Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Guiding Lights

(Note: I quickly mentioned my guides in my last post, but felt I needed to give this subject a little more depth, as without my guides I would be lost and wandering about the greater Boston area for years to come.)


Boston allows and encourages the use of guides for the MI (mobility impaired) runners and not just for those who have a sight impairment. Because we start before anyone else in the field - which is like, dude, totally awesome - at some point those swifter runners will catch us.

As Kelly Luckett explained to me, the guides are there to protect both the runner and equally if not more importantly the elites and then main field from collisions. Running at this level takes a huge focus, and if an elite running 4:40 miles comes up on yours truly poking along at 9 min/mi there may be an unwelcome greeting:

"Hello Mr. Macadam, hate to meet you!"


The One and Only
The choices for my guides are two extraordinary people in my life. I present my #1 best friend and wife, Jennifer Starrett Blalock, a.k.a. "Sweetness and Light,"  who will guide me from the motel to the starting line, attempting to keep me from losing my marbles, prosthetic supplies, clothing items, and all things running I will need for the race.

Jennifer has supported me on every step of this journey, even writing some articles that appeared in the print version of the Running Journal. Her best advice ever to me was to "keep your eye on the prize." The journey has been made brighter by her ability to keep my feet, uh, foot in the ground through humor and understanding.

She has been my rock and supporter. I'd conservatively estimate well over half of my fundraising for the IFOPA came from her quiet efforts. So yes, I love her and happy she lets me hang around.


Be Like Mike
Mike Lenhart is the founder and president of The Getting2Tri Foundation. I have written quite a few posts about the amazing work Mike has done to help and support disabled people find hope - and often a part of themselves they did not know existed - through sport. Through Mike I have come to know many people that have enriched my own life beyond measure.

Mike has run marathons as a guide with Scott Rigsby, Jason Gunter, and Richard Whitehead. I am in the best of hands with his experience; not only that, Mike is simply a great guy and cares deeply for his athletes. They are never obligated to be a means of funding for the organization simply because they disabled. This is the very reason I intend to fund raise for G2T in the future.


I know much of my race day anxiousness will be alleviated by having Jennifer and Mike at my side. Both know me and my love for running, and beyond that, I am so grateful and blessed that I can share this most special day with them. 

Here is a video of the start of the MI division by one of the athletes, Stephen Gaudet. Stephen has greatly diminished lung capacity due to severe asthma that causes permanent decline. Having had childhood asthma that nearly killed me, I have heroic respect for this man who has done the Boston Marathon. My disability is quite visual; his is not. Stephen shows great courage, courage that few possess. His is true inspiration.

You will also see our friends Brian and Kelly Luckett in this video. I hope this gives you a sense of what we will feel on April 16, 2012, as we stand in the starting line of the Boston Marathon and leading the race if only for a short time with our MI brothers and sisters. Indeed, it will be a day like no other.

I am training to fly.

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