Monday, October 7, 2013

Inspiration Dinner

One of the biggest things about race weekend with Team in Training is the inspiration dinner the night before.  At all my other events, these have been huge, with hundreds or even thousands of participants and their guests.  Our dinner last Saturday was tiny by comparison, but just as important.  First, before dinner, we walked around a bit and enjoyed views of the downtown Hampton, Virginia waterfront.

 After having a nice Legend Brown Ale draft - and toasting the memory of my friend Ed Stone - in the hotel bar, I went to the Inspiration Dinner.  First, I ran into some of the coaches and mentors waiting to escort us in and cheer for us.  Here is me with Coach Cheryl, who I wrote about the other day.
Then, there was Coach Chuck, our surprise guest coach from Richmond.  I was thrilled to learn Saturday that he would be making the trip down.  Coach Chuck is the best!  I wrote this ode to him after he coached our excellent team in Nashville, TN back in 2009.
Then there was a mini-gauntlet of clappers and cowbells, which is always cool.  The first time you experience this, at a huge TNT dinner, it is almost overwhelming.  This group was small but enthusiastic.
After this, the dinner went on, with recognition for our five fundraising "Rock Stars" (people who raised at least $2,700 for the event), a slide show of our honorees (all too many of which are no longer with us), the dinner, and our guest speaker, Chris.  Chris was the lifelong friend of Ed Stone, who we are especially trying to honor with this race, to be held on his birthday, October 6.  It is still hard to believe that this strong and determined young man is no longer here.  Chris gave a great speech about some of this memories of Ed, and of why the raising of funds for cancer research as we are doing is so vital.  Ed was a huge champion of LLS and Team in Training, having done over 20 events, I think.  We also got a handout with photos of Ed, and on this, I am honored to say, was the poem I wrote about Ed a few days after his death, "When I Think of You, Ed."

Our mini-team, Sisters Stone, consisting of Ed's widow Leslie and his two sisters Lorri and Meg, raised over $16,000 collectively for this event.  What a way to honor Ed's memory and his devotion to this cause!  Leslie also rang Ed's special cowbell to cheer us on!

After some information about the race and a reminder to meet in the morning at 5:45, our dinner broke up.  I went back to the room and finished getting my gear ready.  I snapped photos of the front and back of my race shirt, honored with the names of so many people who have suffered from cancers.

Then, I relaxed and read for a while, then hit the sack.  As is my tradition, I would get a terrible night's sleep before my race - never fails!


Happyone said...

I found Brenda's name on your shirt. Thanks for putting her there!!

Racn4acure said...

Of course, but I am sad that she could not survive.