Sunday, August 28, 2011

Team RWB

If there was one word I could used to describe my friend Mandy Miller it would be "dedicated." Mandy is a multiple Ironman Triathlete, Marathoner, Ultra-marathoner and even an Ultra-Ironman. She's done the Marathon De Sables, a six day marathon across the Sahara Desert in Morocco. She's done Kona, Ironman France and ultra marathon's of varying distances. The list goes on and on, just like her. She keeps going and going like the Energizer rabbit.

Mandy recently dedicated herself to being co-race director for a series of running events being put on by Team RWB, which stands for Team Red, White & Blue. Team RWB is a 501(c)(3) charity that does fund raising through sponsorship of athletes at marathons, triathlons and other endurance events in a fashion similar to Team-In-Training or the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The mission of Team RWB is to to transform the way wounded veterans are reintegrated into society when they return from combat. Here is a link to the charities web-site:

In any event, Mandy decided to dedicate her efforts to a series of runs that will memorialize the victims of the 9/11 tragedies in New York City, Washington DC and rural Pennsylvania. Mandy will be the race director and a runner at the run in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania event will contain a 9.11 mile and a 5K memorial run to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11/01 on Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA. The 9.11 mile loop will pass through the Flight 93 National Memorial.

This last Saturday, Mandy and some friends hosted a fundraiser for these runs at the Parrot Lounge on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Many of Mandy's friends from the triathlon and running community turned out in support of Mandy's efforts to raise awareness of the needs of returning veterans and to promote these memorial running events. All I can say is that I'm proud of my friend Mandy and was happy to give my support to her worthy efforts. The fund raiser was a fun event.

Best of luck to Mandy and other runners raising funds to run these 9/11 memorial events. Anyone wishing to join in any of the runs or wishing to donate to the entity can get race information at the Team RWB web-site listed above.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gererantion Next

One of the gifts that we can give to the next generation is sharing our interests with them. In doing so, they learn to enjoy and appreciate the things that we enjoy and appreciate. This was brought home to me yesterday by two incidents. First, my son Alex was looking to do a fun activity before he started middle school on Wednesday. I suggested the Florida History Museum in Miami. I had taken his older brother, John to this museum when he was about the same age as Alex and remembered it as a good history museum. Sure enough, Alex loved the two hours spent at the museum. With the exhibits featuring Spanish explorers, Caribbean pirates, Seminole Wars, Key West salvagers, Cuban cigar makers, and the Flagler railroad, this Florida history museum captured a lot of what he had covered in his social studies classes over the last few years. I'm a bit of a history buff, and particularly enjoy Florida history. It was gratifying to see my son show similar appreciation for this small, but very interesting history museum.

The second instance of sharing an interest with the next generation was my training buddy, John Clidas showing his nephew Andrew the ropes of triathlon training. Andrew, a 17 year old going into his senior year in high school, was visiting Fort Lauderdale from Washington State. John took him to the Lauderdale Yacht Club to work on his swim skills and had him do several swim workouts. He also showed him the ropes of riding a road bike and got him used to riding with clip on bike shoes. On Sunday, I accompanied John and Andrew on a 30 mile ride and did my best to give him tips on riding in groups. It all culminated on Tuesday, when John had Andrew do a self scheduled sprint triathlon. As I e-mailed John after his e-mail about their workout, I've heard of the Grateful Dead song "Uncle John's Band," but I wasn't aware that there was an event called "Uncle John's Sprint Triathlon." Andrew seems to have enjoyed the training and doing "Uncle John's Sprint Triathlon." I think we've recruited another participant to our sport. Below is a reprint of Uncle John's e-mail:

How 'bout a quick shout-out to nephew Andrew for completing his first "un-official sprint triathlon" this morning. We need to encourage our up and comer triathletes --- right? Can any of you remember when you first got started in this crazy sport??

7 days ago, Andrew was a "survival only" swimmer. With the help of Sandy Clobus and her expert coaching this past week, this morning, Andrew completed the first leg of "Uncle John's un-official Sprint Tri" with an approx. 1/2 mile swim at the LYC pool (about 26 minutes in the water). 7 days ago, Andrew had never ridden on a road bike and had never ridden in "clip-in" pedals. This morning, after exiting the pool and being held back by Uncle John's slow 6min 30 sec. T-1, Andrew completed a 12.09 mile bike ride in just under 50 minutes (gross time -- we were stopped by lights and traffic quite a few times). By the way --- Andrew also completed 3 thirty mile bike rides during the week. Lastly, after a complicated T-2 of 5min and 27 seconds (we had to bring the bikes back up and into my condo), Andrew completed a 5K in 25:34 (8:13/mile pace).

Total time --- 1:52:40 for Uncle John's Un-Official Sprint Tri (1/2, 12, 5K).

Well, needless to say -- not only was I impressed with Andrew's tenacity and perseverance this week, I was also incredibly proud of him and look forward to hearing about his first official sprint triathlon experience back home in Olympia, WA.

Way to go Andrew!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

9/11 Remeberance

A few months ago, I saw a request on the Runners' World web-site seeking stories from runners whose running was impacted by the events of 9/11. I immediately thought of my Ironman training buddy, John Clidas. When I first met John in 2000, we were both serving on our church's governing council. At the time, I was running pretty much solely for fitness other than an annual Thanksgiving 10K that my brother Dave and I ran in remembrance of our brother Jim, a biker/runner/triathlete who had of cancer. In the summer of 2001, I noted that John had lost some weight and was looking pretty fit. I asked him what his workout regime was that got him in such good shape. "I'm training for the New York City Marathon," he replied. Having always talked of one day running a marathon, I was both impressed and a little envious.

In the uncertain and somewhat scary world immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, John was uncertain whether the NYC Marathon would be held that year, and if it was held, whether he should risk going and participating in the event. As you may recall, in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, many wondered whether terrorists would try to launch another attack on US soil, and New York City, being the financial capital of the world, loomed large as a potential target for another terrorist strike. John ultimately decided to go on the trip and run the marathon. I always felt his telling of his experience running the NYC Marathon was moving. Thus, when I saw the Runners' World request for stories related to 9/11, I called John and suggested he submit his story to Runners' World. The editors chose his story as one of several to publish in the magazine's September issue marking the 10 year anniversary of that tragic day. I've told John how ironic I find it that I've been knocking out blog entries for several years to little acclaim, while he gets published in Runners' World on his first submission. Of course, I offer my whole-hearted congratulations to John on his getting published. I also feel a bit of pride in recognizing a good story and encouraging him to write and submit it for publication. Way to go John!

For those of you who subscribe to Runner's World, check out page 75 of the September issue to see running buddy John Clidas' recollection of running the NYC Marathon after the 9/11 terrorists attacks. If you're not a subscriber, check out the article on-line at the Runners' World web-site link by clicking here.