Mon, 16 October 2006
This podcast has all kinds of cool stuff. I talk about Ironman Wisconsin 2006. Also talk about the SimplyStu WorldWide Triathlon II. Do you want to meet Floyd Landis? How about meeting Peter Reid and other awesome pro Triathletes in sunny Temecula? Don't forget to check out IronWidow - the place for all those NOT doing triathlons. And please check out RaceAthlete for all kinds of awesome articles and team information. Remember, only a few days left to get your entry in for team sponsorship.
An article from the show today.
Orange Jersey Women writes Stu: Was down at the Twin Cities Marathon this past Sunday - thought of you. I ran down in the morning to watch the course just a few blocks from my house. Wasn't really thinking of the timing or anything, just headed down when I woke up. Well, as fate would have it that day, I showed up just minutes before the sag wagon came rolling through. I saw the looks of disappointment and sadness as a couple people got on the bus. As you did on Ironman day, I wondered what their stories were. What really caught my eye were the 6 - 10 people that waved the bus away, some with smiles, and just kept running or walking. I wondered what their stories were, and I decided to just go ask them. I met Colleen, who had an entire picnic packed in her backpack as she came prepared, knowing it was going to be a long day ahead. There was Ben, a younger, overweight gentleman that was doing everything he could to keep going and seemed distracted just enough by my running with him to keep going. Then there was Mike. Mike earlier in the year had a doctor's appointment in which the doc said he had terrible cholesterol levels and blood pressure, on top of being extremely overweight and a smoker. He decided to take control of his life, quit smoking and placed a bet with his friends that he would finish a marathon. He wasn't very fast but I could tell he had that look in his eye that he was going to finish and nothing was going to stop him. Then there was Jerry. Jerry looked like a dirty Santa. He had a longer white beard that had seen better days. He had an old generic gray t-shirt with the sleeves ripped off. He had a Willie-Nelson-ish bandana on and what appeared to be old, worn out New Balance running shoes. He was one of the very last people still going and I asked if I could run with him for awhile. We chatted for a bit and then I asked him if this was his first marathon. He chuckled and said, "No. This is my 25th......Twin Cities Marathon (This was the 25th running of the race - so he's done every TCM!). I've also done Grandma's about 14 times, Arizona, Vegas,..." I was shocked. I told Jerry how impressive that was and how I felt privileged to be running next to him. We chatted a little longer and I could tell that he didn't need me. After picking up a runner and running them 1/4 - 1/2 mile, then running back to pick up the next runner, congratulating them for not getting on the bus and finding out their story, I told everyone I would meet them again down the road. I ran the couple miles home, changed into biking clothes, grabbed my commuter bike with my saddle bags and loaded them up with all the gu I had, water bottles, sunscreen, maps, etc. and sprinted out the door to catch my new friends. I don't think I've ever been so excited to go on a bike ride. I headed straight east to try to find them on West River Road. Once there, I started to get worried as I kept biking the course backwards and did not see any of "my people". I was very excited to see Mike coming around the corner. Out of water and looking a little tired, his face lit up a little when he saw me approaching. I offered him water and filled his water bottle. I then biked back up to the nearest water fountain to fill up on water, then back past Mike to find the others. I found Ben and gave him water, as well as Jerry. I also met several "new" people that had slowed down and had now mixed in with the originals I met. One of the new people was Jane, that came all the way from Arizona, geared up with her race belt and pace wrist band, and was plagued with stomach and digestive issues since 4am. Making stops at the bathroom every opportunity she had - she was having a really hard day. I was actually very impressed with how great she was doing physically considering it sounded like she couldn't keep any food down and every attempt she made to try to refuel, ended up in the bathroom. Jane and I hit it off right away and I ended up spending the next few hours biking amongst her, Mike, Jerry and a few others. A friend called Jane on her cell to make sure she was ok and her reply was "I'm ok - I have Bobbi my bike angel here with me" How sweet! It was a wonderful morning and afternoon of biking around the course cheering people on, filling them up with water, searching for more water, and refilling again. Considering they were all slower than the 6 hour cut off pace, the water stops were all down and gone by the time they got to them. They didn't even have course markers to know where to go - so I did my best to be there at major turns and intersections so they wouldn't get lost. Wow - I guess this is getting long. My point is that you inspired me. I have been volunteering or spectating at races for a long time - but you motivated me to step it up a notch. It was so perfect how it happened and how I arrived just before the bus came. I will remember this Twin Cities Marathon as much as I will remember last year when I ran it myself. It's going to be a tough decision to make between running the race myself, and helping next year's Jane's, Mike's and Jerry's cross the finish line.
So - I wanted to say thanks for sharing your story, for being a part of my Ironman journey, and for helping me be a part of other's marathon journeys.