Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sherpa Diaries

Shur-pa; def: A member of a traditional people known for their skills in guiding and assisting mountain climbers achieve their goals...

It has evolved into duties as a Sherpa. We carry kayaks, bikes, and jogger/strollers to transition areas, we drive the vans and deliver the liquids. It is an honor & a privilege.

So I was called upon for two weekends in a row; first in VA Beach for the Team Hoyt 1/2 Marathon; and second in Gulf Shores, AL for an Olympic Triathlon. We missed one of the team mates, Evan, but to see Kyle & Brent compete will drive any Sherpa to work harder to make these races happen without a hitch. The Triathlon in Gulf Shores was particularly moving: at the start as Team Magic announced Kyle & Brent and 500+ racers cheered them on at the start; then to watch Brent tie off the Kayak to his waist as JD & I carried the new, Advanced two-seater Kayak thru the breaking waves of the Gulf to get Kyle into smoother waters with Brent. Then, we met them a mile down the beach at the finish to transfer to the Jogger for a tough push thru the sand and back to the transition area. Then another transfer to the Bike; and then chase car support duties to get extra fluids and some very professional photos by JD. We did stop for waffle house coffee, and another visit to Officer Sanders from Baldwin Co. AL who drove me back & forth to get Brent's BlueSeventy wet suit when he needed it at the start.

Officer Baldwin providing directions to Waffle House
Finally, another transfer to the Jogger for the 10K run, and then meet at the finish line for more photos, ice towels, a beer (or 2)w/BBQ lunch and awards. All very moving, and a privilege to be part of. I am motivated to do another Tri of my own, but more often to think of these moments every day and try harder to lead a good life and appreciate what we have.


Transfer to the jogger for the run. 

It’s funny how things happen.

Kyle and I were talking one night and he mentioned they might be doing a triathlon in Alabama. Being from Alabama my interest was peeked. After a little research I found out that it was in Gulf Shores Alabama. While not my stomping grounds I have been there few times. I had the idea that the family and I could take a mini-vacation and help “Walking With Kpeasey” at the same time. Cleared it with the wife and we were a go!

We all understand that a lot of work goes into to a race. The training, the training, the training. What about the equipment? How does it get there? Who gets it ready? Who cleans it up?

At this point Kyle has all of the equipment for the most part. A bike (Freedom Concepts), a jogger, and a borrowed Advanced Elements Kayak. You can’t really just through those items on top of the Kyle’s van. We had to track down a trailer. Once we tracked one down we had to coordinate a pick up of the trailer and then the bike. Not monumental tasks in and of themselves but nobody has the same schedule any more so it was harder than one might imagine. Once all gear that was going on the trailer was acquired came the packing. You cannot forget anything vital or a six hour drive might be for naught. So lists are developed and checked multiple times. There may be an unpacking or two just to make sure. Packed and ready the Sherpa teams hits the road.

As mentioned in a previous post I like my coffee and I like to get up early. 0430 came early but it was right on time. We got to the Hang Out and found a perfect area to park right next to the transition area, Sherpa’s like to be efficient. Once registration was complete and all necessary credentials obtained we unloaded the gear.

For most triathletes this would be shoes, bike, water, nutrition basically. For team “Walking With Kpeasey” it is bike, jogger, shoes, padding, boat, water nutrition, etc... I believe we still did it in one trip. One of the big differences for Kyle is the swim. He has a boat. I was concerned with having enough time to get to the swim start and have the boat ready for Kyle and Brent, the race organizers had to wait until the last possible moment to set up the swim due to the changing direction of the currents. Not that this could be controlled it caused us problems. OK not really but it made me uptight. After the decision on the swim start was finalized I walked the mile down the beach to set up the boat ahead of Kyle, Brent, and Sherpa Pease.

The water was kinda of rough and there was a good 4-5 foot drop from where Kyle was sitting in the boat and the water. Dick and I made the easy decision to get wet to ensure Kyle and Brent got off to good start. It was fun walking back down the beach watching the swim. The take out seemed to go pretty smooth and Brent and Kyle were off on the bike in no time. This is where the Sherpas got to play.

