Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My "Richard Story"

As the final days and hours to Goofy 2009 count down, I feel I should share with all of you "my Richard story. " You see, it's like this:

Richard and I were not each other's favorite people, but we had a common goal, a common thread, and a common drive. He wanted to finish; I wanted to finish; we wanted everyone else on our team to finish. And, that's just the way it was. I used Richard frequently when I ran, especially hills: "Richard runs this hill, I can run this hill. Richard made it to the cooler, I can make it to the cooler." And so it went for two seasons of Team In Training Disney training: both seasons with Richard crossing the finish line in his fabulous "Cadillac caboose" style just under the seven hour time limit, and feeling damn proud of himself - very deservedly, I might add.

Last year, waiting in the lobby of the Coronado Springs Resort for the rest of the TNT team I found a pair of Swarovski crystal Mickey Mouse earrings. I loved them, so I treated myself to a well earned post-Goofy treat. I wore them for a couple of days, and then changed them out for something else. Just like all us girls do - accessorize the outfit with the best choice in jewelry. After I got the phone call telling me that Richard had been in a fatal accident I put the earrings back in. And, I have not taken them out (except to clean them) since. They have been everywhere: all over Europe, to the beach, on century rides, and yes, through another marathon and nearly 2000 miles of training runs and rides. Every time I reach up to my ear to make sure they are right side up, I think of Richard. They are my constant reminder of why I chose to "go Goofy" again. I do not believe that I would have gone back this year, had it not been for Richard's dream of running it.

Once I'm done on Sunday, I will take out my earrings, place them carefully in their black velvet box and put them away. Their job will be done. They will have carried me, head high, through a year of training and memories to the finish line. I hope that what we, this entire committed group, have undertaken will be a grand tribute to the memory of our friend and fellow runner, Richard. I hope that his family knows how much we admired and loved him, and how we have attempted to honor his dream and memory.

I know it's not much. I know it is trivial and completely inconsequential. But, it's all I have. A pair of earrings. Two small items that have been with me for a year to remind me to stay on track, and on target for the goal. I imagine on Monday I'll feel a bit lost with out them there to remind me.

My friends, run strong. Run safe. Run with a purpose.

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Mac's "SwimSTRONG" Foundation

Mac's "SwimSTRONG" Foundation
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