Sunday, May 3, 2009

Country Music Team Comes Together

I am going to write a series of posts about the trip to Nashville. In this first one, I will talk about Team Virginia and include a few photos. The next group of several posts will discuss the race - which was the main event. Then, in the final one I will talk about some things I saw in Nashville. It will take me a few days to get it all out there.

We had a great team and we really clicked. For those of you not familiar with Team in Training, TNT is organized into chapters. A chapter can be a state, as in the case of Virginia. Or it could be a small geographic area with high population, such as Eastern Pennsylvania or New York City. Or it could be a widespread geographic area like San Diego - Hawaii.
Our chapter, Virginia, had several smaller subteams. On the Richmond team, we all knew each other well, having trained together for nearly 6 months. But we didn't know anyone else from the state teams, nor did they know us. So we met for the first time in airports - a few driving to Richmond for the flight and others meeting us in Charlotte. A few others drove all the way to Nashville. In the beginning of my Ode to Coach Chuck, this is what I tried to express - that we came from all over the state. Here is a photo of many of us in the Charlotte US Airways hub:
When we got to Nashville, we were all starved - some had been up since 3AM - and several of us went out to find a place to eat. Here are some of my teammates walking towards Broadway in Nashville, and then at the Expo where we got our race packets:

One of the truly great TNT experiences is the Inspiration Dinner, formerly known as the Pasta Party. Teams from all over the US and Canada come together and eat a dinner together and hear speakers, including a survivor who usually has an inspirational tale to tell. But first, as we walk into the room, we go through a gauntlet of coaches and LLS staff who make the most amazing racket cheering for us. It is so cool - on my fourth event now, I still really enjoy it. Many are dressed in crazy fashion, and it is such fun. Here is a photo as I entered the ball room:

And here is a photo of some of team Virginia at dinner:

John "The Peguin" Bingham was our speaker and master of ceremonies. Even though this is the fourth time he has spoken all of at the dinners at my events and of course has to repeat some of his stories and lines, it is still very entertaining. Everyone laughed at the line about what kind of endurance atheletes are the winners of the marathon? They are only out there for 2 hours, while we will be out there 4, 5 , 6 or 7 hours! He told the story of his high school girlfriend dying from Hodgkins lymphoma back in the 1960's.

Our inspirational speaker was named Jim and told of his fairly recent experience surviving stage 4 lymphoma and all of the horriffic things that he went through in the last few years. But he is surviving, and back to running after barely being able to walk to the mailbox at times. The next day, he will be joining us for a half marathon. I hope that he keeps going!

At the end, someone snapped this photo of me, Chuck, Paul, and Kristi. Dig our cool blue team shirts! On the back it says "Virginia is for Cures", a take on the famous "VA is for Lovers" slogan that has been so successful for 40 years now.

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