Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Happiest Hour

So like I said... these posts coming about the Publix 13.1 may be a bit out of order, but it was so great to hear from one of our athletes last week that we had to get that out there.  We should have some news from Curtis up later this week along with some notes from the 5k!!

Again, I cannot thank everyone enough for playing such a big part in an exciting weekend.  When we set out to start the Kyle Pease Foundation, we had no idea that in two short years we would have 10 athletes participating in a weekend of events!! What a true honor to be a part of it all.
The happy hour was a great kick off to our weekend and it was awesome to hear JDude speak!
Friends, athletes and good times!
 But the bigger joy was having more than a chair to show people but athletes.  Athletes like Rich and Kevin Enners, who are trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon!
And I thought I look determined on the course!!
Or Greg & Marin Smith in their first 13.1...
The photo we didn't post was her getting a mid race apple sauce :)

What a fantastic weekend and we have all of you to thank!  Finally I want to close out with some thoughts from one of our first volunteers.  It takes more than just athletes and our first round of volunteers came through at Publix in a big way.
Thanks everyone!!

A Volunteers Story:

The opportunity came through my company, LocumTenens.com, a supporter of the Kyle Pease Foundation, to assist one of their athletes through his first half marathon. I jumped at the chance and grabbed my awesome coworker and running partner, Liz to take part as well. On race day morning I finally got to meet the great Curtis Ward and was so excited to run with him through 13.1 miles of Atlanta streets. We got Curtis into his jogger and made our way to the start line. I was told I’d have another KPeasey volunteer, David Gaynoe, running alongside me as well as two cyclists to help clear the way of other runners. 
Curtis after his first race!
The gun went off for us at 6:55 to give us a 5 minute head start on the other thousands of runners. It was tough getting warmed up and within minutes of the first hill David offered to help me push Curtis which was awesome! David helped the whole way (thank you, David!) and together we got Curtis reaching some pretty high speeds on the down hills as the three of us shouted in unison, “Look out – coming through, we WILL take you out!” I was amazed at how many runners told us good job and to keep it up, many of them slowing down their pace to pat Curtis on the shoulder. I think we said, “thank you!” at least five thousand times that morning. No joke. Truly amazing. There were plenty of water stations, and Curtis never wanted any. But it was a different story when we got to the stations offering Jelly Belly’s and M&Ms! We fueled up and kept pushing through and before we knew it we were on our last mile. The crowds were incredible, cheering and clapping and pushing us through the last of the countless Atlanta hills. As we neared the finish line I was yelling at Curtis to wave to the crowds and enjoy this moment he had earned. Crossing the finish line was so exciting, a combination of relief and exhilaration. And watching them put that beautiful green medal around Curtis’s neck was THE BEST! We stopped for a few pictures and then enjoyed what we all agreed was the best chocolate milk ever created. I was so proud of Curtis for doing his first half marathon! I heard some people saying what a nice thing we did for him, but it was truly Curtis who gave me the gift that day. Thanks KPeasey crew – you are all inspiring and congrats to the amazing athletes who achieved new milestones on March 17, 2013. I will never forget it and can’t wait for the next one!
-Tara Freiberger 
Volunteer, Athlete
Tara & Curtis post race with medals.  (not pictured: chocolate milk)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My First Half Marathon Adventure

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. " - William Shakespeare 

TOGETHER WE WHEEL.  This past weekend we competed in the Georgia Publix Half Marathon and Cutie's 5k.  It was the true embodiment of what we set out to go as we all set out on under the darkness early Sunday morning.

KPF Athletes hitting the streets of Georgia
Pardon the order as we certainly have plenty of updates from our happy hour but Justin Knight or "JDude" just completed his first half marathon and we wanted to get his race report out! Stay tuned for Curtis next week and some updates from our 5k!


