For the last days I've been heartsick seeing the devastation in Japan.
I have always found the Japanese people to be friendly and willing to help a (confused) gaijin no matter how far out of their way they need to go.
They'll tolerate terrible abuse of their grammar and still complement you on your language prowess.
Luckily all the people we know are safe, and their loved ones are safe, so far. But so many are hurting and there is so much work to do and problems to solve.
It's hard to worry about marathons and paces when you know this is happening just across the ocean..the world gets smaller and smaller every year.
Update: Lynne has suggested people that want to help can donate at www.runforjapan.com (hosted by Virgin)..if you click on the logo you can see what it's about.
I've seen some people on the internet ask why they should give to Japanese relief efforts when Japan is such a large industrialized nation...the answer is that in a disaster such as this organizations such as the Red Cross can really give a boost to the people effected right on the ground...they do this kind of thing all the time.
Just because Japan is a rich country there are also plenty of people that don't have a safety net in Japan, especially in small towns and countryside and these people can really use help.
Ask yourself what you would want if this had happened in your town. Do you think our federal/local goverments would be all you need to help you? Ask the people that were in the Astrodome during Katrina. The Japanese goverment is not perfect (as we've seen from the managment of the Nuclear crisis) and so I think the people there need outside sources of help too.