|Photo credit to Lindsay Wirthlin|
Last year, the bike course was one mile longer, and I finished the race in 1:10. This year, my new coach wanted me to finish it in 1:04. I topped that by finishing in 58:42. Very happy about that.
But I was most happy to meet Andrea Peet. I finally got to give her a hug, and meet her friend Julie (who raced the Ramblin Rose wearing #179 and it was her race for the Team Drea Challenge). We all had lunch together after the race with other Team Drea supporters.
This past Friday, Andrea shared with Team Drea that her dear friend is now an ALS Warrior-Spirit. Her friend, Lisa, diagnosed shortly after her wedding, passed away last week. I know this was incredibly difficult, angering, and heartbreaking for Andrea. She asked us to please race, run, and remember her friend this weekend - and I certainly did as I pushed through my own physical pain/discomfort that goes along with racing. Please rest in peace, Lisa McMillen - and many prayers of comfort for your family.
Andrea has said more than once that she believes an ALS diagnosis is harder on the spouses than the patients. This weekend I also met Andrea's parents and her husband, DP. Andrea's mother is a very sweet woman - she has a comforting, positive aura and I very much enjoyed the brief conversations I had with her. Her father is very sweet, always had a smile on his face and was very kind to me and my children. And DP is tall, handsome and also very kind. I get the impression he is a lot like my husband. You know, a little bit quiet and shy, but very intelligent, kind and funny.
At one point I caught Andrea watching her husband as he left the restaurant for a bit. The only way I can describe her eyes is "love." I know that love, because I feel that way, too, when I watch my own husband sometimes. She loves him so much - Andrea loves all her family and friends with every bit of her soul. She loves this crazy world so much - she wants to make it a better place. And that is one of the many qualities about her I am thankful for. Her "love," her honest caring, is what inspires me to want to keep on doing all the things - to never quit.
More so now than ever, I also want to dedicate my races to her family, friends and especially her husband. We WILL find a cure for this disease. I wish so much, with all of my heart, I could make that happen today. Right now.
Please consider donating to my page for Team Drea. Take a moment to read about the wonderful work the Blazeman Foundation does for ALS research, patients and families. Thank you.