Tag Archives: Amy Gluck

Dashing and Burning, But Not Jumping

HERE’S A RIDDLE FOR YOU. As I arrived at the Running Fit Dash & Burn Soiree last night, a sticker with a mystery name was slapped on my back, and I had to guess who I was using “20 questions”. Hokey, but it got people talking quickly and easily with other folks they didn’t know – which I figure was the idea. So who was I? Here’s what I found out before I guessed (answer at the end of this post).

I am a very famous man, fictional, who could be alive in today’s world or earlier. I am not in entertainment, science fiction, a detective, or romance novel character. I am not a vampire.

Other notables spotted at the party included GWB, Pocahontas, Huckleberry Finn, Captain Kirk, Katy Perry, and the Terminator (green Woodstock shirt) who, fortunately, never figured out who he was.

Other notables spotted at the party included GWB, Pocahontas, Huckleberry Finn, Captain Kirk, Katy Perry, and the Terminator (green Woodstock shirt) who, fortunately, never figured out who he was. Not sure if he’ll be back.

The Dash & Burn is the annual party for the lovely and talented volunteers who help out at Running Fit events, doing stuff like unwrapping medals, putting up tents, directing traffic (cars and people), registration, handing out water along the race course, and cleaning up afterwards. “All for a T-shirt,” as Running Fit owner Randy Step puts it. As a multiple-event volunteer, I can tell you that’s not true. You get pizza, too.

Trail run to the Dash and BurnThe D&BS takes place at a secret location in the deep, dark woods. It’s so secret that you need to achieve the 33rd level of the Sacred Order of the Goat (*) and run four miles blindfolded to get there. Or just volunteer for any Running Fit event. And you can walk a shorter path. And the blindfold is optional.

It was also the perfect time to try out my new Saucony Peregrine trail shoes. I want to use them for Devil’s Lake, and a 50K on a rocky, treacherous trail is not the occasion for breaking in new shoes. Breaking an ankle, perhaps, but not shoes.

Okay, here’s a final “who am I” hint: I am an imaginary person – and to everyone, not just the figment of one man’s twisted imagination.

See, it's more than just T-shirts.

See, it’s more than just T-shirts.

There was also a raffle of sorts for a pile of leftover race swag. You wrote a fun fact about yourself on a slip of paper. Then Randy read the slips out loud, and when you heard yours, you went to the swag table and picked something out. Many of the “fun facts” were ordinary, but there were a few good ones. Here was mine:

Fun Fact

No one said the “fact” had to be true. (It’s actually 48 years.) “How high can you jump?” Randy asked me, and I managed a six-inch vertical. Hey, I’ll embarrass myself in public for a free camp chair.

It was this couple's 20th wedding anniversary. Naturally, they celebrated at a mosquito-filled campground with lasagna and beer.

This couple’s fun facts: it was their 20th wedding anniversary. Naturally, they celebrated at a mosquito-filled campground with lasagna and beer.

Her fun fact was, “I got hit by a semi.” Seriously. Below is Amy Gluck, who was hit by a gravel truck two years ago on her bike while training for the Kona Ironman. She endured a medically induced coma and multiple surgeries. I wrote about the Ride for Amy fundraiser back in 2012, but hadn’t met her until now. Rock on, Amy!

Amy Gluck - 2

And I keep running into the amazing lady below. Actually, we carpooled to the party.

WMiA with "Mg Girl". I'll let you figure out what Mg stands for. Hint: it relates to the subject she's working toward an advanced degree in.

WMiA with “Mg Girl”. I’ll let you figure out what Mg stands for. Hint: it relates to the subject she’s working toward an advanced degree in.

All in all, a fun evening despite the mosquitoes who laughed at my bug spray. Guess I’ll keep on volunteering!

Okay, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer, assuming you had any to start with. (One can hope.) Here was my mystery identity:

My first guess was "God" but this is probably the next best thing.

Ho ho ho! Sigh – none of the cute chicks volunteered to sit in my lap.

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(*) – It’s a Running Fit inside joke.

A Good Cause for a Wet Ride

I WAS BACK ON THE TRICROSS SATURDAY MORNING for the “Ride for Amy” event at Island Lake Recreation Area. It was around 40 degrees and overcast, so I took along some rain gear and extra clothes. Good thing.

Despite the less than ideal weather, turnout was good. According to Eva, one of the organizers, around 300 people had registered for the event, and there were many last-minute arrivals. I didn’t see anyone I knew; Saturday morning is a regular PR Fitness run downtown, and I think the word got out rather late that the event was actually a run as well as a ride (I chose to ride). There was no set distance; you could do as little or as much as you liked. The point was you were there supporting Amy.

We heard the very good news from Amy’s sister that Amy’s condition is improving. A candidate for state representative also spoke briefly. He asked how many cyclists in the crowd had ever been hit by a car, and I was surprised by how many people raised their hands. When he then asked how many people were afraid to ride on the roads, most people raised their hands (including me). He told us he supported the complete street program, making roads more accessible to other forms of transportation by adding bike lanes and pedestrian crosswalks. (Of course, “vote for me” was his unspoken but strongly implied message.)

Yep, these days the kids can come along, too.

It began to rain as we headed out, and I was cold from the wait, so I considered stopping at my car and adding another shirt. But something Amy’s sister said stuck in my mind as she thanked us for coming: “Yes, it’s a bit cold out there, but it’s nothing compared to what Amy is going through.” I decided that some minor discomfort during the ride would help me relate to Amy’s struggle and appreciate my own health and fitness that much more. So I rode on.

The ride course took the park’s two-lane road from one end to the other and back, a total distance of just over 10 miles. Given the conditions, I wore my bright yellow jacket and turned on my rear flasher. As a cyclist, there is no such thing as “too visible”. Yet I was surprised and disappointed to see several instances of what I consider a lack of common sense. Some riders wore dark clothing or were not wearing helmets. I also saw people riding more than two abreast, despite cars on the road behind them. Cyclists have a right to the road in Michigan, but they do not own it. Safety on the roads is a shared responsibility; both cyclists and drivers need to do their best to avoid preventable accidents.

I completed one loop and called it quits, deciding I’d done my part and it was time to get dry and warm. I checked out the auction room, full of gift certificates and gear to bid on (all proceeds going to support Amy). Then I checked out the incredible goodies in the food tent while listening to the triathletes discuss the triumphs and challenges of the various Ironman events they’d completed. Only fitting, given that Amy had been training for the biggest Ironman of them all – the World Championship in Hawaii, which took place today.

Everyone in the photo has done at least one Ironman triathlon (2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride, capped off with a marathon).

Given the turn in the weather and Daylight Savings Time ending soon, this may well have been my last bike ride of the year. Not exactly a picturesque fall color tour, but it was for a good cause.