Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Nuese River Bridge Run - a message to the event director


THANKS! First of all it was great to meet you. Secondly, I could tell that a lot of hard work by a lot of people made this event the success and enjoyment it was. I wish I could thank them all, but I don't know who they all are.

I always contact the race director before entering a running event because it's their decision to let handbikes participate. In other words, it's a privilege to take part in your event. I don't forget that and I thank you for that privilege. I'm looking forward to doing this again next year.

Since beginning handbiking seriously about a year ago, folks like you have endowed me with so many such privileges, but chiefly, the chance to meet and be inspired by some of the greatest people in the world, these local runners. Each has a story, each is a hero, and all inspire me. Again, I thank you for the opportunity to meet new friends and be inspired by so may wonderful folks.

This event was special for me for several reasons. First it was a 10K PR for me. But mainly, by sheer coincidence, it allowed me to re-connect with a high school friend whom I haven't seen in 33 years. The friend had been through a similar disability as mine with a quite different outcome. We immediately connected on a number of levels, but chiefly, our enthusiastic outlook on life. We're already planning training and future events.

As for me and my story; your event (and next year's event) is part of a 2008 mile journey that I call 2008 Miles of Hope. I'm handbiking over 2008 miles to conclude with the Marine Marathon in 2008. The ride is dedicated to and is raising money for wounded warriors through the great organization Hope For The Warriors. More about my cause and about me can be learned by reading through this blog.

In this life I take nothing for granted. A year ago I would have never dreamed I'd have crossed that bridge. For the rest of my life I'll know I did.

Those things I cannot achieve
Are only those things I cannot dream.

-Let's Roll


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Get me to the Race On Time!

COUNTDOWN-The Marine Corps Half Marathon

09.28.2007, 10:00 AM – It’s going to be a busy day. 4:00 AM is going to be here WAY too soon. Tomorrow I’m lucky enough to participate in the Marine Corps Half Marathon at Camp Lejeune, NC. I pick up my race packet today so tomorrow morning won’t be quite so hectic before the race. A few errands to run first. I just finished a blog post. Oh darn, I’m going to be late for my appointment with Hope for the Warriors at Camp Lejeune.

11:00 AM – How many times can a cell phone ring in an hour’s commute?

11:30 AM – Met with Robin at Home For Warriors Headquarters. Those folks are awesome.

1:00 PM – Just reconnoitered the race route in my van. Don’t want any surprises. Right now it’s blistering hot. Didn’t anyone tell the weatherman that it is almost October? I saw Dan on his handbike going around the course. Man, he looks hot. Now I AM starting to worry. I’ve been looking forward to this race for six months. I hope it cools down or I will be toast.

2:00 PM – Picked up my race packet and met with Mike, the race director. A great guy. Sorry, Mike if I have so many questions, but this is only my second half marathon.

3:00 PM – A quick haircut

3:30 PM – Later than I thought. I won’t have time for that big plate of pasta for lunch I was looking forward to. Maybe we can cook up some spaghetti when I get home. I called my teammate, no answer.

4:00 PM – It has been a long day and I’m starting to get tired. Sure wish I had more than six hours sleep last night and the night before and the night before….yawn… I pull into McDonald’s, park in back, close my eyes, and take a nap.

4:09 PM -- The noise of a big truck wakes me up, maybe I better move on. OH NO! The van won’t start and I can smell smoke. Who am I going to find to fix this van this late on a Friday afternoon? I get on the cell phone and start calling every auto mechanic I know. Neil even calls another mechanic on my behalf and offers to come and get me in his mini van, thanks. It’s starting to look like Saturday is going to be spent replacing an alternator rather than half-marathoning. Am I ever bummed!

4:30 PM – Merchant’s Tire in Havelock says they will wait for me. I make arrangements for a tow truck.

5:15 PM – Finally get up with my teammate and ask her to meet me at McDonald’s and now it is just a waiting game. I am hoping my troubles are due to the alternator even though we just had a rebuilt one put in a few months ago.

6:00 PM – Teammate arrives. I grab a quick bite at McD’s. I was sure looking forward to pasta. The wrecker shows up. Off we go to the tire store.

7:00 PM – We roll into Merchant’s Tire. The wrecker arrives right behind us. This is their normal quitting time. They really want to go home; PLEASE – PLEASE - PLEASE. Did I mention that I had been looking forward to this race for six months? They agree to change the alternator. Yeah! My teammate and I take off for the parts store while the mechanic starts removing the bad alternator.

7:20 PM – We’re back with the new alternator. The old one is out. It’s starting to look like we might pull this off after all!

9:00 PM – We’re back on the road again. THANKS Brian and Miguel!!! You’ll never know how much this means to me!

9:30 PM – Back home. So much to do to get ready. Darn it’s late! How many times have I said that already today? Let’s get started.

11:00 PM – Finally in bed!

10.29.2007, 12:00 AM – Will I ever go to sleep?

2:00 AM – I can’t sleep! I keep thinking about this race.

3:00 AM – Zzzzzzzz

4:00 AM – Zzzzzzzz

4:20 AM – The alarm rings. Oh darn! I wanted to get up at 4:00.

