Monday, August 20, 2012

Jenna, Jennifer, Kimberly: My Racing Trinity

Last week I wrote about how wonderful it has been to write screenplays with the intent of having actress, model, and elite triathlete, Jenna Parker star in those pieces. I also mentioned how we have begun working together as she deserves all the credit for getting me into what at this point is the best shape I have been in a long time. She has been providing me great wisdom, guidance, and plans. My job is to follow her instructions then go out and crush my races. After all, the only way people can see how great of a coach she is would be by my ability to romp and stomp in my races. As Jenna continues to work her magic in preparing me for events, I have been keeping an eye on potential sighted guides. I am so blessed that through my association with C Different Foundation, Dare2Tri Chicago, and Imerman Angels I have been introduced to some amazing accomplished athletes. I have also had the privilege of connecting with some wonderful individuals through the power of Facebook and Twitter which has enabled me to network with some of the best in the world when it comes to athletics. Two such great individuals whose friendship means so much and who have opened my eyes to what greatness looks like are elite marathoner, Jennifer Pfaff and elite Ironman triathlete, Kimberly Shah. Jen and Kimberly took me the distance at last year's Chicago Marathon where my finish time was not only forty-six minutes faster than the previous year, but it was good enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon as a Blind/Visually Impaired runner.

This year, I once again teamed up with Imerman Angels One-On-One Cancer Support to run the Chicago Marathon on Team Imerman. I wanted to raise funds for a great cause and amazing people while setting my sights on once again crushing my marathon personal best. I truly believe that without Jen and Kimberly, I would not have been able to achieve my result last year so of course, those two women were my first choices to guide me this year. I am sorry to my other friends who have expressed interest. I have seen how quickly Jen has learned to know when I am in need of support and a hug on the course and when the best thing for me is someone who must drive me no matter how much pain I am in at the time. She seems to know that whatever I may be saying may not be exactly what I feel or want. Kimberly is similar too. As I have written here before, Kimberly and I had a training run a week prior to last year's marathon where we sprinted on the beach and did not speak the entire time. Usually, I wish for my guides to speak so I feel comfortable knowing they are next to me, but on that day, Kimberly not saying a word was one of the most amazing experiences as although neither of us spoke, it was as though our bodies and breathing communicated our feelings. It was better than any runners' high.

I must admit that I waited to finally reach out to Jennifer and Kimberly about the Chicago Marathon because I was scared that their schedules would not permit. Ever the artist, I also was worried that between last year and now, I may have said or done something which angered or at least, bothered either woman to the point that they would never want to guide me for a race. Artists know exactly of what I speak. To my great surprise and excitement, both Jen and Kimberly have informed me that would be willing to take me the 26.2 mile distance for the second consecutive year! I do not know whether to yell the way Cuba Gooding Jr. did in Jerry Maguire when his character received a new contract or to get up from my keyboard and run through the streets the way Jimmy Stewart did in It's A Wonderful Life when he realized he had been given another chance to live. I look forward to running the streets of Chicago with these spectacular women. Armed by the guidance from Jenna, I know I will be able to achieve even greater results than last year. Jen and Kimberly also know me better and will know when to push all the correct buttons to get me across that finish line. Maybe just maybe, we will have the pleasure of experiencing what we did last year when they guided me across the finish just as NBC 5 Chicago's cameras were showing the finish line during the station's live TV coverage. I know that Jen and Kimberly are amazing accomplished athletes who have tremendously big hearts. It will be an honor to push my physical limits along side these talented gifted athletes. It will be an honor to perform better than I ever have at the marathon distance. It will be an honor to go out and crush this course and in so doing so, make Jenna proud knowing she is the reason I am in the best shape of my life and along with Jen and Kimberly, one of my trinity for the best performance of my life!

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