it will get a little flatter."
Mile 16 -- "Alright, hilly terrain until the end of the race. Got it. My feet are starting to hurt a little. Still, glad to have this distance under my belt."
Mile 18 -- "Oh, cool, the 5:15 pace group. A little slower than my sub-5 goal, but that's alright. I can probably hang with them until the end of the race. Let me stop by this water station with them."
Mile 20 -- "Ooooookay, definitely can't run that fast. At least I can keep it up through the water stations and sip on my CamelBak to make up a little lost time. Why do my feet hurt so bad? 6 miles to go!"
Mile 21 -- "MY FEET HURT SO BAD. I was not expecting this. Alright, I think I'll sit on the curb and suspend them in the air for a minute. You can do it, Andrew. 5 more miles until you are forever a marathoner."
Mile 22 -- "Where is that little mile-marker surfboard thing? Four. More. Miles."
Mile 23 -- "Is it just me, or did these miles just multiply in length? I don't know if I can do it. No, I know I can do it. Come on dude. Get up. Just run. Just go. Just get on your feet."
Mile 24 -- "It seriously feels like my toes are going to fall off of my foot. Come onnnn, you can do this!" (Suddenly, a lady hands me three ibuprofin from her fanny pack.) "Thanks, Aspirin fairy!"
Mile 25 -- "Feeling good again. Still incredibly tired. Running out of water. Slow but steady. Just one mile until you will forever be a marathoner. Keep. Going."
Mile 26 -- ".2 to go. You're almost there! Oh please finish. Is that my toe going numb? Keep working, legs."
Mile 26.1 -- "This finish line is mine."
Mile 26.2 -- (I raised my fist triumphantly. It was finally done.) "YEAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH BABY!!!!"
After months of training, I fantasized about what crossing the finish line would actually be like. Thinking I was going to be in the NYC Marathon, I imagined hundreds of people lined up at the sidelines, cheering my name, holding posters, and going crazy.
What I got, though, was something quite different. Since my time was a little slower than many experienced marathoners, the finish line was somewhat quiet. Although there were only a few people on the sidelines, I saw two of the most important ones: Shana and Marci. Seeing them there cheering for me, after waiting a few hours standing there for me to finish, provided me with all of the motivation I needed to finish strong.
From this experience, I learned that just because something doesn't turn out exactly how you plan, you have to adapt to change and keep moving strong. And sometimes, the change can bring something beautiful.
After clutching my medal in celebration, I proceeded to have one of the tastiest burgers of my entire life from a nearby food truck. Though, I'm sure anything would taste good if you've eaten nothing but Gu for the past half-day.
We later went to Nobu in Malibu, and let me tell you, that sushi was absolutely mind-blowing. The view was beautiful -- right by the shore. Being with friends and family, relaxing after a day of gut-wrenching physical hard-work -- it was the greatest thing ever.
I hopped back onto my flight from LAX. A goal 1.5 years in the making was finally completed. I embraced my parents once they picked me up at DFW airport, and I shared with them my wild ride.
Amazingly, the soreness was intense, but it wasn't unbearable. Though, I do think the expression "the night after your marathon will be the best sleep of your life" is a complete myth. I woke up a few times in the middle of the night -- partially due to physical soreness, and partially due to the psychological aspect of finally running the 26.2 miles.
And let me tell you, after I got back home, I felt like a celebrity for a little while. Everyone was coming up to me to ask about it, and it made me feel really appreciated. It made me feel like I accomplished something incredible.
Throughout this whole process, one key aspect of my journey was to show people that really anybody can do things that they deem to be impossible. I can confidently tell you that a few years ago, running a marathon was definitely not something I found conceivable. Yet, I decided to hush that voice of insecurity. I pushed through some of the unbearable 4-hour weekend runs while my friends were hanging out at bars. I waddled to class even though my legs sometimes felt like they were going to fall off.
The biggest lesson I've learned throughout this process is how crucial it is to work tirelessly in pursuit of a goal, ignore any naysayers, and find a way to make it happen. In the words of the dude who inspired me to start running, "If you want to do it, all you have to do is do it."
My success is very much a product of your unending encouragement and support. With your help, we've raised an incredible $5,435 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation that will be matched dollar-for-dollar. In the words of Todd Sherer, CEO of the Michael J. Fox Foundation:
"Our chances of a breakthrough are increasing each day. And it is because of the work and involvement of people like you. Please take heart in knowing that the funds that you have raised will help to tell the story about the cure for Parkinson’s disease."
Furthermore, I'm extremely excited to announce that I will have guaranteed entry into the 2013 NYC Marathon thanks to your help! I can't wait to finally run through all five burroughs with Team Fox next year.
On behalf of my Mom, Dad and myself, thank you so much for your support, and have a wonderful holiday season.
Update - 11/5/2012
Hey everyone! I just want to say thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Your contributions have helped me crush my fundraising goal, with the ultimate goal of crushing Parkinson's.
As you may have heard, the 2012 ING New York City Marathon was cancelled due to complications from Hurricane Sandy. But fear not! I will be running next weekend in the Malibu Marathon. Also, thanks to you all, I now have a guaranteed spot in the 2013 NYC Marathon!
Just as the victims of Sandy and Parkinson's patients must be resilient, so must I. Thank you for your help along the way.
Hi! I'm Andrew Pinkowitz. I will be running the ING New York City Marathon on November 4th, 2012, and will raise $5,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
So, why raise money for Team Fox? Parkinson's Disease has had a profound impact upon the life of my father, my family, and myself. I'd like to share with you our story.
The Decline - July 12th, 2009
I had been taking care of my dad for a week while my mom was out of town. For this week in particular, the nights proved challenging. His foot would cramp up nearly every hour, and we would roam around the house during the middle of the night in an attempt to get him feeling better. His condition was deteriorating, but I couldn't quite explain how.
When I arrived home from an uneventful day at work, I noticed that something was wrong. He was stiff and entirely immobile, sitting in a white chair. He was sweating profusely, and unable to speak.
My mom arrived home from her trip, and we promptly called 911. In a flash, firefighters zipped in the house, and began their inquisition regarding his medicine. I answered it to the best of my ability, having trouble focusing due to the chaotic atmosphere.
To my right, my dad was being lifted into a stretcher helpless and mute. The shock and anguish I felt was incomparable to any past experience.
Before I knew it, he was in the back of an ambulance. I stood on the curb, entirely silent, watching it gradually fade into the sunset. My life then took a dark turn; no longer was anything certain.
Hours later, I visited him at the hospital. My mom intentionally sent me to get dinner with family friends, but it was no use I couldn't think of anything else. After frantically parking at Plano Medical Center and being escorted to my dad's room, I saw a dreary picture. This man, the master of social interaction, my role model, my Superman, was instead weak and frail.
The doctors came into the room. They asked him what year it was, who is the President of the United States, and other questions but they all were to no avail. It was then that they tried their last resort.
"Who is this person?" one of the doctors said, pointing at me.
With his mouth slightly agape, he proudly declared, "Andrew."
Tears streamed down my face. I knew there was hope. Regardless, it remained a long and arduous journey.
The Ascent - August, 2009
My dad was soon transferred to UT Southwestern hospital for further insight into his condition. After numerous tests, and multiple prognoses, he was diagnosed with "Parkinson's Plus"; a combination of traditional Parkinsonian symptoms combined with a rare, undiagnosable component. His present medication caused a physiological crash, of sorts; a shutdown of his immune system. Thankfully, we caught it just in time.
My mother would drive down to the hospital every day to be with him. Managing to work full-time and still make key treatment decisions, I was able to witness first-hand just how incredible she was. She stopped at nothing to ensure the best for my father and for myself. We had to keep going.
After carefully administered medication, and many months of rehab, my dad rebuilt the muscles in his atrophied legs and began to walk again. He, though still affected by many symptoms, is able to live a satisfying and fulfilling life with my mom and me.
Every day is an improvement, but every day is also a challenge. However, his unrelenting optimism and contagious, amiable spirit gives both my mother and me the motivation to keep going each day.
It's for this reason that I'm running the ING New York Marathon 2012 with Team Fox of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, so that one day Parkinson's can be eradicated in its entirety. Developments are happening fast regarding this field, with major breakthroughs occurring on a regular basis.
But why the New York City Marathon? Running a marathon has always been a dream of mine. Rather, it's been something better than a dream; it's a previous impossibility that I am making a reality. I've always been one to dream big, so I figured that I might as well go for the best marathon in the world.
I wasn't always satisfied with my body image. To fix this, on May 15th, 2011, I started a blog. Tired of being out-of-shape and larger than I preferred, and after being inspired by some friends and fellow bloggers, I decided to make a change.
My teenage years had been filled with failed attempts to get in-shape. After sporadically attending the gym and seeing no real results, I went for a different, more structured approach. On that day, I made my first blog post, began Couch-to-5K, and soon after joined Weight Watchers for Men. After months of training, I have since run numerous 5Ks, a 10K and ran the Big D Texas Half-Marathon this past April. The New York Marathon will epitomize the hard work, determination, and perseverance I've put in to changing the direction of my life.
With accumulated small changes came great things. I have lost over 60 pounds, ignited a love for running, and began a journey of self-betterment. It is now that I wish to pursue a lofty goal for a cause I believe in.
Fundraising for Team Fox
My fundraising goal for the New York City Marathon is $5,000. Any and all contributions would be ineffably appreciated; you can help make my dreams, those of my family, and those from Parkinson's patients around the world, come true.
To make a donation, please click the "Donate to Andrew!" button at the top right-hand corner, and follow the on-screen instructions. Any and all contributions are greatly appreciated.
For more information about my training for the marathon, please visit my blog at http://vivalapinkowitz.tumblr.com/. Thank you so much for your help.