I was asked to be the emcee for the Inspiration Dinner on Friday night. I was truly honored to be asked and humbled by the experience. Speaking to a room full of survivors, heroes, their families and fellow TnT athletes....I only hope I conveyed the message and information needed. Most importantly,I wanted to inspire them and fire them up for their respective events on Saturday.
The event, beyond my speech, and our honored speaker went extremely well. Adrienne "Daisy" Zonneville who was the WNC honored hero captivated all present. The event is dedicated to her and her battle...more later.
So after a great inspiration dinner, it was rack time.....unfortunately, not a lot of sleep was to be had....so 5AM came quickly.
Wake up and off to meet the team. There were 3 TnT teams at the Kiawah events, a total of 205 TnT'ers out there. We raised $525 thousand, and the top 10 fundraisers raised over $62 thousand themselves.....amazing
with over 3000 folks doing the races, about 2/3rds doing the half, the starting line was crowded, but energy packed. at 8 Am we head out and it looks to be a promising event. after mile 1,which was a bit slow due to the crowds, I slipped in with a few guys who were pacing their friend and joined them for the first several miles. along the way - it was an interesting start...dodging some walkers, looking out for alligators in the marshes - yes alligators - and the recurring "Go TEAM" shouts - kept us moving along nicely. The morning was chilly, but not bad at all. Thanks in part to the new Craft hat and gloves that arrived the previous day. kept em on the entire race...light enough to do so - even after I warmed up but not so much to over heat....even though I violated one of my own rules - not wearing something brand new without washing it first, i was soooo glad I brought that gear with me
About mile 5, we saw the first runner coming back our way, the leader for the marathon....I checked my watch and was like "he had to cut the course somewhere...he is flying....sub 40 minutes for his 8 miles" but no...no cheating on his part (for the record - that same guy won....the MARATHON...so he kept flying)
Make the turn at 6 and as we're heading back, I see more TnT folks coming out...Go TEAM resounds throughout the crowd...with the energy from the TnT crowds, my pace picks up and we hit mile 8, mile 9.....and then....
there is a sharp stabbing pain on the inside of my right ankle...oh no. what is it, what could it be? i haven't had any pain previously there....damn. so decision time, do I ease up, or do I push it and deal with the issue later....next big race is in two months, so I have time to heal...so keep it going.
Hit mile 11 and realize that the energy seems to have drained out of the crowd of runners. whereas two or three miles ago, everyone was encouraging one another "keep it up", "great job", "looking good"...there was primarily silence. No other TnT members heading out on the course at this point to pass along "Go Team's" to keep us moving. But the folks I have honored and remembered here, over the course of the 40 in 40 certainly gave me some extra energy to go through the pain and finish strong.
It was a great race. I finished in about the same time as I did my last half marathon, but given it was a MUCH flatter course, I have a lot of work to do over the next two months.
As I finish I run into a woman from work and a guy from the gym...seemingly random, but given the course, the venue and the proximity to Charlotte, maybe not as random as one might think.
My ankle really starts bothering me again as I walk around, the stabbing pain is getting worse and I realize I need to stretch NOW and possibly look for the medical tent - otherwise this may get unbearable....so as I start to stretch, I look down and what do I see??? a burr...an annoying little star-shaped, pea-sized burr that has embedded itself in my sock.....THAT little m-fer was the cause of the stabbing pain in my ankle and it has dug itself into my ankle while I ran. No wonder it hurt like hell....I laugh at myself, yank it out - and all is well.
The event this weekend is dedicated to Adrienne"Daisy" Zonneville. Daisy captivated us all with her story. Diagnosed at the age of 11 with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, she fought for years and was once again diagnosed with this terrible disease at the age of 15. At that point she was given a 65% chance of survival.
15 years later, to the day, she ran her first marathon. The Kiawah Marathon....her fiancee who trained with her, ran the half. They both finished and had amazing experiences...their spirit, their love for one another and their commitment was evident in everything they showed to us this weekend. Daisy commented during her speech on Friday night, that if she can beat cancer, she's gonna kick this marathon's ass...and she did - and her fiancee kicked the half's ass as well.
Her energy, her determination, her power and spirit make the cause, the fight, the fundraising, the training all that much more worthwhile and meaningful. I cannot imagine the fight and determination that Daisy and the rest of the survivors who ran with us on Saturday have. Their power, their belief....it empowered me to realize the next 10 races and the next $20,000 must be realized.
After the race, the rain started - and I watched the crowds dissipate. I knew there were numerous people still out on the course and yet - there would be few to no spectators at the finish line to cheer them in. I took it upon myself to stick around and cheer in as many folks as I could. It may seem self gratuitous to even mention it - but I can't imagine being out on any course running a race, my first, last, or one for or in the memory of a loved one....and coming in to silence except for the ticking of the clock over the finish line.
8 hours in, with the last runner, a TnT teammate, coming across the finish line it was time to wrap things up....
This weekend, for whatever reason, I connected with so many more members of other teams than I have at prior events. I met folks who shared their stories with me about their battles, or the loved ones they have lost.
Event # 30 - in the books....in my heart and mind forever.
To all the survivors, to all the family members, to all the heroes and all the folks we honor...to all the folks I met this weekend and in weekends past...prior teammates, coaches, speakers - you are the reason for the 40 in 40. I hope to be able to honor you all appropriately.
30 down, 10 to go - $20,000 raised.
Event # 30 - 1:48:02