Wednesday, June 17, 2015


This past Saturday I flew to Rhode Island to participate in the Blazeman Run at Aldrich Mansion.  This run was sponsored by Tri-Mom (a local tri team in Rhode Island) to benefit The Blazeman Foundation.  I had known about the run for several months and decided to fly up for it (with Derek's blessing) after I was selected to wear "179" at Raleigh IM70.3.  Andrea Peet has changed my life in so many ways, one of those being the introduction to The Blazeman Foundation and the legacy of Jon Blais.

My flight out was rather uneventful, a lengthy layover in Baltimore that allowed me to eat dinner, and finally landed in Providence after 8PM.  I forgot how much I love that New England accent and relished my short conversations with the airport employees and car rental folks.

My hotel was less than five minutes from the airport, so after checking in I decided to hit up a Walgreens for a snack and some bottled water.  I fell asleep quickly and slept soundly that night.

Sunday morning, I ate a Cliff Bar, drank water and a cup of coffee, and headed out to the Aldrich Mansion.  It's a beautiful mansion on sprawling grounds overlooking the Narraganset Bay, and surrounded by beautiful homes and quaint, quiet neighborhoods.  I checked in at the race and received my bib and race t-shirt.

The race options were a kids run, 5K and 10K.  My coach suggested I run the 10K, so I signed up for that distance.  Andrea and her nephew were racing the 5K - Andrea in her recumbent trike and Will, 11-years-old, running his first 5K!  DP was also racing the 10K.  It wasn't a huge race, but it is the first year and I hope it continues and grows.  There aren't enough 10K distance races!

I decided to take my 2:00 run/1:00 walk interval approach to this race.  The course began with a downhill grade, the 10K and 5K participants started at the same time and later split shortly after mile three.  I decided to just run until it started uphill again and then continue with the intervals.  Lots of hills, lots of heat, and several great people (as usual!) in the back of the pack.  They offered water at each mile, which was nice.  I did not carry any nutrition other than my Base salts, and did not take my own hydration.  I used the salt each mile except for mile 5.  

My interval approach started to fall apart around mile four during a particularly tough hill, and I was spent during mile 5. But I finished strong and you know I rolled across that finish line!

Official Race time 1:12:14

Will won his age group!  And DP finished second in his age group.  Team Drea does rock!

Team Drea members and family

Andrea, wearing 179,  crossing the finish line!

After the run, I was able to have brunch with Andrea and Dave, their families and Mary Ann and Robert Blais.  Wonderful conversations.  I had my first cup of REAL New England chowder and my first lobster roll.  Yum!

I didn't eat all the french fries, believe it or not
I ran into a hassle on my way back that evening (after changing clothes and spending a few hours enjoying lovely views of the water and savoring a decadent frozen coffee drink).  Southwest tried to offer lodging in Providence and a flight later Monday because of potential bad weather in Baltimore.  The scorching heat and humidity caused thunderstorms and BWI was experiencing delays.  I decided to risk going to Baltimore because the family needed me home.  Mads had camp Monday for the first time, Derek had to work, etc.

As fate would have it, I did end up "sleeping" in the Baltimore airport - the delay getting into BWI meant my connector to RDU left without me.

Nite nite!
I tried keep my chin up and overall I think I did well.  I didn't swear at anyone, and I arrived back home around 10AM the following morning.

That's less than 16.5 hours, you know.

16.5 hours - precisely how long it took Jon Blais to finish Kona in 2005, after his ALS diagnosis.  Knowing for a fact his time on this earth was limited.  Knowing he wanted to find a cure "So Others May Live."

I think if Jon Blais can finish an Ironman without complaining, I can deal with a delayed flight home.

Jon was with us on Sunday.  Andrea was asked to spread some of his ashes underneath a tree before the race began.  It was a touching, beautiful and moving moment I will never forget.

Everyone who started the race finished it.  And we all gained a little more gratitude, a little more appreciation, a little more drive to make a difference.  And a lot of it was caught on film, Jon!

Yes, there is a lot in this world that is bigger than ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. So happy to have met you Heather!! bmom and bdad