Sunday, April 10, 2011

Support the Excuse!

Several months ago as I was training for the Umstead 100, my "friend" Jim Plant, asked me if I might be interested in joining a 12-person relay team to participate in the Virginia 24-hour Race.  Since the race was only two weeks after Umstead I was a little hesitant.

I was pretty sure I would be 'trashed' after my Umstead attempt at 100 miles. . . but two weeks rest was somewhat reasonable.  And this was, after all,  a relay.  So it really wouldn't be all that hard.  Heck . . . more of a party really!  The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.  Run a few 3.75 mile laps and then pass the baton on to the next person.  So when Shannon McGinn extended the official invitation to join Team Awesome,I quickly agreed!

The team was shaping up to really be a great bunch of folks . . . some I know (Jim Plant, Amy Schimmel, Charles West, Ray Krolewicz, Shannon, Tom Gabell and Jonathan Savage) and some I'm looking forward to meeting (Alanna Garrison-Kast, Dave Lettieri, Jessi Kennedy, Cheryl Lager and Sabrina Moran).

Then . . . a few weeks before Umstead . . . I learned the truth!

This isn't really a relay!!  Oh . . . they didn't out and out LIE to me!  The race 'says' its a relay.  But in this 'relay' every team member's total miles are added together! 

That's right!  They expect me to run for 24 hours!

At Umstead I trudged along for 20 hours and about died!  This isn't looking good . . . no . . . not at all good!  Then, I started thinking of who some of these people on Team Awesome are . . . top drawer runners: 
  • Jonathan has won the FL Keys 100, and does a marathon before breakfast 3 days a week.  Heck at last year's Hinson lake 24-hour Run he finished over 132 miles!!!!
  • Jessi Kennedy WON the NJ 100 (Not just the first female . . . she won it overall!)
  • Dave just finished a 100!  (I don't know Dave yet, but heck he may have won for all I know!)
  • Charles just finished his first 100 at Umstead!
  • Jimbo has done several 100s!!!
  • Shannon has done a ton of 100s.  Not sure of all her running accomplishments but she is a top quality runner for sure!
  • Ray is a frickin' ultra legend who has run more 100s then I have marathons!!!
  • Amy is a killer runner who laps me every time.  She finished 84 miles at Umstead and would have finished except for hypothermia!  A sub 24 hour 100 is a real possibility for her.
  • Cheryl just finished attempting the frickin' BARKLEY a week ago!  That's right . . . THE BARKLEY!
And then there is me.  The slowest 61 year old runner on the east coast . . . and maybe the whole US!  I hold claim to a 90% success rate for DFL finishes (for you uninformed, that stands for 'Dead F***in' Last' !).  62 miles is my longest run ever!

I started thinking about this team and started wondering why (just as you probably have!) they asked me to be on the team with them.  It just makes no sense!  But then it struck me . . . there is only one possible reason they asked me to be on this team . . . and I've finally figured it out!!  THEY NEED AN EXCUSE! 

They think that 11 of them can win this relay!  They are going for it!!  But if they can't, then they can blame ME!!!  That's right . . . I can hear it now, "If we hadn't had that slow, old codger on Team Awesome, we could have kicked butt!"

But one thing that got me excited was that this race is being conducted as a support for cancer research and treatment.  And two of our team members are cancer survivors!  I personally have contributed an extra amount to the American Cancer Society.  And maybe you would like to support this effort and our team and make a contribution too.  Here is a link!  (It says George Nelson . . . and that's the right place!!)

But a promise is a promise.  I said I would be on the team . . . and I will  I'll be there doing the best I can.  We'll see.  I'm hoping I can do at least 50 miles.  But I shouldn't do too much or I'll spoil their excuse!!!


  1. Wow, that really sounds like fun. You are going to have a blast! Don't worry about the mileage, I'm sure you'll do great!

  2. LOL! Excellent post, Frank. Don't give them the satisfaction of using you as an excuse. Finish, even if it is DFL. ;-)

  3. Frank, Miles are only miles and your team certainly has its fair share of fast boys and girls who can log the miles for 24 hours, but it is my guess there is another reason why you were asked to be on this special team. Yea, you are not the fastest 61 year old around (I also know you are not the slowest either), but you are the best motivator around. Your level of encouragement will be at the top and maybe you have more of a role than you think!

  4. That can't be it Rick . . . these animals are set to destroy all past records for this event . . . and I have no doubt that they will. These folks don't need any additional motivation! Heck . . . I'm afraid of what they might do if we got them 'fired up!' No . . . I'm simply 'the excuse' plain and simple! :-)

  5. Frank, Awesome post as always and once again you amaze me. I'm certain they didn't choose use as their excuse, I think they chose you because they know you are determined, and crazy enough to do it :-) Kick some butt and I look forward to hearing all about it.


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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.