I had the Stride of my life

Shade’s Super Stride 5K went off without a hitch, except for a few hitches of my superhero tights, which tended to bind. Aitza and I had been worried sick by the details of event, and I couldn’t sleep the night before. It’s the mystery of the unknown. Will anyone actually show up? Will it run smoothly?

Next morning, I pulled up in a mini-van at Blanchard Park YMCA under the stars and unloaded boxes of sodas (thanks Scott Fischer) and yogurts and heart-shaped donuts (thanks Linda). It turned out that the donuts were unglazed and thus actually just fried bread. (In other words, without the super-sweet glaze, donuts are not quite donuts!) But no one turns down free food.

Our YMCA liaison, Matt Libby, who happens to be the husband of Shade’s OT, Kristen, (and who saved our butts when we discovered  all the permits and BS involved in 5K organizing) helped us get tables and equipment out of the Y. Meanwhile people started streaming into the parking lot. The set up was fairly simple as we placed all the food and equipment on park benches near the entrance and Aitza started taking donations.

Matt hooked us up with his assistant XXXX ( I can’t remember his name so he’s officially XXXX), who unlocked the park gate and put tables and the water cooler in his truck to take to the 1 mile point so we could set up a drinks area. Friend Paul Batt hopped in the truck with us to help set up the tables. The drop off point was at the other entrance to the park nearly a mile away, which was locked. I found half a dozen people, like friend Tom Landreth, milling about in that parking lot, wondering where the start area was. I redirected him and the others back out to the main road and around to the front. (Lesson learned: GPS is an evil temptress. Better to follow a map.) After Paul and I set up the table and cooler, I turned to jump back in the truck, but XXXX had left me behind. Just then, Aitza called my phone. “Baby, I need you now!” she said as I watched XXXX’s truck lights fade into the distance. Damn. I left Paul to fill the water cups and started running at top speed to the other end of the park. As I ran up to the park benches where Aitza and the arriving racers were organizing, my brother Darren yelled, “Yay! The Winner!” I realized I had made pretty good time when Tom walked from the parking lot and said, “How the hell did you beat me here?”

By this time the crowd was getting big and included a number of canines. Aitza and plenty of volunteers helped stuff bags with Shades for Shade, Ear Buds supplied by Performance Press, and cool Shade’s Super Stride shirts supplied by Nathaniel Treat and printed by Performance Press. My buddy Michael Bartole, who used to be a student of mine, had a bunch of water bottles printed with our logo at his business Graphic Labels. We even had 5 Hour Energy Drink supplied by one of my clients when I used to do Ocartz, Kelly.

Brian NeSmith, Race Director with Race Time Sports, brought out a big official clock for the finish line to give our race legitimacy. Not that our race wasn’t already crazy legitimate with all the superheroes showing up. We could have filled a short bus with Wonder Women, including Aitza who was bedecked like the busty bringer of justice. There were capes aplenty, including Shadenator in a dashing green one. Mayan came as the Water Boy. (Interesting choice of superhero.) It was rumored Harry Potter would show, but an evil sorcerer cast a spell of wimpiness of a certain Virgin Holidays manager. And friends Ross and Amy Bitterling got the Creative Use of Toiletries award with their Roll Tide headgear.

And let’s not forget a special appearance by The Baconator (no relation to the sandwich), who saved the day with delicious greasiness.

The venue at Blanchard Park couldn’t have been better. The route consisted of running out 2.5 kilometers, turning around some balloons, and running back 2.5 kilometers. Darren wanted to hand out maps with just a straight line on it so racers wouldn’t get lost. “Go out to the end of the line, then come back.” The best part is that as runners started returning, the out-runners could high five them and take tons of pics of the passersby. Our sister-in-law Seliena took a ton of pics. Check them out.

The winner of our very competitive race was Kenyan Wilson Kipsang. Oh wait, that was the London Marathon. Our winner was 14 year old Jeremy Brinker at 22 minutes on the dot. (And by “on the dot” I mean at the eventual time that someone bothered to look at the clock.) The boy is a gazelle. Mayan made it in 34 minutes with the Baconator coming in at a winded 35 minutes. (How did that little booger beat him?) Aitza didn’t run because her toe looks like a creature out of a Cronenberg horror ever since she lost her toenail. Aitza’s brother Edwin and wife Gigi rolled Shade along the entire route. When he got near the end, the whole family went out to meet him and ran in alongside him to much cheering. Photo finish.

Brendan Boyle supplied 5 gift-certificate prizes from Coliseum of Comics for our winners (fastest man and woman, and under 13 boy and girl) and for grand finale ender, our sister-in-law Mari. Brendan was also the premier banana supplier. If you need bananas for your next party, he’s the man to call.

I think we can officially label this stride as super. Lots of great people showed up and showed immense support for Shade and our family. We raised a good chunk of money to help with future therapies, doctors visits, gas and tolls for those bloody trips (we’re racking up over a thousand just in tolls), and other expenses. Thanks to all of you that attended, and to those that couldn’t but showed your support in other ways, whether by donating money, time, supplies or just love and support.

By the way, we’ve decided to make this an annual event. At least we have a bit more time to plan this time.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kristin
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 21:16:02

    I was so distracted I didn’t say “Hi” to you guys when I saw you the other day! Glad we could help….and the assistant is Raphel the Property Director 😉 He’s awesome!!


  2. Christie Fryatt
    Sep 25, 2012 @ 23:59:45

    Looks like it was a great event! I’m so happy for you guys! You are all truly super heroes! Miss you! Christie


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