“Our Sunrise 6K challenge was simple. Do what you love, do it how you can. Riley, my son loves running and racing, every day he wakes up and wants to swim, bike, run. Riley has done 27 full marathons, 100 plus triathlons, has been to one NP summit, and countless other distance races. He never misses a NP workout, or if he does it ruins his whole week.
More about Riley. He is a big personality when you get to know him. He drank his first Guinness this year. Has a steady diet of popcorn chicken and mini oreos. He loves his people, his Team Hoyt community, his NP community.
A couple more things, Riley was born at 26 weeks. Riley has Cerebral Palsy Spastic Displegia. Riley is more of a motivated athlete than anyone else on the planet. Riley uses a walker to walk around, but he pushes his parents to really get him around, around a marathon, a triathlon, to surf, or any of the other sports he so loves. He is the one waking everyone up on race day, making sure that his race chair has a new bib every weekend, and his medals are dutifully hung in the right place in his room.
This #covidtermission has been rough on everyone, Riley included. He lost his routine like everyone else. He lost a school friend to a car accident, and another disabled peer to the virus. He has chronic lung disease, which means he is one of those people who can’t really go out until there is a vaccine, so 18 months is a reality. Six feet isn’t good enough in Riley’s world.
But, we can still run. We run in circles around the house. Our Sunrise 6K is to show people we can. lace up.
We measured out the distance around the house 262 feet. 20.15 loops around the house for a mile. 6K equals 3.72 miles. 74.958 laps around the house. One step up through the left gate, one step down through the right gate. Let’s do 80 laps just to be safe. 79 possible bathroom breaks on course, 79 water stops, we got this.
Turn on Strava, go get it. Make sure you move a beer coaster every ten laps so you don’t lose count of laps. Keep the chairs axles from destroying the fences. Keep the neighbors from calling the police.
Get through 80!!! “What Strava says you’ve only gone 3.1 miles.” Somewhat relived Strava could track you at all, but persevere, keep throwing on laps until your Strava agrees with your goals.
Riley for the win, another PR, another age group and overall win. Where is the damn medal?
Do what you love, do what you can. #np_continues, #NPSD, #TeamhoytSD”
“I wake up, it’s 5:17..my alarm is set for 5:30, I go back to sleep.
I wake up, it’s 5:30, I prep for the run, grab a bite to eat, lace em up and go. Saw an insta post about the Ray Charles movie last night so thought I’d run to Ray today.
The sky is pink, and so are my hands, it’s brisk this morning, my nipples could cut glass right now. I walk to my starting spot, trying to wake myself up (I’ve been sleeping in late in this isolation). I start my watch, and off I go.
Chapter 1: Song – Hit the Road Jack
This first kilometre was tough, legs were asleep and I was trying to decide which route I wanted to take. I was also distracted and curious of why Jack had to hit the road, what did he do? But I could not lose focus. Last night I could hear coyotes howling through the night in the forest. I decided today won’t be a trail run, as I’m allergic to some dogs and don’t want to take the chance. We’re off on the concrete and pavement (I’ve set aside ice packs for my knees, knowing how this will go).
Chapter 2: Song – I’ve Got a Woman
My body is beginning to get into the works of things, I’m awake, but no one else is. This suburb is doing a great *SQUIRREL?!* job at physical distancing, but it’s creepy.
Chapter 3: Song – I Can’t Stop Loving You
The far end of the loop, have not run this way before, a bit of new territory, across the road I see another runner. He sees me, we nod and wave, and continue on at a safe distance. I’m getting hungry, I’m thinking about what I’ll have for dinner. Fish? Bean burgers? Last night I found some Chili I had frozen, easy and delicious. But I have to finish the run first.
Chapter 4: Song – Hallelujah, I Love Her So
This ones a bit of a bop, feeling good with a good pace now. Until. Last nights chilli..not the best meal before a run..I feel a fart coming, I let it out.Oh god it was a dangerous one, what’s happening?! Time to pick up the pace, gotta get home soon. I can’t even change the route to be shorter, it’s 6k or nothing, I just hope I can make it home in time.
