Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Short Reflection on 2012: A Big Chapter Closed

I went out for a 90 minute run this morning and tried to get my arms around 2012.  The picture above is how DailyMile captures the past 12 months and there is certainly a story within the miles. The bigger story, though, is outside of the miles and I will get there in a bit. For the workouts that actually made it to DailyMile, I totaled 2,667.19 miles.  Within those totals you could capture the following:
  • Only 21.9 miles were from swimming.  This in part is attributed to my hatred of swimming but it also ties to the fact I did not have any races in 2012 which I guess brings us full circle back to my hatred of swimming.  I will always run….whether I have a race or not……but swimming only makes the calendar when it has to.
  • The first 3 months of the year were very light from a workout perspective.  This is because my wife, Crea, was doing all the work with Team in Training as she prepared for Lavaman 2012.
  • The last 3 months of the year make up close to half of my total miles and if you add one more month, September thru December account for 58% of my total 2012 mileage.  This directly relates to my decision to train in honor of Ryan Mattingly.  I am racing 216.8 miles for this 19 year old who is currently battling Non-Hodgins Lymphoma.  The first 26.2 miles are in the record books so what is left is the American River 50 in April (my first ultra) and Ironman Coeur d’Alene in June.  As I said at my post announcing this plan (216.8 Miles For Ryan), I literally have no time aspirations with these events. My goal is to stay healthy, raise as much money as I can and smile as much as possible on the race course. On that note, if you would like to donate, my fundraising page should be listed above but given some recent technical difficulties, I am listing the link HERE AS WELL.

