Sunday, September 6, 2009

Teammate ROCKS Virginia Beach!


It’s been a while since I have posted a blog but well, “it’s been a toim,” as they say in down east Carteret County. We have been busy with the Shamrock Marathon and 8K and the Cherry Point Half Marathon in March, the Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon and the Lookout Rotary 10K in April, the Run for the Warriors 10K in May, and the Beaufort Road Race 10K in July. My training was lagging in the spring. I was plagued by disappointing races until I discovered a problem with my handbike after the Shamrock.

I found one of the lateral supports that holds my trunk centered in my seat was out of adjustment. I was literally hanging out the side of my seat. When we corrected the problem I did a great job in the Cherry Point half and had some amazing workouts subsequently. After the Run For The Warriors, the spring races were behind me and I put the handbike in the shop for some needed repairs. Unfortunately that killed my workouts for about three weeks.

I found myself playing catch up to get back in shape for the Beaufort Road Race during the heat of the summer. In August I was able to increase my training tempo to about 80 miles per week by working out in the dark and by dousing myself with tons of ice and icewater during my daylight workouts. I’ve become pretty familiar with the sunrise recently. I knew I was pretty much ready for the Rock ‘n’ Roll half last week when I did my fastest climb yet up the Atlantic Beach Bridge.

July brought good news when the Achilles Track Club gave me a seed in the New York City Marathon. Yeah, I’m in! In August my teammate and I drove to New York to recon the course. Five boroughs, five bridges, many hills, and a gazillion potholes are going to make the NYC my biggest challenge yet. I think the folks that paved the Wilson Bridge are the same ones that paved the surface of the moon.

Every weekend an inspiration

I say that one has only to open one’s eyes to be inspired. So it has been for me with my teammate’s running. Last year she trained for the Rock ‘n’ Roll but had to forgo her entry when she missed about six weeks of training because of a leg ailment. This year, she began increasing her distance to run 10Ks in the Lookout Rotary Spring Road Race, the Run For The Warriors, and the Beaufort Road Race. She regularly ran the Beach Run Series while I worked out on the AB Bridge.

Early in the summer she built her stamina to run ten miles on weekends. She kept up a brutal training regimen in the heat of July and August. She was clearly going to be ready for her first half marathon at this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Half. This event has become a family favorite for us. My niece, T- and I have run the race together the last two years. My teammate has been an active participant and supporter. She would leapfrog along the course on her bike to meet us with energy drinks, food, ice, and camera support. This year she was out there on the course.

A close one

We were sweating it out the last days before the race. While I thought she was registered last fall, I checked her registration several times to confirm that I had registered her. It turns out that I was actually looking at last year’s registration. I had never registered her. When I broke the news to her, I wasn’t sure if she was going to do cartwheels in elation or hang me in disgust. In the end we were able to register her at the expo and everything was OK.

I had secretly invited the sons and the grandkids. They wanted to surprise her but on Saturday all the phone calls were making her suspicious. When finally she demanded to know, “Who was that?” I had to fess up, “That’s your cheering squad!” The kids were hiding outside the motel door.

Race morning we were up at 3:45 and off to downtown VA Beach. I had the choice of starting with the other wheelers or seeding in with my Teammate in corral 21. I wanted to be with her to enjoy her finish so I chose to do the race with her.

I saw my friends David Swaim and One Leg Dan at the start.

As we made our way back through the corrals, we found T- and her friend MO.

A running machine

She had trained at about a 13 minute pace during the summer. I was afraid by rolling with her I’d be making my teammate run too fast. But throughout the race she was consistently nailing 12-minute miles. I think the cooler weather was giving her an extra boost. With a few bathroom stops and a couple of walking breaks, she averaged a 13-minute pace, finishing in 2:49.

To put that in perspective, of about 16000 finishers, there were only 104 women in her age bracket. Of those 104, she finished 37th. Not bad for grandma! There are not many women her age that can do what she did. I told her sons, 40 and 42, "It’s official, your mom can outrun you both!"

Hope For The Warriors

Hope For The Warriors
was an official charity partner with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon this year. One of the runners spotlighted in the official race program was a Team Hope For The Warriors runner. We met another Team runner in our corral and I ran into her several times on the course. Throughout the race people saw the Hope For The Warriors placard on my handbike and shouted in support. Many said things like, “Thank you for what you’re doing!” For my teammate and I, it is an honor to represent Hope For The Warriors and raise money for their great programs.

I’m handbiking 2008 miles in training, races, and fundraising events again this year. I plan to complete back-to-back marathons, the Marine Corps Marathon and the New York City Marathon this year. And I continue with my goal of raising $26.2 thousand for Hope For The Warriors.

So far, we have brought in $18,000. Grateful Americans across this great nation have been overwhelmingly generous and supportive of our cause. Your support is needed, too. Please visit our secure donation site and make an online donation.

2008 Miles of Hope

Or download our donation form and send it with a check to the address on the form.

Donation form.pdf

Please show your gratitude for the service and the sacrifice of our wounded warriors. Read about the programs offered by Hope For The Warriors. Make a donation.

They sacrificed selflessly for your freedom.