Happy Hour at The Family Dog was fun.  It took me a few minutes to get accustomed to the noise level, but once I settled myself I had a great time.  It was fun hanging out with Curtis, Kyle, Brent and everyone else that was there.  I was a little bit nervous about giving my first public speech but once I got the microphone in my hand and started to speak, the nerves went away.  It was neat to get to tell everyone what the Kyle Pease Foundation means to me and how I enjoy being a part of the group.
Just doing my first public speech.  NBD
The Publix Half was the second race that I have ever done.  The first one was the Holcomb Bridge Hustle 5K.  I didn’t really know what to expect other than knowing that I had to wake up at 4 a.m. to get ready to head downtown.  The whole week leading up to the race, all I could think about was getting up at 4 a.m. on race day! 
So, Saturday I crawled into bed early so I could get a good sleep.  I woke up at 2 a.m. because I was so excited, but went back to sleep pretty easy.  I was ready to rock at 4 a.m. on Sunday – even got up before my mom – which was no surprise!  LOL!
We got ready and headed downtown, found our parking spot and headed into Centennial Park to meet up with all the athletes.  I was still sleepy and trying to get awake as I rolled through the park. When we got to our meeting place, I spotted Liz, who would be my Pusher.  I was excited to get to meet her since we had already been talking on Facebook.  I got into the jogger, got strapped in good and tight and before I knew it we were headed to the start line.  There were people everywhere – I yelled out “COMING THROUGH!!”  as we made our way through the tons of people.  We ended up getting stuck in one of the corral areas, but someone moved one of the barricades so we could get through.  With about 3 minutes until the start, we were running up the sidewalk with a few other KP athletes.  We made it to the start line just in time!  The count-down began and everyone was cheering.  It was awesome when we took off running.  I was pumped up – it was so cool!
Me, Liz, and our bike escort had a great time as we ran through town.  It was real cool running by the Vortex, Freedom Park, and the Family Dog.  We had a crazy experience when some old man tried to pick a fight with us because he said we should have been on the other side of the street!  Everyone cheered us on and everyone loved my Newtons!!!
Coming through Va Highlands.  Liz is a rockstar and our escort was fantastic!! 

I was so glad to get to the FINISH LINE – I had to pee so bad!!!  My pusher Liz never let up. She was amazing! Raising my arm up in celebration, we crossed the finish line to victory!  It was a feeling that I won’t forget – finishing my first half-marathon and I have the medal to prove it!
Thanks Liz! Thanks Kyle! 

Many thanks to Kyle & Brent Pease and everyone with the KPeasey Foundation for making it all possible!  It feels so great to be a part of the KPeasey family of athletes!  I can’t wait to race again!! 18.3 miles and counting!!

Justin Knight

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Exceptional Athletes...Exceptional Happenings

I think some of my favorite posts are the race reports, they are a big part of what we do.  A foundation with a mission to improve the lives of disabled through sport, why not hear about the accomplishments?!?  But the goal was never to just write about what I did.  What I did with my brothers...No we wanted to share that gift.  Let others see what a joy athletics can be and more importantly when we share that same field as everyone else.

In just over a week we will be taking 8 athletes to The Publix Half Marathon & Cutie's 5k.  I cannot tell you all how excited I am to be taking part in such a great occasion for our foundation.  Of course this calls for a celebration right?? So in case you haven't done so already please make sure you join us next Thursday to celebrate the occasion & pick up new KPeasey shirts to wear on race day.

I'd like to turn the focus to two of our athletes competing in the Half Marathon (13.1 Miles) with us this year.  They are Justin Knight and Curtis Ward.  Justin Knight is from Conyers, GA and may have mentioned his desire to go skydiving one day...  They call him J Dude and he pretty pumped about the crowds on race day.    So now the race reports make sense as Justin will be sharing his race report with us after completing his first 13.1 mile race!! His mom plans to run with him for part of the race along with some friends of ours from our new partners at LocumTenens.com. We simply cannot say enough great things about all of their support in every way.  We look forward to seeing them on the course with J Dude & his family!
Curtis Ward is a long time friend of mine.  Curtis and I have played wheelchair baseball together and wheelchair soccer, but when I ran into Curtis at the movies, where he works, I realized he had to come see what endurance racing was all about.  It wasn't like the other sports we had played together.  It was hard to describe to Curtis what it's like rolling across the pavement with 18,000 of your closest friends and people all over the streets screaming at you to go faster. So we gave it a test run in November and Curtis' response was pretty simple..."When is the next one?"

No Curtis, we won't be sipping on coffee before the race this time
So we look forward to hearing Curtis & Justin's race report next time and for me? Well, I look forward to a great day for all the KPeasey heroes as we take the line as brothers.  Because  TOGETHER WE WHEEL!!!!

Hugs & Hand Pounds