5:00 AM – 60 degrees outside. The forecast is for cool weather. Yeah! I stuff down a smoothie, a banana, milk, & coffee.

5:30 AM – On the road. This is the first chance to go over the course with my teammate. She’s going to ride the bike paths on her bicycle to meet me at miles 4, 8, & 12.

6:30 AM –We ride the course my teammate will take so she knows where to meet me.

7:00 AM – It’s getting late (again). We get to the race start. Let’s get the handbike on the ground and get ready.

7:30 AM – Typical pre-race confusion. I wolf down a Snickers bar.

7:45 AM – They’re calling runners to the starting line. Where are my sunglasses? There’s Dan and Cory. Wow! There will be three hand bikers today.

8:00 AM – Let’s Roll! We’re off! Man! This came so close to NOT happening! There goes Cory and Dan…I’ll not see them again until the finish. Oh well…like I always say, “I’m not a racer, I’m a participant.” The weather is PERFECT! And wow, I’ve even got a little energy. I’m gonna yank those cranks! All those runners that passed me off the starting line…I’m slowly passing them! No way will this last. But I’m having fun while it does! Marines yell in encouragement. Marines are undoubtedly the greatest people in the world.

8:30 AM – A few hills have had their toll and I’m starting to settle into a manageable pace. The fast guys and gals are all gone and I’m blending in with a group that I’m starting to become familiar with. We even get a few conversations started. Even a little friendly banter. I take a ribbing about the hills.

9:00 AM – Hey, that 10K split went by rather quickly (for me). Maybe this is going to be good. I stop beside my teammate and throw down a PowerAde. I’m off.

9:30 AM – My teammate is hanging nearby on the bike trails. That is a tremendous boost. I’m coming up to a water table. I ask the Marine to throw water on me. Man that feels good. Headwinds and hills are starting to slow me down. My teammate cuts off for our rendezvous at mile 12. Marines yell, “Ooh rah” as the headwind slows me down.

9:45 AM – Should have drunk another PowerAde. I’m fading. The pasta dinner would have been nice. Maybe even some sleep. That wind feels nice but it’s slowing me down to a crawl. Shift down. Grind.

9.50 AM – There’s some crowds. I must be nearing the finish. I look at the time. HOLY COW! Do you think there’s any chance I can beat 2 hours? Shift down. YANK! I hear my teammate’s voice, “Go!”

9:57:17 AM – I cross the line. YEE HA! Whooda thunk! There’s Dan and Cory. What a GREAT day!

Life has taught me that: 1) Things are never hopeless, no matter how bad they seem. Jimmy V. put it aptly, “Don’t give up; don’t EVER give up.” 2) There are still saints out there in spite of what you see on the news. So just when my plight seemed helpless, the folks at Merchant’s Tire put forth a little “can-do” and enabled me and my teammate to pull it all together.

Our Nation’s wounded warriors haven’t given up hope. They’ve sacrificed their limbs and flesh to protect your liberty and mine. As they begin their adjustment to new lives with disabilities they continue to display dedication and resolve that awes me.

My campaign, 2008 Miles Of Hope, is dedicated to the wounded warriors. With the help of my beloved teammate, my wife, and with a yellow hand bike, I plan to: 1) ride over 2008 miles before October, 2008 in training and events like this, 2) raise $26.2 thousand for Hope For The Warriors, and 3) complete the Marine Corps Marathon in October, 2008.

Be a saint. Help a hero. And help me along my campaign. Please make a generous tax-deductible donation to Hope For The Warriors. You can use the link below to make a secure credit card donation:


If you would prefer to send a check instead, please print the form at the link below. Make your check payable to Hope For The Warriors. Mail your donation to the address on the form.

Donation Form

Thanks and check back often.
-Let’s Roll

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Time to be Proud, Time to be Humble

Today, I finished the Marine Corps Half Marathon at Camp Lejeune in 1:57:17, a feat I am quite proud of. A year ago, such an accomplishment was beyond my dreams. Even after considerable training, just to cross the finish line is an accomplishment that makes me proud. To add the privilege of finishing this event beside some of this Nation’s most revered warriors was truly awesome. But to be honored by running beside some of those who have sacrificed their blood and limbs for your and my freedom is a inspiration that cannot be described in words.

We welcome tax-deductible gifts to Hope for the Warriors that are in turn used for their many wounded warrior projects. Please visit my donations page:

2008 Miles of Hope

Learn more about ways to help wounded warriors:

Hope for the Warriors

Those things I cannot achieve
are only those things I cannot dream.

Let's Roll

Friday, September 28, 2007

You Rock, I Roll!

Ah yes! Nothing could be finer than getting up at 4:00 in the morning, grabbing a Snickers bar for breakfast, enjoying live rock and roll music, seeing 13.1 miles of scenic Virginia Beach waterfront, and spending some quality time with 17000 other runners at the Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathon!
Except the quality time with family and friends!