Our Friendly Orange Beach man in Blue. Officer Baldwin

After putting the boat away there was a discussion of breakfast, coffee, mimosas, or track down the boys on the bike portion of the race. We chose the latter. Besides some great opportunity for some photography and chit chat with the boys we also handed of some Gator aide to Brent and Kyle while they were on the ride. I think one of the most memorable moments for this Sherpa was getting caught leaving Waffle House with coffee. You had to be there!

"Sherpa Dick" in for a cup o Joe

After the final transition from bike to run we packed up the bike and realized that the Sherpas were hungry. Dick and I found the Krispy Kremes. Now it was hurry up and wait time. We found our way in behind the gates to greet Kyle and Brent as they crossed the finish line.

The Sherpa’s job is not over when the race is finished. There is gear to clean and equipment to be returned. Perseverance, courage, commitment, sacrifice, fun, giving are words that come to mind when I think of the things that mean something to me. “Walking With Kpeasey” is a lifestyle that embodies these words and to quote Sherpa Pease “It is an honor & a privilege” to serve.

-John David Johnson

"Sherpa Crew"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's a good life!

It was Friday afternoon when we departed for Gulf Shores, Alabama.  It was our second trip in back to back weekends.  We didn't say much to each other, and my Dad was driving to give us a chance to rest.  As usual, I fell asleep, as is customary on every road trip that I go on!  I kept talking to a good buddy, John David Johnson, throughout the whole trip - who acted as one of our assistants for the weekend, along with my Dad. We stayed with John David's wife, two adorable kids, and his Mom, who made sure that we were well fed for the race.  We arrived about 9:30 Central time, and 30 minutes later I was in the bed.  We woke up the next morning at 4:30 am, threw on my All3 Sports gear and got straight in the car...but first John David had to make his coffee... typical!  We did our registration and got everything ready for the big event.  
 On the way to the race, I listened to one of my new favorite songs - "A Good Life" which really embodies how I feel about our incredible movement.  I think our friend Jill Poon described in a post how this song can sum up how we live each day.  We can make that choice on our own how we want to take on each day and this day was looking to be special...

All of a sudden we were off.  We did the swim, which had a lot of waves that made me a little scared at first, but I just kept telling myself "just get in it... just get in it!".  JD and my Dad got completely soaked, but we never looked back. 
Surf board might have worked on that wave...
 The swim was relatively low stress...for me at least!  Brent seemed to be cruising along in his Blue Seventy Helix and before I knew it we were coming into the beach for the swim finish.  Then it was off to the first transition which went smooth, with help from our great Sherpa crew! (more from the Sherpas at a later date)
The bike felt great in the beginning but by the end I was very tired, and my gluteus maximus (haha) started to hurt.  My first race on the bike seemed to be easier than today but we pushed through the small rolling hills and on towards the bike finish.
Overall though being back on our Freedom Concepts tandem bike was great and I can tell I am getting stronger in the saddle.  As we rolled into transition all the volunteers were waiting on us.  They had been something else on race day and we really owe it to Team Magic for putting on such a great race. As we loaded into our jogger and grabbed a little Gu Energy for the road it was time to push the effort.  We wanted to finish the race in a faster fashion than the last and it was going to have to happen on the run.  
Thanks Albopads! Those things make life great in the chair!
Before the race started we had talked with our coach Matthew Rose and the goal for the day was to manage it all for the run.  We pushed out of transition and I was talking to Brent letting him know how I felt.  We were taking on a lot of fluids and Gu to keep the effort up and as we passed some ice towels we covered my legs and head to cool me off.  IT WAS HOT!   As we crossed the finish line we realized that we had our best time ever (with a longer swim), and we and we even placed first in our division!!  
Finishing at "The Hangout"

Again a special thanks to Team Magic for an incredible race experience and to the awesome Sherpa Crew of John David Johnson and my Dad!  With the help of all our sponsors and countless others the race day experience is all the better.  This has been a fun journey and is only just beginning.  It's a good life!