These items within the miles are the easy things to decipher.  The more challenging things require a look deep within.  What was really important this year? What am I proud of and what am I not proud of?
  • What I am most disappointed about is something that is always a point of contention with myself. I struggle to let my important friends know they are important to me.  I go through my busy life hoping they know but I failed to make the proper amount of time to tell them and to show them and to hang out with them. I would say this fault is not necessarily because I am a bad person.  It is because of tough decisions I have to make and you could argue it is because I am a good person…..at least I like to think so.  My family comes first and for the sake of this comment, my family means my immediate family…..wife, son, daughters, Mom, and, of course, my wife’s family. Because they come first, my job has to come first.  My job takes up a big part of my week. My job and the hours I put in are solely with my family in mind.  I do not choose long days because I choose work over family……..I work hard because of my family. The hours that remain during the week are split among actual family time, charity and working out…..the latter two largely go hand in hand. I could come home and go straight to meet friends and get in a run or a swim but that would cost me time actually seeing my family during the week so I make the tough decision to swim on my own after my children go to bed…..hop on the trainer in the middle of the night or before they wake up or hit the streets at those same odd hours to run in the darkness.  This brings us to the weekends.  This is where I must do a better job making time for friends.  I again could work out with the many friends that are running or riding or swimming on Saturday and Sunday but so far, I have not found a way to escape my routine of running very early to complete my long run by 9am or beginning my rides as the sun crests my garage. I stress about starting too late and missing my children’s soccer games or baseball games.  I do not want to be the Dad that has to learn about his children’s milestones via photographs and Facebook updates.  I want to be there for them and this requires tough decisions.  This being said, I do need to manage weekend time better. My friends……….which I still hope they consider me………..are amazing people.  I am better because of them and I need some time with them. 
  • I mentioned above my wife competing in Lavaman 2012 as part of Team in Training.  That was a huge moment for my family. My wife stared cancer in the face two times.  On both occasions she came out the victor and this race was a testament to that.  She competed and completed an Olympic triathlon on a very hot day in Kona and, along the way raised over $10,000 and was able to podium as a top 10 fundraiser for the event………..keeping the Wilno streak alive at 4 years for one of us being a top fundraiser.  I could not tell you Crea’s time which shows that your race time is sometimes meaningless.  In my eyes, Crea won the race on April 1, 2012.
  • What the miles logged at DailyMile do not show is the hundreds of thousands of dollars the Westside Marathon team raised to beat cancer as part of the Summer 2012 season.  Some remarkable people came into my life.  We taught each other a lot along the way and in June……in either San Diego or Alaska…….these amazing people completed their journey of either 13.1 or 26.2 miles and brought us closer to finding a cure for such a horrible disease.
  • Most people know I have raised a lot of money to fight cancer and that I consider myself blessed to be a coach for Team in Training.  What most people do not know is one of the things I am most proud of about my cancer fighting is that I started it all during a time of great personal financial hardship.  I could have walked away from the world and got selfish but I took a different approach and tried to give when I literally had nothing to give.  On this note, a huge part of 2012 for my family was overcoming this chapter of the story.  I did not win the lottery.  I cannot retire tomorrow and travel the world.  I did however end a very long and painful journey that I rarely speak of.  I will not go into much detail here…….I may never go into much detail (perhaps if I write that book)…..but the basics also tie to the story I have shared many times.  It is the story about my Dad and my daughter and my wife. The emotional hardships are well chronicled here but I never speak of the financial hardships surrounding it all.  It is not the medical bills like you might think tied to my Dad being ill or my daughter passing away or my wife being diagnosed with cancer.  Truthfully it is all a blur at times but, in a time of great duress, I made some bad business decisions.  I thought I could fix things and instead made them worse. I had people take advantage of me and I was not in a financial position to fight back with a lawsuit.  At times when people tried to help, the real estate market crashed and made things all that much worse. I also found myself in a position of ‘wanting’ to take care of my Mom.  I am an only child.  My father passing away left her alone to fend for herself without much financial security.  My Dad did a million things right…….this is one situation where he could have done better but I like to think he knew I would find a way.  I specifically say ‘wanting’ here because I need my Mom to know I did not step in to help out of obligation but out of love and appreciation for all the sacrifices she made for me in her life. The short conclusion to all of this is that once upon a time I woke up every day not knowing how I would keep a roof over my family’s head.  I literally thought and often had visions of my family living in a box on the streets of Los Angeles.  At any moment in time, with one tiny wrong move, the bank would come for my house.  I had to borrow from credit cards and get creative so the bank would not even want my house if the time came and I had to seek some help from friends.  I am not talking about $25,000 of credit card debt…….more like half a million problems hanging over my head beyond normal expenses and mortgages.  It took years and years of fighting back.  It took some tough and risky career moves.  It took hope and it took strength and it took an inability to give up. I felt like a failure to my family.  That was the hardest part….looking in the mirror and feeling like I let everyone down. It was tough to live with but all I could do was push forward and this year, I closed the door on the story.  In my own small way, it was the end of the Wilno Rags to Riches story.  It is why I sat in a theater all alone watching The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith.  Times were dark then.  I watched that movie alone and cried my eyes out not knowing where the light at the end of the tunnel would lead my family and I.  My wife could have given up on me.  She did not and I am grateful.  My friends could have turned their back on me.  They did not and while I can financially pay all of them back……..I can never truly repay any of them for their generosity
  • Another big event of the year were the struggles of my son, which I talk about in the Post Running from Ritalin.  Second grade was tough.  My son was in the principal’s office every week if not every day.  It was a battle and ultimately my wife had to quit her job…………a tough financial decision but a very easy decision……..to be with Jaden at school every day helping him to see some success.  My son now finds himself in the third grade.  He is not perfect.  He is the quirky kid that struggles socially but he is doing much better. He has a teacher that will allow Jaden to be more of himself rather than try to fit him into a mold of how all 3rd graders should act.  He has been to the principal’s office one time this year…….just once and that is a huge step forward.  We are not out of the woods.  My son is crazy smart but still has focus issues.  As a wise friend once told me though……it is not as if  he is just drifting in class……..it is that he is fully present elsewhere.

The year was full of many other special and precious moments.  It would take a book to list them all so I am going to cut off this post for now.  To all of those a part of my life in 2012……..in real life or virtually……..I am grateful for you…..truly grateful.   It is now on to 2013 where I want to be a better person, a better Dad, a better friend, a better cancer fighter, a better employee (although I do pretty good here boss!), a better inspiration to others, a better motivator, a better trail runner, a better s’more maker.  I hope 2013 is everything you want and hope for. In sharing this wish, I must also tell you this………behind want and hope has to come a lot of drive and hard work and goal setting.  What you have accomplished through 12/31/2012 has no bearing on what you can accomplish in 2013.  Set your goals very high.  Set out to achieve what you want…….not what you think you are capable of.  If I can help you, reach out to me because I will do everything I can to try and make a difference.


  1. Sounds like 2012 was a heck of a year for you. I hope 2013 treats you well; you deserve it.

  2. AMAZING!! SO SO SO PROUD OF YOU GUYS!! Sending you lots of Love, Health, Happiness, and Miles for 2013 :)