These Wings Were Made to Fly

As I sit here crashed on my couch at Island Time Tiki Bar, Calypso taking up most of all the available cushion space,  it’s challenging to figure out where to start my recap of the Wings for Life World Run.  It wasn’t a typical “race” in any normal race terms.  Oh contraire, not in the least.  There was the usual mix of participants – serious runners (not me), weekend warriors (also not me), people just out to see what they could do (getting warmer), and just plain shenanigators (BINGO!).

shenanigator

Then there were the athletes being pushed in their wheelchairs, athletes pushing themselves in wheelchairs, and even an athlete making his way along with his cane.  The energy and anticipation at the start was palpable, due in no small part to the big screen broadcasting video of hundreds of thousands runners at their own start lines, 34 in all.  It was….well……pretty damn amazing awesomeness.

Participants - Action

This was the first race in a really, really long time that I had planned on going balls to the wall as much as I could.  The hubs was also running with me for the first time in a couple of years, and as he was nursing a hammy injury and a lingering case of the plague, we had to take that into account for our race strategy.

Excuse me, but did you say race strategy?  Who are you and what have you done with our Black Dog?

Well.  If we DID have a race strategy, it probably would have looked something like this:

  • run like a bat out of hell for the first 30 minutes when we knew the chase car would be starting
  • incorporate as many shenanigan making opportunities as possible
  • make up for the time spent causing shenanigating by running like hell again, at least until the next water stop along the route

I am happy to report this plan worked out pretty damn well for us!

After what seemed like an interminable length of time just trying to get out of the BB&T Center parking lot, (seriously, how big IS this damn lot?!), we finally made it out onto the scenic streets of Sunrise, FLA.  With NO sunglasses.

Lesson #1:  just because it looks like you won’t be running directly east, don’t ever trust your sense of direction that early in the morning.  Ever.

my eyes

Returning to the scene of the crime, we continued on our merry jaunt – happily knee pain free – for what seemed like an interminable length of time until we finally arrived at the first water stop.  Now, let me tell ya, these people know what they’re doing.  Mile 2, complete with Clif bars, Red Bull, H2O, Gatorade and portapotties.  With a line.  The dreaded portapotty line. Duhn, duhn, duuuuuhhhhnnnnnn…..

Portapotty_line

After making a valiant effort at patience – 30 seconds give or take – it was time to create a little suburban drama.  After quickly surveying the scene and knowing the chase car would be hot on our collective tails any moment, the command decision was made to…..well….blaze a new trail.  Right to the nearest bunch of bushes.  Completely runDisney style.  Hey, ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

peeing in the bushes

No elephants were violated in the taking of this picture.

As I not so discreetly did what I had to do and high-tailed it back to the road,  what do I see but the guy who had been standing in line in front of me headed for the same bushes.  With a big thank you and a thumbs up we passed like ships in the night and the hubs and I were back on our way.

No idea how the bush is currently doing….

I’d give you more specifics about the course, but since this area of Broward County is like another country to me, I can’t tell you where we were at just about any given moment.  What I can tell you is this:  the volunteers at the water  stops were amazing.  The cheering groups with their witty race signs were amazing.  The cops and PSA’s of the Sunrise Police Department were the best.  Not so awesomesauce?  That damn helicopter.

WFLWR chopper1

When that bad boy was flying overhead, you knew the chase car was stalking in the near vicinity.  Soon after stopping at the third water stop – complete with music blasting and a cheer squad – the hubby turns around and starts yelling at everyone to run for their lives.  At this point it seemed everyone around us had entered spaced-out zombie zone and had forgotten the little fact that we were being CHASED.  That is, until they saw the chase car slowly gaining ground.  What quickly ensued would have made Usain Bolt jealous.

cheetah-run_494_990x742.jpg

Aw crap.

And  just like that, our race was done.

WFLWR1

Actually, after walking another almost two miles to the next water stop it was done.  By then, the partymobiles shuttle buses had shown up to take everyone back to Party Central at the start.  But not before we took full advantage of the fact that our bus was one normally used for the students on the campus at the University of Miami.  And if you follow college sports at all, then you know there is no love lost between Miami Hurricane fans and that other school up in Gainesville.  Needless to say, we took full advantage of the situation this poor guy found himself in the middle of.  Poor guy.  Knew he was outnumbered from the start.  Didn’t even bother putting up a fight.

gatorboy

Oh Robert.  Poor, poor Robert.

