Brent Hoplins of the LA Daily wrote something that caught my eye, Paul Richards - 6 months ago, that eighth-grader on the right began his quest to run today's LA Marathon, he started running one minute, walking 30 seconds. Then two minutes at a dash, 60 seconds slowing down. Three miles, then five, then more. He built it up to 18 miles. "I'm nervous, very nervous," he said. "I've got dreams that I'm doing it, and I'm really tired. I'm sure it'll hurt." His father, Jeff, said it's been a challenge for Paul, who has autism. But pushed by his teammates at Rosemont Middle School, Paul kept at it and built up his stamina. Running three times a week - after school and early each Saturday morning - the budding marathoner now has no trouble taking laps around the Rose Bowl. "I find just driving 18 miles is pretty painful to me," Jeff Richards said. "His grades have improved, his self-discipline has improved, and his physique has gotten better. "At first it was tough, but he started building up his strength, and now he's doing wonderfully." Getting the idea himself, Paul asked his father if he could run to raise money for the AbilityFirst Paul Weston Center, a Woodland Hills-based facility that offers programs for the developmentally disabled. In the final days, Paul has psyched himself up, convincing himself that the nervousness will fade as the mileage increases. "I know I can do it," he said. "I've just got to train my brain to say `when I do it,' not `if I do it."'[end] I'm down with this kid - that's exactly the attitude you have to have to "do this running thing". I've blogged about "Running with Autism" before - it's a great read if you've never seen it. However one thing I've never blogged about before is that fellow there on the left whose name is Ishmael - it is through him that I learned about running with autism. The more I learned - the more I was inspired in my marathon training - so after the race I sent him my '07 NYC Marathon medal in appreciation. I've never met or even spoken to Ishmael ( his parents sent me that photo) but I hear he's had more than a few shining moments in the Special Olympics. Please check that link - there are local programs everywhere. That's something I really have to stop putting off and just do - volunteer in some capacity leveraging this running thing thing that comes natural & easy for me - with others for whom it is a bit more of a challenge. Sooner rather than later - I hope to have personal change in that department - have a great day - it's gorgeous in NYC - I'm going to clock 10 miles in Central Park!