Tuesday, April 29, 2008

2008 White House to Lighthouse Soldier Ride

I left Durham at 5:00 PM to begin the drive to DC. I was excited and also a little nervous about this soldier ride - my third one. Who knew who I'd know, if anyone, or how my presence at the ride would be perceived. I'd been invited again as a guest rider because, having been an amputee my entire life, I've had a lot of experience dealing with prosthetics and making connections in the industry. Let's just say, I know people. Well, kind of.

A quick stop in DC to meet up with some old college buddies and then I was off to Silver Springs, MD. Having just missed the last call at the bar, which meant everyone had headed to their rooms already, and I was left alone to check in. I started to pull under the overhang at the Hilton, which led to the parking garage, mostly just to get off the street so that I wouldn't hold up any traffic. I was met by a rather obstinate, little man who waved his hands and pointed me back out to the road. Unfazed, I kept pulling forward.

My truck was bigger than him and since it was a fairly questionable neighborhood I had no plans of leaving my nice Sampson bike in my truck overnight. He didn't care that I was disabled, or that I'd had a really long day, having spent the last 6 hours in the car (I exaggerated just a tad), or that I was with the Wounded Warrior Project. He had his orders. But I sure didn't make it easy for him. I was going to unload all of my stuff by the lobby whether he liked it or not.

Monday, April 7, 2008


The alarm went off at 6:30 AM. It was another early morning on a Saturday and I again wondered why I keep doing this to myself. Why do I race? Why do I give up my weekend mornings to sleep in and instead go pound the road for X number of hours in a race? I pondered the thought briefly then moved on and got ready to go.

I was up in New York for the week having all of my prostheses worked on by my prosthetist, Erik Schaffer. He had outfitted me with a new type of suspension system and I was looking forward to trying it out in my first race. I had picked this particular weekend to go up and see him because the ASPIRE 10k was being held on that Saturday.

The race is one that is held every year in Plainview, NY to raise money for ASPIRE, a non-profit that provides money to disabled athleltes like me. A lot of amputees who have received grants from ASPIRE turn out for it to show their support so I knew a bunch of people there.

The race went off at 9:00 and took off at a comfortable pace. I wanted to run about a 7:30 pace, but this was a training run (I did not taper prior to the race) so I wasn't going to push it. I felt comfortable the whole run, cruising well below my pain threshold. My leg went numb from mile 3 on, but that was about the only discomfort I noticed. When I hit the last mile marker I picked it up a bit and cruised in. I guess the speedwork I've been doing has paid off because I ran a 46:47 (7:38 min/mile) practically without sweating. And that is why I run. What a great feeling.