Once we got back to the BB&T Center and got off our rather odoriferous mode of transportation, we were given some rather impressive bling, and were free to avail ourselves of all the bananas, oranges, water, and of course Red Bull, we could carry.  Meandering over to the runner’s village, we were free to stand in more crazy lines for tacos, beer, and even champagne.  The big screen was showing where the leading male and female Sunrise runners were out on the course, at that point currently battling baseball sized skeeters and some not so friendly Florida natives.  (Not really but it does add a little element of danger doesn’t it?)

gator

We didn’t stick around too long as it was getting quite toasty and the call of a nice long shower was singing its siren song.  Off to the homestead we went, but we were able to follow the rest of the race on the live-stream via the Wings for Life website.  Five and a half hours after the worldwide start, Giorgio Calcaterra was finally caught by the chase car outside Milan, Italy.  He ran an AMAZING 88.44 km (or 54.95 miles for those of metrically challenged).  The last female runner to be caught was Kaori Yoshida from Japan who was caught at the 65.71 km/40.83 mile mark, outside Takashima, Japan.

Sunrise was lucky enough to have the 10th female overall with Nathalie Vasseur from France.  She managed to hold off melting in the heat long enough to hold off the chase car until she hit 54.53km/33.88 miles.  Damn alligators never stood a chance against Miss Speedy Pants.

WFLWR winners

Sunrise winners Nathalie Vasseur and Simon Munyutu. (Photo courtesy of Wings for Life World Run Sunrise Facebook page.)

Looking back at the event now, it’s easy to see why so many people have returned each year.  In the three years since it’s inception, the Wings for Life World Run has seen an increase in participation each year.  The best part of all?  This year set a new record in the amount of money raised for spinal cord injury research – a whopping $7.4 million (yes MILLION!)  And when you see someone who has never taken a step, walk for the very first time due in part to the funds raised from this event, well, let’s just say it makes all the sweat, aches, pains, #brokeknees, and miles all worth it.

walking again

(Photo courtesy of Wings for Life World Run Facebook page.)

You can bet the hubby and I will be returning to this race next year, and we hope you’ll join us.  We’ll be causing as many shenanigans as possible on Sunday, May 7, 2017 once again on the edge of the Everglades.  The natives have promised to be on their best behavior.  Just don’t make the mistake of showing up in Florida Gator crap.  This time, we just may not let you on the bus. 🙂

WFLWR medal

Enjoy the ride.

Have you ever done a race with no actual finish line?  Raised money for charity?  Did it make the race feel more special?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marathon Monday

It’s go time.

boston-finish-line-300x200

From the ice cream in Fanueil Hall, to the penguins that greet you as you step inside the Aquarium.  From Yawkey Way and the legendary Monstah, to the pier where I stood amazed as the Tall Ships sailed into the Harbor.  From the record (yes, RECORD) shops in Cambridge, to the Charles River where I watched my brother’s crew team dump him in when his boat won their race, Boston has always held a special place in this New England girl’s heart.  And it always will.  I know many would argue, but the people of this city have the most amazing and resilient spirit of anyone I have ever known.  As they once again welcome the citizens of the world into their homes, their streets, and their hearts, they once again will show how easy it is to prove how this sport of running brings us all together for a common love.

And for that my dear Boston, we thank you.

BostonStrong Collage

 

Enjoy the ride.

From all of us here at Black Dog Central, we’d like to wish everyone running the Boston Marathon the best of luck!  Is Boston on your wish list of races to run?  What other world majors would you like to try?

As we celebrate one of the world’s greatest races, please remember those can’t run or even walk because of spinal cord injuries.  Let’s help them take their first steps by donating to Team Wonder Mutt as we run the Wings for Life World Run on May 8th!

Friday Funny

FF Run humor

 

Enjoy the ride.

Are you a diehard music runner or do you prefer to hear yourself slowly dying?  Do you go into vapor lock if your music dies mid-race?  Do you then engage in providing your own music?  Have you been subjected to Team Can-Am’s race singalong shenanigans?

Best of luck to everyone running the Dark Side Challenge at Disney World this weekend!  May the Force be with you!

Don’t forget!  I’ll be making my return to racing on May 8th, courtesy of the Wings for Life World Run.  Please visit my page and donate today.  Together we can help stamp out spinal cord injuries!

When Running Is About More Than Yourself

Hey!  Look what I found!  My blog! Yayyyyyyy!!!!!

yay turtle

Yipppeeeee!!!!!

