Tuesday, April 28, 2009

We did it!

Ok, pull up a chair, get a cup of tea and settle in for a story.

Lee, Kelsey and I took off to drive the running route and instead of reassuring us, it intimidated us. Lots of hills. Lots of miles. Lots of Advil. We met up with Jennie & Dean for a bite to eat; however the wait was over 90 minutes and we had to take off to airport to pick up Carly. Jerry & Denise took our spots in line. After we grabbed Carly, who was dealing with the onset of a wicked cold, we went back to hotel to pick up Natalie, who needed a cat nap. Together we all headed to the convention center to pick up our registration packets and do a little shopping. Lee was able to pick up Nick's registration/running number even though he wasn't there. I purchased photo frames for each "warrior" attending our meet & greet later and the manager gave me a discount after I explained what they were for. She said she lost both her parents to cancer and then proceeded to give me 25 Country Music Marathon magnets to hand out, too. We saw lots of funny tee shirts: "If found on road, please drag across finish line".

We arrived late to our own meet & greet dinner but Debbie, Barbara & Barry had everything under control and gift bags ready to hand out. Also attending were Jennie, Dean, Jerry, Denise, Alane, Makelle, Kailey, Michael, Tony & Sandy.

Lee shared an intimate insight to his observation of Nick's courage in facing cancer - by being in motion. We also took a moment to present a brilliant red cape with Nick's logo on it, given to Dean, as his fund raising efforts are surely due to his superhuman capabilities. We all know every superhero has an accomplice, and then a bracelet was awarded to his wife, Jennie, affectionately known as the "Extortionist", which was lovingly inscribed on the bracelet. (FYI - Jennie is one of Nick's fairy godmothers and the cape was designed and handmade by his other fairy godmother, Denise.) Off to an early bed for us all.

Saturday morning, we were to all meet in the lobby ready to board the bus by 4:45 a.m. as our hotel was about 30 miles from downtown Nashville. Not only did our family not make it in time, but neither did the bus. With quick minds and car rentals, we car pooled to the finish line at the Titan stadium and caught a shuttle bus to the starting line, just in time! The gun went off at 7:00 a.m. with 1 to 3 minute interval starts for "corrals". Lee, running a full marathon, was in corral #21 and had a 7:45 a.m. start (ish) and the rest of us were in #32 - dead last corral, running a 1/2 marathon, with an 8:00 a.m. start.

Kelsey and I broke away after the first mile because she wanted to jog a bit, and that is really about all we jogged, too. Jennie and Dean found a group of 40 or so women with pink hoola hoops, "Hoops for Hope," that were walking while hoola-hooping. Dean had found his inspiration and walked right smack in the middle of them. Jerry, Denise, Carly & Natalie kept pace just in front of the hoopers, which was at a fairly quick pace (quick for us...). Debbie, Makelle & Kailey were serious about this and were no where to be seen until after the race was over. Michael was with 4 other friends, all wearing Nick's Warriors shirts and then there was Tony.

Tony's sister, Joella, has been battling her own cancer for the past 3 1/2 years and was hoping to be here with Tony in the run. He even had a wheelchair all ready to go, but she just wasn't up to the trip this year. Determined to represent her, he still brought the wheelchair and proudly displayed a posterboard with pictures of Joella and her family. To add even more motivation, he pinned Nick's runner's number on the wheelchair, including Nick's electronic chip so Nick actually posted a time, a split second faster than Tony. He did terrific!

As Kelsey and I were along mile # 6 or so, I saw a very distinguished gentleman, in a distinguished neighborhood, sitting ever so dignified in his front yard. I had to stop and take his picture:

He asked me to join him, but I just sighed, smiled wistfully and started to jog again.

There was tremendous support along the entire route - bands playing, people with signs, cheerleaders, neighbors with sprinklers (some even with cinnamon rolls) and watering stations. Funny tee shirt on a very large woman that read, "Does this shirt make me look fast?" I noticed a runner with a "Cure Childhood Cancer" tee shirt on and when I asked her what she was running for, she said for her 9 year-old daughter who was fighting cancer for the 3rd time. I asked what kind of cancer and she said "Rhabdo". "I'm a rhabdo mom!" I said. Kinda cool to have a kindred spirit amongst the 35,000 runners.

Kelsey and I started to ache around mile #9; whine about mile #10; vocally complain at mile #11; eyes glazed over at mile #12; and thought the last 1.1 miles to the finish line would never, EVER arrive ("Are we even going the right way?"). Kelsey sprinted the last 100 yards to make sure she had a good picture; I walked. Carly prodded Natalie every time she saw a camera and made her pick up the pace while striking a pose. The girl is a natural. Jerry, Denise, Jenny & Dean came in just in front of the hoola hoopers - we all made it under 4 hours! We found Barbara, Barry, Debbie, Alane, Makelle, Kailey and Tony and made our way to the marathon finish line and after about 30 minutes, we were there to cheer Lee in as he crossed! We subsequently collapsed after that.

The following times are:

Rusty Hosea - 2:05
Lori Hosea - 2:32
Debra DiSimone - 2:19
Michael Barron - 2:16
Kelly Santangelo - 2:08
Tony Childress - 3:08
Nick Raitt - 3:08
Debbie Bruton - 2:34
Carly Raitt - 3:56
Natalie Brower - 3:56
Kelsey Raitt - 3:45
Lori Brower - 3:46
Dean Magnesen - 3:59
Jennie Magnesen - 3:59
Jerry Gill - 3:59
Denise Cummins - 3:59
Makelle Macrum - 1:37*
Kailey Larsen - 1:37*
Lee Brower - 5:09 (full)
* Makelle & Kailey's official time was posted as 1:37; however they swear there is no way they ran that fast and their ipods are probably right with a time of 2:10.

We are all home now, sore and tired. We are also thrilled with our accomplishment in our efforts to support Nick, CureSearch and First Descents. As of yesterday morning, we cleared $13,000! I will post all the pictures soon once I collect copies from everyone's cameras, both on this website and Nick's http://www.nickswarriors.org/ site.

Nick thinks he'll be losing his hair in the next few days but he is feeling so much better. He takes off to Moab on Thursday for a few days of hanging with the guys before his next round of chemo on May 6th.

Thanks to everyone for your miles, donations and prayers. You are all a true testament to what strength can be drawn from when we work together.

With loads of love and gratitude,


1 comment:

Chris Ulvin said...

Dear Lori,
Great story - the true ones are always the best. The remarkable efforts by everyone at the Nashville Marathon is a "God" way to start Nick's second round against Rhabdo. May Nick cross his finish line in record times just as Nick's Warriors did in Nashville. Nick will sure have a great team of family and friends cheering for him when he does.
Love to all, aunt Chris