July 9, 2015

Race For Respect 2015

Choosing a name for our racing team was quite a challenge!  We really poured a lot into it.  And then on race day we realized no one really even knew what it was all about.  So for anyone who missed it...  What's in a name?  Re: Henry ~ We are intrepid.  Henry was Addison's prenatal name.  Which we still call him quite often.  When he was born one of our friends sent an email with the subject "Regarding Henry".  When he was diagnosed with DS we started a private blog where we journal about our journey, his challenges, special issues relating to DS and inspirational people who have T21.  We call this "Regarding Henry".  The tagline "We are intrepid" is another way of saying, We can do this hard thing called running and Infantile Seizures and dysphagia (fill in the blank) because God gives us strength to do what we are called for.  Phillipians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

In January, we set out to build a team of 21 runners who love and support Henry and are committed to helping him overcome his challenges.  When the deadline arrived we were still 1 member short to be considered a team.  I'm not sure why, but race officials ended up extending the deadline by one more week.  Allen was exchanging work emails with a client whose youngest of 7 has DS.  He put the invite out.  She accepted and the mother/son duo brought us up to 22 members.  Isn't it neat how the Lord uses even the little things to bring us encouragement?

Our team was such an eclectic mix of many wonderful people.  We had several who took up running to join the team.  Others who had never run more than a mile before race day but wanted to give it a whirl to experience some of the challenges Addison faces.

We had people who are experienced runners and wanted to use their talents to show support for individuals with DS.

And we also had a wide range of age groups from the young to the slightly more mature.  This friend goes way back into our history and it was super fun to have their father/son trio as part of our team.  And these boys are FAST.

Our youngest runner was Carmella at age 3.  We figured she would just ride in the buggy as she did in the past.  But not Carmella.  She decided she was going to run along side her brother and has spent the last few months adding a tenth of a mile here and a tenth of a mile there to reach her longest run of 1.5 miles.  I know adults who can't do that.
And on race day she ran at 1 1/2 minutes faster than her previous fastest mile.

 I am so proud of this little girl who gives it her all and happens to look adorable in running clothes.  When she got a cramp around the half way mark her Uncle Terry pushed her in the buggy to the finish line.

Our oldest runner was Aunt Dawn, who thought she would not be able to make it to the finish line but she got out there and she did it.  Go Aunt Dawn!
We had homemakers, college students, engineers, and people from many different walks of life.  Although we did note we had 5 engineers on our team, and I think that's a lot.  Everyone came out in great spirits, gave it their every little bit and had a blast.  I am so proud of each and every runner.  They all represented the absolute purpose of the race.  Every life has challenges and every challenge is worth facing.

Race weekend started for us on Thursday when Emma started cooking like crazy and friends began arriving from out of town.  We got in a little pool time and lots of chit chat Friday while other guests arrived and we prepared for the post race party on Saturday afternoon.  The girls made team shirts and packed brown bag breakfast to go.  Brianna added inspirational running quotes for the team members.

And then we were off for the hour drive to DC. We love car trips and sometimes they are even more fun when all the seats are full.
Kaitlin made a CD with each team members favorite running song.  It was an excellent soundtrack to get everyone ready to hit the pavement.
For the record Carmella is not a fan of leaving the comfort of her own bed at 6:00 but cute little cups of yogurt help soften the blow a bit.
 Even with Elisabeth's emergency stop on the George Washington Parkway we managed to get to the city in good time to park and make opening ceremonies.
But then there was the parking garage.  This is always a big problem with our van... finding a place tall enough to park in a 15 passenger van is not an easy feat.  Some might even say the race itself was easier.  We planned on parking in the Reagan garage because we have successfully parked there before and it was conveniently located at the starting line.  Except when we got there we couldn't find any spots above 7 feet.  Enter some of those engineer brains.
 The attendants kept saying park here.  But then we would get there and the bars would be too low.  And at one point Allen and Terry considered just lifting up the post so we could slide into a spot.
 Fortunately, we finally found one spot.  No kidding... one... just one.  Allen swears it is the same exact place we parked last year.  The other guys all agree.  And I believe they are right on this one.  Allen knows his parking spots.  That spot was the only thing which kept us from jumping ship, abandoning the van and praying we didn't get a ticket.
Unfortunately the 20 or 30 minutes in the parking deck caused us to miss opening ceremonies.  But there you have it.  We did discover you can fit 18 people and 2 running strollers in an elevator if everyone sucks it in.  We vowed not to do this post race.  
Saturday was a beautiful day in our Nation's Capital.  More than once we thanked the Lord that it was not snowing and neither was there ice or rain like last year.

 I am also grateful for those who came all the way to DC to hand out water, handle same day registration or just to offer support to our team.  On Addison's team there is room for all help and no help is too small nor is any job more important than another.  We have surgeons, therapists, prayer warriors, and those who bring meals.  We have people who write letters/texts/emails of encouragement and those who run errands and take kids to appointments.  The list could go on literally forever.  But the important thing to note is not everyone can perform surgery and without those who pray the surgeon would not have success.  We need each and every member of Addison's team if he is to overcome his trials.  And on race day, not everyone was up for the run but everyone could have a part in supporting the team.

 These girls are such an intricate part of Addison's team.  I truly believe without them he would not be as far along as he is even today.
 And the man of the hour.  We run for him.  Addison is getting so strong.  He loves his rides in the buggy when we run and I look forward to the day he will run this race with us.

 These boys really surprised us.  They run at least three days a week but have not really seriously trained.  And yet they all finished in the top 20's overall.  In their age groups Nathaniel was 4th, Samuel 8th and Aedan 15th.  I would love to see them really challenge themselves and find out what they can do.
 Okay and this photo is just for Norbert... because... "She loves their legs."
 After the race we celebrated, not just the race, but all the accomplishments our team reached training this season.  Some gained miles, some speed and others got out there when they thought they couldn't.

I roughly estimated our team has run nearly 4000 miles already this season.  But none are more important than these three miles we ran for Henry and the thousands of people living with Down Syndrome in the DC area.  Many thanks for "We are intrepid" and all you do to support those with developmental disabilities.  Looking forward same time same place next year!  

July 8, 2015

Summer Lunch

I love easy summer lunches by the pool when its too hot to cook and too hot to eat more than a bit.  Cherries are in season for such a short time here.  When we can get them we take advantage of the opportunity and you will find them at just about any meal or snack.  For a light lunch they are perfect paired with some fresh mozzarella, sour dough bread and good olives.


Sidewalk Chalk

Summer is again flying by at neck breaking speeds.  With lots of rain and other "stuff" it seems we haven't had much time to soak in all the things we love about the season.  After last summer, it seems this summer is even more special than others before it.  I am trying to really enjoy the moments we have had and eat up what there still is to be had.

 We go through a whole lot of side walk chalk around here in the summers.  Even someone as lacking in artistic talent as I can make something that looks reasonably like something with side walk chalk.
 Carmella and I thoroughly enjoyed opening a brand new box of our favorite Crayola chalk 
 and doodling away for a few hours by the pool.