I know it’s been a crazy long time since I’ve regaled you all with tales of my shenanigans, but fear thee not!  I’m back. Pretty much.  Still trying to coordinate all the nonsense that makes life….well…LIFE.  Hang in there my faithful peeps.  I have all kinds of glorious tales lined up for you.  Stress, school, shenanigans, surgeries, spinning, puppies, paddleboarding, trips, and general madness and mayhem, just to name a few.  I’ll be catching you up on all the latest and greatest in the chaos that is the Black Dog world.  But that is for another day.

Right now though, it’s time for what shall be a glorious Black Dog return to racing! (Please keep in mind I consider complete and utter gloriousness simply putting one foot in front of the other for more than 8 feet without falling flat on my face).  After three months of pavement-less days, I have returned to my first love.  And I’m not talking just Moose Tracks, mutts, and margaritas here people.  Nope, uh huh, no way.  We’re talking honest to goodness RACING.  Like with a bunch of other peeps racing.  People ALL AROUND THE WORLD RACING.  AT THE SAME TIME!

“What are these shenanigans you speak of Black Dog?” you may ask.  Well, let me tell ya.  One thing that has always meant so much to me and a lot of other runners  too, is running for those who can’t.  Believe you me kiddos, knowing there are so many people out there who are unable to take even one step has helped me get through many a mile when all I wanted to do was call it quits.  That’s why my first race after Knee Gate Part II means so much.  Thanks to fellow Browardite and shenanigator Hokeyboy, I found out about this uber cool race that has NO FINISH LINE.  Crazeeee, right?!?  How can a race have no finish line, Black Dog?” you may ask.  Well, LET ME TELL YA.

Wings for Life World Run is just that – a world run.  On May 8th, runners from all over this hunk of rock we call home will be taking to the streets to run while raising funds for spinal cord injury research.  The coolest part?  100% of all registration fees and funds raised go to research.  How awesomesauce is THAT kidaroonies?!?  And that no finish line thingamahoozie?  Well, you just keep running until the official Chase Car catches up to you!  Yeppers kiddies, a chase car!  Thirty minutes after the runners cross the start line, the car is hot on the trail.  Okay, maybe “hot” isn’t exactly accurate.  More like turtle pace speeds to start.  Then each hour, it speeds up just a little more until the fastest runner is caught.

No, no, not THAT kind of caught sillykins.  Getting caught is actually a good thing!  “Why is that Black Dog?” you may ask.  Well, LET ME TELL YA.  Once you get passed, you the get to hop on a party barge!  Said party barge then takes you back to the start to engage in further post-race party shenanigans!  Party shenanigans that include shenanigating with the very peeps your donation money is helping out!

Now, from what I understand from Hokeyboy’s review of this most amazing day, meeting those whom your generosity is helping can be quite an emotional experience.  (Cue the sappy tears just thinking about it here.  It’s okay,  No judging from this Mistress of Sappiness.)  It can definitely help keep things in perspective when you’re having one of those runs and just want to throw in the shoelaces.  At least it does for this Queen of Busted Knees and Ibuprofen. As crappy a run as you may be having, at least you’re running.  Which is a whole lot more than those suffering from spinal cord injuries can do.

wheelchairs

You know what’s coming now my faithful followers.  Time for me to appeal to the generous hearts I know so many of you have.  Since I needed to make my return to racing about something so much bigger than just a pair of somewhat recovered #brokeknees, it seemed only appropriate to help those who can’t race today, maybe race some day.  And I need your help to do just that.

I’ve set up the Team Wonder Mutt page here.  As I’ve never been very good at this whole asking people for money thing, I set a very modest goal amount of $200 to start,  Imagine my surprise when, after only a week, I had already met that goal! (Thank you so so much to my friends and family who already donated!  You guys ROCK!)  Never being one to settle for mediocrity, what I’d like to do now is see just how much you guys can help me DOUBLE my goal amount!  Yes, my faithful Black Dog Bubbykins!  You go right ahead, pull out those credit cards that have just recovered from Christmas, and DONATE AWAY!  I promise it will result in nothing more than a warm, fuzzy feeling inside from helping those who want nothing more than simply to put one foot in front of the other.  And in the immortal words of Larry the Cable Guy, let’s…..”GIT ER DONE!”

wings for life

Let me take a moment and extend a very, very warm thank you to those who have already donated and to those of you who are already pulling out the plastic.  You guys are a big part of why I love this sport so much, and put up with all the aches, pains, and surgeries that I do.  If it wasn’t for you, a lot more people would never be able to put one foot in front of the other ever again.

For more information on this amazing event, please visit the Wings for Life World Run page here.  I promise, you’ll be glad you did.

 

Enjoy the ride.

Have you ever participated in a race like this?  Do you try to make your running about something bigger than yourself?  How did it make you feel?