Sunday, May 16, 2010

Milestones and accomplishments

Today’s installment is dedicated to my brother-in-law Mike.  I have written about Mike before, particularly his role in why I am such a cycling fanatic today (My ride with Mike).  Saturday was a milestone birthday for Mike, and his twin sister Robin, as they turned 40.  This is big, right?  And while some people piss and groan about getting older, others plan big events.  Mike is definitely a planner.

IMG_0213 Mike has participated in triathlons and enjoys cycling.  However, his passion is running.  He has completed numerous marathons and can kick out a wicked pace when he chooses to.  So Mike’s big 4-0 planned called for running 40 miles on his 4oth birthday.  (I think drinking a 40 oz beer was also in there somewhere.)  To help him out, he asked if I would ride in support.  My response was a quick and simple “hell yeah!”.

As the magical day got closer, Sherry decided she also wanted to help out.  Then we discovered that Mike’s daughter Kylie also wanted to join in the fun.  Now we have a game plan.  Sherry and Kylie would support from the car and I would provide support on the bike.  It was going to be a fun day.

Saturday arrives and it’s go time.  Sherry and I leave our house at 5:30 a.m. and head to Mike’s.  He is already on the road as planned.  Sherry loads his cooler and Kylie into the SUV as I unload the bike.  Then we are off. 

IMG_0207I start following the planned route but I made one wrong assumption, which put me in a position of not knowing if I was ahead of them or behind.  Then I realized I didn’t know exactly when he left and that made the calculation for where he was even harder.  So I spent some time riding the route and circling back.  Eventually, I called Sherry and discovered I was about a half mile back.  I finally make contact with them at around the 9 mile mark.

At 10 miles Mike was looking great.  He was using his GPS to run a nice even pace, which he is very good at doing.  As we enter Geyserville, there is a coffee shop open so Sherry, Kylie and I grab espressos and hot chocolates and watch Mike run by.  Just outside Geyserville, I decide to take a detour and climb Canyon Road.  When I caught back up, Pat, a good friend of ours, had joined us on the bike. 

A very short while later, Mike hits the 20 mile mark and starts the journey home.  He his still looking strong, running smooth and smiling.  Soon his wife Jamie comes along with his son Lance.  We now have 2 support cars and 2 cyclists providing support and companionship.  Before the run ended, his mom and dad also joined the caravan for a while.  Pat and I did another quick loop and then rode with or very near to Mike for the rest of the run.

IMG_0217 After another stop in the Geyserville coffee shop on the way back, you can start to feel that he’s going to make it.  That’s when his hip flexors started to bother him.  That’s understandable since he has covered 32 miles at this point.  With about 5 miles to go I asked if he wanted a coke.  He had never done that before so Pat explained how a little sugar and caffeine can be just the ticket for finishing a long endurance event.  He decided to try it and is now a believer.

IMG_0232 The final miles were tough as expectd but he knew he was heading for home.  On the last corner, I sped up to join the others waiting for him so that all of the glory was focused on him, as it should have been.  There were pictures, hugs, and high-fives.  His final time?  How about 5:21 for 40.23 miles?  In the end, his legs were tired and his hip flexors were starting to really hurt but otherwise you couldn’t even tell he had been running.  He was thinking about doing a recovery run today but I hope he changed his mind.

I am so proud of him.  Scratch that.  The whole family is very proud of him.  For me, there is just something awesome about anyone who sets such a monumental goal and goes for it.  It just goes to show that if you put your mind to something and train (or practice) appropriately it is amazing what you can accomplish.  And after that inspiring performance, I may just have to find my running shoes.


1 Comment(s):

amy said...

Wow that's awesome!!! That's quite a speedy pace.