Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Run, don’t walk – or, you know, walk – to donate to ‘Team Garlic’


My mom walks faster than she runs. This seems impossible based on the very definition of those two things, but it is true. During a road race, her hybrid style of mixing each means that she is actually resting when she is running. It makes zero sense, but you know what? It works.

It didn’t always work. It was maybe five years ago when my mom entered some race in my hometown of East Brunswick, and was literally the last person to finish. Like, the front bumper of the police car trailing the race was nudging her in the butt, the police megaphone yelling, “Please run, miss, so we can all go home.” Then my mom would start running and the police would say, “OK, that’s our bad. Please walk.”

Since then my mom has honed her style through extensive training. If there were a movie about my mom perfecting her routine, it would include a 45-minute montage of her run-walking up the Philly monument steps, but instead of jumping up and down with her hands in the air when she reached the top like Rocky, she would sit down and start drinking chocolate milk, which is what she drinks when she is done her workouts. The movie would be called “Judy: The Journey” and I give it five stars.

Earlier this year, my mom made the admirable, bucket-list-type decision to enter the NYC Marathon. She put a lot of thought into it, discussed it extensively with my dad and, although she was afraid and feeling inadequate and unprepared, she took the plunge and entered.

Then, a few months later when both sets of parents were visiting us here in Arizona, my mom, already knee-deep in training, mentioned to my father-in-law that she had entered the NYC Marathon, and joked that he should enter too. Without missing a beat he said, “Yes. Yes I will do it.” The ratio of thought put into this decision between the two of them was 1,000-to-1 thought particles in favor of my mom, and if memory serves me well, my father-in-law committed to this life-altering event while processing LPGA golf highlights on TV and throwing a tennis ball to our dog. My mother-in-law threw her hands in the air in frustration, having not planned to spend the remainder of 2014 supporting her husband’s extensive marathon training routine.

My father-in-law’s commitment was likely moot anyway, since entering the NYC Marathon is not something you can do on a whim. You either have to qualify or enter through an organization. My mom, for example, is a member of Team in Training, a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society-based organization that supports runners, walkers, triathletes, etc. and targets its fundraising for cancer research. It was unlikely TNT had any spots remaining, but my mom gave Tony the contact info anyway.

Less than 24 hours later, he was in, to the surprise of no one.

My mom had trained with TNT before for a half-marathon, and was familiar with, and inspired by, its mission. For Tony, TNT was initially a means to an end, but after meeting with their team’s coach and hearing the personal accounts of the loss and triumph associated with blood cancer, felt more committed than ever to the marathon and his fundraising efforts.

They’re a team, Judy and Tony - “Team Garlic” for reasons that are obvious to followers of this blog. Here is their team page. Maybe you will want to donate to them, for a good cause, certainly, but also for entertainment purposes.

You see, Team in Training is serious about, well, its teams and training. They have a rather regimented schedule of trainings and team meetings. Their coaches and trainers are experienced and they consider it important to utilize their vast network of support and encouragement. My mom is on board with this. Tony is … let’s just say he’s not exactly renowned for adhering to a routine. It’s more likely he considers himself a coach than it is he will utilize the support system at his disposal. Also, the NYC Marathon is in November. “PLENTY OF TIME.” – Tony

In all seriousness, I am super proud of these two 60-somethings for entering the biggest race in the world so they can run (run/walk) 26.2 miles in the effort of raising money for cancer research. They deserve your support, and if you can find it in your heart and wallet to donate, it’ll be worth it if only for the stories that will emerge from the ensuing months. 

I mean, you’ve got the fastest walker this side of the Mississippi, whose fuel is chocolate milk and revenge on the East Brunswick Police Department, paired with a man who once ran a half marathon with a hernia and a torn calf ligament and who will likely have to be reminded at some point in the next few months of the “exact date of this thing.”

Please also support my mother-in-law. Emotionally. 

Thank you.

                                   I mean, how could you NOT donate to these two?

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