Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Peachtree Road Race Through the Eyes of the Athletes

As Brent and I have expressed on many occasions, The Kyle Pease Foundation was created for a far bigger reason than for me to see my name in lights. Any of you who know Brent and me are  aware that KPF was formed to allow others to experience the same feeling of joy that we feel every single time we compete. Witnessing smiles on faces is a very greater feeling than collecting personal press clippings.
From the very first race, we experienced a feeling of accomplishment, a sense of belonging and the ability to experience what it feel like to compete after living much of life viewing from the stands. To share that feeling with other athletes is an incredible gift to be able to give.
It gives me equal pleasure to turn the blog over every once in a while to the athletes of the Kyle Pease Foundation allowing them to share their feelings with our loyal readers.
This week, it gives me great pleasure to hand over the blogging reigns to Justin "J-Dude" Knight and Matt Shectman, who experienced the Peachtree Road Race together earlier this month. I know you'll be inspired by their words.  
Through the Eyes of J-Dude:  This was my 2nd year running the Peachtree Road Race.  I was so excited to have lightning speed Matt pushing me.  I knew it was going to be a great race with my buddy Kyle.  It was an early morning, it was raining, but I didn’t care.  I was ready. 
After getting settled in the racer, we headed to the start line and we were all smiles.  Of course I still had to talk a little smack to Kyle and Brent along the way.
 The race started and it was so cool.  I was cheering Matt on and blowing my air horn as we blazed through the streets of the ATL.  We were so fast that the water station volunteers didn’t even have time to set up before we were flying past them.
I loved cheering Matt on and I could hear the crowds cheering us on as we flew past.  What an awesome feeling to be racing neck and neck with Kyle and Brent.  It would crack me up as we would pass them and then they would pass us. 
I think the funniest part of the race was at the finish line when we were running so fast, we were drenched, the road was so wet that we actually couldn’t stop.  To quote Matt, we did a “Flintstone stop”. 

Racing with KPF gives me a feeling of happiness that no other sport does.  Running these races helps me to feel that I can do anything I set my mind to, and has helped to build self confidence that I had lost at one time. 
I am forever thankful for everything that KPF is and will be!  I can’t wait to race again at the upcoming triathlon and IRONMAN FLORIDA!
Through the Eyes of Matt: About two months before the Peachtree Road Race we were contacted by the Kyle Pease Foundation about potentially doing another event for the Foundation (we had done some great stuff with KPF over the past year, so it was time to up the ante a bit).  
Given everyone's interest in running and what better event out there than the 4th of July, we all decided that we should do a big event for the Peachtree Road Race.  It was my first experience pushing an athlete for KPF and so I was a little apprehensive, but once we got the ball rolling with Lululemon and KPF, there was no turning back!  

All of the events and fundraising leading up to the main race on July 4th were amazing.  We had such great support from our students, the KPF donors, and so many more people.  It was truly incredible to be part of.

By the time a rainy July 4 morning rolled around, it almost
seemed surreal, like the event was finally happening.  We were so thrilled to be out there and I couldn't help but put a smile on my face happy to be a part of the race when it was clear that Justin and Kyle were ready to go and compete!

Even though the rain kept the crowd turnout pretty low over the early miles, we were amazed by the turnout at the Shepherd Center and toward the finish.  I don't think I've ever pushed so hard in a race, and I was sore for a few days afterward, but reveled in all the fun and hard work put forth by everyone involved.  

It was a truly special time for me and for all of us at Infinity Yoga.  We are truly blessed to be part of such an amazing organization!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Weekend is a Winner for KPF

To say it was an incredible day for the Kyle Pease Foundation would be a huge understatement. I could not be more proud of what the past few days have looked like for our Foundation. 

Several months ago, we came up with the idea of making the Peachtree be a friendly competition since the Atlanta Track Club was generous enough to grant us two bibs this year.

Team Pease was made up of none other than Brent and me, while Team Infinity was comprised of Justin Knight and Matthew Shechtman. 

The two teams went to head to head in the Peachtree 10K. As many remember, Brent and I blazed the trail becoming the first assisted race team to compete in the Peachtree two years ago. To now be competing with and against another KPF team is a step closer to our foundation goal of inclusion for all. 

All four of us were attired in our cool lululemon race gear
which were donated to us by lululemon, The Shops Around Lenox. We wore red and blue and Team Infinity were attired in blue tops and maroon shorts.

To my surprise, Team Pease was considered to be the underdog just prior to race time as Matt's previous PR was a blistering 34 minutes. 

Justin's smile, prior to, during and after the race really sparked me because aside from the mission of the foundation,  my personal mission is to see the smile of every athlete that comes through the foundation. That's what it is all about for me. Justin Knight is precisely what we envisioned when we started the KPF and for me that brings absolute joy. 

The weather was dicey all day, but the rain did not dampen our spirits. Justin and Matt had an amazing race and beat us fair and square.

Following the race, Matt shared his thoughts about the race and the weather. "It was a lot of fun out there running with Justin. Despite the dreary weather and early morning downpour, Justin and Kyle were in good spirits the whole time. Their enjoyment and competitive nature was infectious and it made it hard not to revel in the moment."

He continued, "As soon as the gun went off the race was on and Kyle and Brent pushed the pace hard, but soon we were coming up on other wheelchair athletes and Justin let it be known that he was ready to go faster.  From there it was just about hanging on tight - I needed it too, because going up Cardiac Hill was tough, but all of the applause and cheering at the Shepherd Center was plenty of motivation to get me over the top!" 

"Frankly, I couldn't believe how quickly the race went by, it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Excited for next year!!"

In addition to the race, it was overall an amazing weekend. With the help of lululemon and  and Infinity Yoga over $10,000 was raised for KPF. W are so grateful to have these amazing companies behind us and we could not have done it without them. 

Our friends at Infinity Yoga had this to say, "We, at Infinity
Yoga, are so proud to be partnered with the Kyle Pease Foundation.  Through our early beginnings we have had the opportunity to do events with KPF and every time we do they get better and better.  Beyond the beneficent goals and all the great things that KPF does for athletes, we have gotten to know the organization's members and athletes in such an intimate and personal way and even our students and community have gotten involved."

"It is one thing to raise money, and another to give time, but to feel so deeply connected with an organization and its goals has really made our experiences with KPF unforgettable." 

The Kyle Pease Foundation would like to thank lulu Lemon and Infinity Yoga, along with the Atlanta Track Club and Shepard Spinal Center for their continued support of KPF.