Monday, September 5, 2011

We race and we grow

Hello Kpeasey blog nation, I hope everybody is doing well, and please excuse my absence from the blog.  We have been working on a lot of projects in anticipation of a big fall schedule.  Evan, Brent, and I competed in a 4 mile fun run two weeks ago. Lekotek was the sponsor of the event which is very near and dear to my heart because they help me with my handicap accessible technology.  It was a blast to be out with my brothers for the first time since the triathlon. We were laughing the whole time just the three of us and it was great to be out there together.  Even my dad joined in the fun as DJ of the event.  Great to see him spinning like his old Syracuse days!!

Look at him and Evan bring back the Jock Jams

Unfortunately, the New York Marathon, which we intended to race in November, had some rules that we could not get around and we have had to take that off of our schedule.  We greatly appreciate the opportunity, and we hope to race one day with them in the very near future.  Thank you to the New York Marathon people for helping us try to get it worked out.  This past weekend, we had a race with Team Hoyt VB in the Virginia Beach Rock 'n Roll half marathon.  
That's me in yellow with the rest of Team Hoyt VB
What an incredible group of people both runners and volunteers.  The Virginia Beach chapter of Team Hoyt aides the physically challenged in running events in the area, and we were very honored to be their guest this past weekend.  They take great pride in what they are doing and we couldn't have been happier to join them.  Even more exciting our cousin and friend Paul McNulty (read his guest blog here too) joined us as well who had his personal best of 1:51. 
Here is the McNulty Family with Son Kyle, my brother Brent, his fiance Erica and my father (our sherpa!)
On top of all of that we improved from our last Half Marathon effort by over 22 minutes and came in at 1:44!! It was incredible, and it just felt good to be out there.  The weather was great.  Nice, cool and crisp!  It allowed us to get into a groove and go for it.  
We ran alongside some very fast runners.  What a great experience!
One of the best parts of the weekend came off the course when I got to meet baby Kyle.  There are a handful of young kids in my life that I absolutely adore, and this one is one of them.  One of the sweetest, happiest babies that I have ever met, and he had a t-shirt that says K-Peasey is my hero.  Having Paul his wife Abbey there in support was tremendous and always wonderful to be with family.  Even more exciting was the chance to meet baby Kyle.  Paul and Abbey have named their son for me and I was honored to be able to race in front of him for the first time with his father.
Meeting Elivs was cool too...

Thanks to my good buddy, John David Johnson and his son, my boy, Logan for taking us out for a practice swim for our upcoming triathlon, the Alabama Coastal Tri, September 10th in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  I am extremely pumped for my next Tri and look forward to racing again next weekend!  I have not had as much time on the bike since our last race, so it will be fun but something I have to get used to again.  The jogger felt good in Virginia Beach and even with a little soreness I think we are ready for the run portion.  The fatigue is something I look forward to as it means that I am working hard in those races and that is important as we continue to do more of this. 

The Kyle Pease Foundation is continuing to move in the right direction and we are planning more to help grow the cause and will continue to update the website with information.  We are continuing to work on many events for the fall, including a bowl-a-thon, and will be looking for ways to get others involved too.  As always, thank you for your continued support and we can't wait to race. 


Thursday, September 1, 2011

What does KPeasey Mean to You

Hey folks!

As we prepare for our half marathon this weekend we reached out to good friend Chris Jones to ask what his KPeasey band means to him.
Be sure to follow our race this weekend and remember KPeasey as you go through each of your days.


What Does KPeasey Band Mean To You?
The KPeasey bracelet is a great symbol of what Kyle embodies as a person. When you wear the bracelet you have no choice but to uphold these traits that Kyle expects of himself. Setting your mind to do something and completing that action is KPeasey. The bracelets are also a constant reminder that things can always be put into perspective. People are drawn to Kyle because of his attitude. Wear the bracelet to a Braves game, on Marta, around Atlanta, chances are pretty good you’ll run into somebody else who knows what KPeasey is about. The brand that is “KPeasey” is recognized everywhere, and people are proud to represent it, I know I am. Not everything in life is meant to be easy, but without a challenge not everything is rewarding.  

Kyle with Chris and Wife Colleen