It should come as no surprise that Pooh and his family are big fans of Dragon*Con. Pooh and family get a hotel room at the Hilton, one of the host hotels, and have a great time. He even found a way to get in his marathon training runs the last two years (thanks for the great routes this year to his awesome tour guide, KCB!). After one of the runs he and his son went and had breakfast and ran into Chrism. Pooh doesn’t see Chrism very often so every chance to chat is fabulous. During the breakfast banter Chrism mentioned that she has noticed Pooh and some of the other crew are runners and would any of them be interested in running in the upcoming Winship Win the Fight 5K. The Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University would be the beneficiary and any money we could raise would be a bonus, even if it was a few dollars. Winship is near and dear to our hearts because Chrism’s husband Bill is being treated for brain cancer. Pooh said he would look at his training plan to see if it fit in and got the information cards from Chrism.
Later that day Pooh decided that it was important to do the race and raise money regardless of whether it “fit” into his training plan so he signed up and began posting shameless requests on his Facebook page for support. Pooh had never really tried to raise money other than some walk-a-thon events much earlier in his life so this was new and had no idea what to expect. To his great surprise, satisfaction, and no small degree of relief, his friends and family and the friends and family of Chrism and Bill came charging in and gave what they could.
As the race drew closer and closer Pooh began to think he would just run a conservative pace. He had a very important 20 mile fast finish run in his training plan for the next day and the course for the 5K was a challenging and hilly one so he had no expectations that it would be a place to try and go for a PR (personal record). So with that in mind he began really looking forward to the race.
The most important numbers are that the participants raised over $440,000 for the center. Pooh’s family and friends and those of Bill and Chrism contributed $1,000 as part of his fundraising effort and this generosity was to prove very humbling and motivating to Pooh and it was these two emotions that brought him to the starting line on Saturday, October 5, 2013.
Pooh had already noted that this was a much tougher course than the last 5K that he ran for himself so his expectations was to run a pace similar to his 10K PR in the 7:50/mi range. He warmed up on the course and noted that course was indeed hilly. But when he got to the starting line he began thinking of Bill, his friend Heidi, his friend’s daughter Bea who had lost her battle with cancer the previous Christmas Day, and his friend’s father, Maj James Hardway who had lost his battle with cancer during the summer. He also began thinking of all the people that had donated to the Center on his behalf. And as soon as the “gun” went off the adrenaline added it’s kick to all the other motivating thoughts and off he went. He knew right away there was more than a 7:50/mi average in the tank so he went at a good clip for the first mile but tried to save some for later. The second mile was where most of the hills were and it was as tough as he expected. The third mile had some hills but more downhill than the second. And then the last 0.11 were all out. When he stopped his Garmin about 5 seconds after crossing the finish line (forgot to do so right at the finish) he was surprised to find that it showed a 1 second PR. When the chip time was posted it came up with a 6 second PR. Pooh’s previous best had been 22:40 and this race was 22:34. Hew finished 5th in my AG out of 47 people and 65th overall.
Despite the knowledge that he would probably pay for this effort on his fast finish 20 he was thrilled with the effort and with the entire experience. The effort to raise money for the Center was one of the more selfless things Pooh has ever done in his life and he was paid back with the strength for such a wonderful effort. Congratulations and well done Pooh, you silly old bear!