Chapter 5: Song – What I’d Say
Another bop to run to, but is it too much, trying to find the best pace that’s a good clip without too much bounce. Looking at my watch, counting down the time, the distance, how many songs until I can get to my bathroom. Things are starting to get *SQUIRREL?!* tense.
Chapter 6: Song – Georgia On My Mind
Okay, this song is more calming, I can make it. But who put this hill here?! Why did I pick a route with a hill at the end, rookie mistake. 700m to go, I won’t go into descriptive detail of what I’m feeling, but I am worried if I’ll make it, trying to slow my pace down, things are moving around too much. I’m turning my last corner, 250m to the end of the run, but another 200 to my door after that. 50m, 30m, 10, I finish the 6k, without losing anything. Success.
I start to walk, still iffy whether I can make it in time. The longest 200m walk I’ve ever faced, I’m talking to myself to calm down, and keep things under control. I approach my house, I’m going to make it. I walk up to my doorstep, but I’m startled! On my steps..a SQUIRREL! It scurries always, and I scurry inside. Straight to take care of business, I made it, but…it was a false alarm.
Inside this house lies a sleeping woman. She gave me life, making me her last child of 3. She is bold and fiery, passing those qualities onto me. She’s confident and self conscious, also passing along those too. What she’s also passing along is her genes, and I’m watching hers deteriorate. I’m here during quarantine to become a solo caregiver for an ailing body and mind, who struggles to remember yesterday or the name of her favorite actor. Who can only move by using a walker and lives in pain. To know my future, as she knew hers caring for her own parents, is what gets me motivated to move my body and practice stretching my mind. To be an athlete is not something she was ever capable of, so I’m trying for the both of us to change our story.
“She greets me slowly
Like an old friend I haven’t seen for a while
My breath steady and slow
Her movement sweet and pure
The water glides between us
For no one else is awake
Except the world
The birds seem happy to see me or at least it sounds like it
And my pace is outmatched by each squirrel who passes
All the while still she greets me
The road flat and smooth turns to trail soft and wet
A hidden pair of eyes
As do they
A family of deer
They wondering what I’m doing in their woods at this hour
And so do I
But I thank them for sharing it with me
And we all carry on
At last she is up
And she stretches farther than I’ll ever know
And she laughs in pinks and oranges and reds
It is good to see her
For we haven’t met at this hour in a long time
And just as soon as it’s begun
It is done”
The Best “Ya’ll Good? – Savannah Lipinski Madison, WI
Even though it’s Monday and it’s a brand new week, we have to take a minute to reflect back on last Wednesday–the final Wed. of April–and the epic, global event that was the November Project Sunrise 6k.
Capozzi and I shared the idea about making a worldwide Sunrise 6k something we do as a whole big NP movement with BG, Bojan, and Laura, who keep this whole NP ship afloat, and they were like, “yeah, let’s do it…” And everyone did their part to connect with Strava and Brooks, and to hype the heck out of it, and to rally their NP-city communities to participate. Big thanks from us to BG, Bojan, and Laura for jumping in and really making it what it became. Initially we all thought there would be some excitement and we might get 1000 humans to rise with the sun and try out this “solo” Sunrise 6k thing. But weren’t we all surprised and amazed and positively freaking thrilled that about 18000 people signed up to participate in the event?!? You bet your butt we were. By the end of last Wed, just about 8000 people actually did a 6k and posted it on Strava. And the team of volunteers to read STORIES from all those who submitted them, have been busy at work reading.
I’m going to be perfectly honest, this sucks. I miss all your faces.
As a leader, when I stood in front of all of you spouting positivity and encouraging words, I hope you know that I meant every word. I mean EVERY WORD. I want to be in your presence as you run around the park early in the morning, with every step becoming healthier, stronger, faster. I love hearing your jokes, banter and laughter. When each and every one of you showed up, rain or shine, it gave me new energy, hope and it lifted me up. I wanted to be better for you.