Make Mine a Double

The incredible gift and journey that is the amazing Liam continues.

After a nearly three year online relationship with my I Run 4 Michael run buddy Liam, we're stepping it up a notch. The relationship with Liam started a bit like a pen pal relationship. I met Liam through I Run 4 Michael which matches individuals with special needs with runners. The idea is simple...most all of these individuals can't run due to a variety of issues. You get matched up with someone then you post sweaty selfies to the IR4 Facebook page after a run so they can live vicariously through your running steps.

My relationship with Liam started just like that. I got to know Liam better through his parents Joan and Fabian who are ex-military and raise their 18 year old Liam who suffers from Hydrocephalus and Cerebral Palsy. Liam has had over 150 brain surgeries, is blind and confined to a wheelchair. As I wrote about in (Put in a Nickle and Get Out a Dollar) we met finally face-to-face at his birthday party in San Diego where I flew in and surprised him and his mom. We stepped up the relationship agreeing to race at the Rock n' Roll Carlsbad 5000  this last February.
Ty and Liam at the Carlsbad 5000 (Illustration by Ty Godwin)

That just opened Pandora's box. Just like anyone else who took up running and ran their first race, Liam and his parents were hooked--WHEN CAN WE RACE AGAIN?!?

We started a fund raise to get Liam his own Team Hoyt running chair and met an amazing set of folks at Carlsbad that wound up fully funding his blade courtesy of Maggie Seymour from who's 3/4 of the way through a transcontinental run and fund raise for special needs and military communities. Maggie rocks!

Back to the "when can we race again?" Joan, Fabian, and Liam had planned a family vacation to Colorado and Joan and I started scouring the calendar for a race in the Denver area while they were here in October. We "circled the calendar" for the Colorado State University Homecoming 5K in Ft. Collins, Colorado. I went to CSU and I've got two kids that are CSU students (one graduated) and my middle son is a Jr. there. Perfect as I'd never run the 5k there.

All good, but a flame was burning that I was drawn to. Denver has the Rock n' Roll Half Marathon the following day on Sunday October 15th. Not wanting to slight my family with the full weekend of revelry and activities that include the Homecoming game Saturday night, I contemplated, "hemmed and hawed" about, "can I make it a double and race on Sunday too?" I was waiting for the announcement of the game time for the CSU Rams hoping it would be an afternoon game. Race in the morning, watch a little football in the brand new stadium in the afternoon, and get to bed early for a big race in the morning.

Except for one detail...they announced the game time as 8:15 PM. Gulp...I'm doing the "clock math" and figuring I get to bed no earlier than midnight and have to get up at likely 4 AM for the drive from Ft. Collins to Denver.

I finally use four reasons to say "what the heck, sign up!"

1) For major races I'm lucky to get four hours of sleep anyway; tossing and turning and staring at the clock every fifteen minutes.
2) Maggie is running from San Diego to Virginia Beach. I can certainly tackle back-to-back races (which I've NEVER done) and run on short sleep if she can run 3000 miles.
3) Liam deserves it! I live in Denver and he lives in San Diego so our chances to race together are few.
4) It's the ROCK N FRICKING ROLL Half Marathon! Bands every mile in my hometown...I just can't let that opportunity pass us by.

Liam's mom Joan is a blend of crazy excited, emotional, and nervous. One thing to run for 22 minutes in a 5K race, but a whole other matter to be out there for an hour and forty minutes (my PR in a half is 1:29, but due to my knee, my run volume and timing has suffered. I'm likely going to be in the 1:40 to 1:45 range I'd guess on that Sunday.)

A lot of logistics to iron out in the next ten days getting Liam, all his medical equipment, and brand new badass Team Hoyt blade to Denver.

As we approached the Carlsbad 5000 earlier this year, I asked Joan if Liam knows who I am. He does not really talk, but makes all sorts of great noises to communicate when he likes something like popcorn. He can't see me, but Joan assures me, that his other senses know who I am. On a brisk cool day in San Diego this week, Fabian got Liam out in the blade and he was smiling the whole time. He loves to race and just wait til he gets the adrenaline of a half marathon fueled by Rock n' Roll. Rock (n' Roll) on!


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