09 February 2009

My Running Friends

I have been involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program since January of 2005. Over the course of the past several years, I've had the opportunity to meet and run with some pretty incredible amazing wonderful people. Last night, we had our winter season victory party at Coach Terry's home and I was able to see the team that trained for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and the PF Changs Rock n' Roll Marathon in Arizona. I was definitely looking forward to going and was really excited to see the team and see how their races went.

The party was fun and it was so exciting to hear about everyone's race weekend experiences. It was also very inspiring to hear that Team in Training runners from across the country raised over $10 million dollars between the two races. Those millions of dollars will go to support cancer research and more importantly, patients and their families who are suffering from this devastating disease. How incredible to be a part of something with such an impact.

As we were sitting around the table last night, talking and laughing, I started looking around and pondering the wonderful people that I was surrounded by. I have been so incredibly blessed to know and run with so many fantastic people.

There was Coach Terry, who is out running with us every Saturday morning or whenever we need to get a training run in. His dedication to his teams inspires me, touches me, and reminds me of the type of person that I hope to become. His wife Susan graciously let us invade her home and I'm so grateful that she supports Terry in his efforts to help all of us achieve our goals.

There was Coach Paul and his wife Tammy, who started running in 2005 and have since become regulars at training and races. Coach Paul always has a smile on his face and a funny comment to make which keeps me running. Tammy is always so positive and happy to be out running. She always has a smile on her face and a bounce in her step.

Coach Julie was also there, with her princess earrings. Coach Julie is the walk coach and while I don't get to walk with her very often, I do love seeing Julie and talking with her. I love her quick wit and sense of humor. It was so AWESOME to see her completing the Disney World Marathon and to add that awesome Mickey Mouse medal to her Disney Room. She truly is the Disney Diva!

Carolyn and Danny Trancoso were there as well. These two are my prison warden friends and I was so glad to see them. I love to hear their stories and to run with them. Both of them have made a substantial impact in fundraising, but have also reminded me of how important it is to follow your dreams and to enjoy life.

And, then there were the Hills... Howard Hill was my first introduction to Team in Training. He is so passionate about this fight against cancer and his passion shines through in almost every conversation with everyone. He has run with me during times when I've struggled and he inspires me to continue to be a part of this great program. Plus, he's funny...always funny. Who wouldn't want to run with someone who makes them laugh?

Sherry Hill is one of my good friends. I was totally intimidated by the legend of Sherry because I had heard alot about her before I ever met her. She is training for Ironman Wisconsin. She is running the Boston Marathon in April. She is a life coach. She is simply incredible. I hope that one day, I might be half of the person that she is because she makes me want to be the best person I can and she inspires me to change the world.

I was talking to a friend last night about the party and he asked me why it was so fun. I told him that it was because of these incredible, amazing, fantastic, wonderful, fabulous people. Who wouldn't want to wake up on a Saturday morning to run with people who inspire you, who make you laugh, and who make you want to become a better person.