AND doing it for an AWESOME cause:
2008 Miles of Hope

Thursday, September 6, 2007

About 2008 Miles of Hope

Three things are coalescing in my life at this point in time. It seemed natural to tie them together into a single personal initiative that I call 2008 Miles of Hope. I hope that you will enjoy following my progress as much as I will enjoy the journey. So what is 2008 Miles of Hope all about? Again, three things.

1. 2008 will be the 30th anniversary of the accident that left me a C6 quadriplegic. What can I say? At fifty-something, call it a mid-life crisis, or what ever you want. It’s time to quit neglecting physical activity and to get more physically fit. I enjoy life. But to enjoy life more, I want to be stronger and healthier.

2. I’ve always wanted to complete a marathon. Long before my disability, I admired these long distance athletes. I always loved the outdoors. In my youth, I enjoyed swimming, waterskiing, sailing, hiking, scuba diving, canoeing, camping, hunting, and fishing. Running was never an enduring passion, but the thought of a long distance feat such as a marathon was always alluring. My disability seemed to end hope of such an accomplishment.

When T- did her first marathon, I got to watch. I saw handcyclists tackling the hills of Arlington in the Marine Corps Marathon. I said, “I think I could do that.” That (not well-thought out) idea turned into a challenge from T-. So I got a handbike and started training and have since been having the time of my life. When I entered my first 10K, a benefit for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, I was solidly hooked. I was going to start having a lot of fun fulfilling T-’s challenge!

But ever since her challenge, the images in my mind of the thousands who were running for various charities kept evoking a question in my mind: “how can I make this into not just an event…but a cause.” Which segues well into my third endeavor.

3. I have a deep gratitude towards our Nation’s service members and their families for their dedication and sacrifices while fighting the Global War on Terror. In particular, because of my disability, I am sensitive to the challenges facing thousands of brave men and women who have been wounded while protecting our liberties. I call myself a grateful beneficiary of their sacrifices. I’ve resolved to help.

Earlier this year, while looking for a running event, I found Hope for the Warriors™. I learned about all the great things this grassroots group does, such as was featured on this NBC news feature: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18043133/ . I immediately emailed my wife and said, “THIS is our cause!”

The mission of Hope for the Warriors™ is to enhance quality of life for US Service Members and their families nationwide who have been adversely affected by injuries or death in the line of duty. Hope for the Warriors™ actively seeks to ensure that the sacrifices of wounded and fallen warriors and their families are never forgotten nor their needs unmet, particularly with regard to the short and long-term care of the severely injured. Hope For The Warriors™ is a civilian organization, with 501(c)(3) non-profit status, is not a government agency and is solely supported by the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations in support and appreciation of those who have sacrificed in the name of freedom. Federal Tax Id#20-5182295.

I joined Team Wounded Warrior to support this great organization. My goal: to handbike over 2008 miles between now and October 2008 when I plan to complete the Marine Corps Marathon. In the meantime, I plan to take part in various running events to raise $26.2 thousand dollars for Hope for the Warriors™. So, it all comes together with what I call 2008 Miles of Hope

Visit Hope For The Warriors™ at http://www.hopeforthewarriors.org.

Help our wounded warriors on their road to recovery by supporting 2008 Miles of Hope. Give generously. You can donate easily by using my donations page at

Friday, July 13, 2007

2008 Miles of Hope

Let’s Roll, America. First of all (everybody asks): I’m NOT a warrior. I am a grateful beneficiary of the sacrifices and dedication of thousands of brave men and women who have answered the call to duty during our nation’s times of need.

I am a citizen of the greatest nation on earth. I enjoy liberties that citizens of other countries can only dream of. Americans take more freedom for granted than most people on this earth will ever enjoy. However, that freedom comes with a price. In this country, that price has been paid again and again with the blood of heroes and the sacrifices of their families.

Remember their sacrifices. Please help these brave men and women on their road to recovery and rehabilitation. It is my goal to raise at least $26.2 thousand for Hope for the Warriors™, a civilian organization, with 501(c)(3) non-profit status, whose mission is to enhance quality of life for US Service Members and their families nationwide who have been adversely affected by injuries or death in the line of duty. Hope for the Warriors™ actively seeks to ensure that the sacrifices of wounded and fallen warriors and their families are never forgotten nor their needs unmet, particularly with regard to the short and long-term care of the severely injured. To learn more about this great organization, please visit their website at http://www.hopeforthewarriors.org.

With the support of my beloved teammate, my wife, I plan to handbike over 2008 miles between now and October 2008 to raise money to support projects undertaken by Hope for the Warriors™. I plan to do this in a combination of training, running events, and fundraising rides, culminating with the 2008 Marine Corps Marathon. I will be participating in various 10Ks, half-marathons, and hopefully some marathons over flatter terrain as I build my own strength and endurance to train for the 2008 Marine Corps Marathon.

As an American with a disability, I understand the challenges that face these brave men, women, and their families. I also find their personal stories of triumph over adversity to be my motivation. There is no better place in the world to have to live with a disability than the United States. We are blessed with technology, opportunities, and compassion that are available nowhere else.

Please help America’s heroes with your tax-deductible contribution to this great organization. Give generously. Our nation’s warriors have given selflessly for you. Help those who have fallen in their time of need. You can easily donate by using the website below: