Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mission Accomplished!

It has been about 4 days now since finishing our final piece to the fundraiser, all of my swelling is gone and I am walking pretty much normal again. It will be a while before I run, but the itch is still there! Over the last few days I have been writing a "run report" but when I got 5 or 6 pages in and wasn't even half done I called it quits. I am sorry to say but there is just no way I can do all of you who helped me justice with words. Over the course of last weekend I seen first hand what this great nation is about and that's honoring those who have sacrificed for it. I have gotten many "atta boys" and "good jobs" from people but to tell you the truth I feel as if I am not worthy to stand in the presence of a military man or woman who has been shot, taken an IED blast or came home with limbs missing. And to be honest with you, I feel I never will.

This fundraiser to me was something very special, it was larger than anyone person. I was just informed today that we have another $500 plus coming in which is going to bring us very close to $32,000 and I use the word "us" because all of you who donated were just as much a part of this as me or any of the crew. I am going to give you a couple of key things that happened and if you followed Angel's updates on facebook you should beable to fill in the rest.

-At 10:00pm Thursday Sept. 9th we left Nebraska and headed south, I was sent off by some of the American legion Riders, local fire dept, police and a group of hardcore Americans. it was drizzling and they waited in that for us! - Some time around 2 or 3am on Friday morning the American Legion Riders escorted me through Concordia, still drizzling and they showed anyway.

-Around lunch time or a bit after on Friday we entered the town of Salina. Huge American Legion Rider escort and tons of support from local citizens. It was getting very hot, my wife rode next to me on a bike and helped me through. When I told her I was getting hot she looked me square in the eye's and said "were Clark's, we got this"! I never complained to her again about the heat.

-Just before Linsborgh I started to overheat pretty bad, my crew made the call to put me in the RV and cool down for a bit, best move they could have made, thank you guys! -Cooled down my body and went through Linsborgh, another ALR's escort and tons of citizen support, nothing better than small town Kansas. Some of the most Patriotic people you will ever meet!

-Getting to be evening time and we made it through McPherson, now we are half way but the afternoon heat took it's toll on my body. Took a good 20 to 30min nap and was greeted by a lot of people trying to get me through the night. The next few hours were brutal, could not get my legs to work and my stomach went south. Had to vomit multiple times, this was the slowest part of the entire run. Brandon, Fernando, Debbie, Coleen, Matt, Randy, Winston and probably others I forgot somehow pushed me through and we got past Hesston.

- Just before the sun came up another short 10min nap and my stomach final started coming around. One of the ALR's drove all the way to town to get me some Cream of Wheat that my crew requested? Where this idea came about I still do not know, but it saved me literally. I ate that and I was brand new, we made great time to Newton. - I picked up Stuart in Newton and he stayed with me all the way to the border, thank you Stuart. It seemed like we flew through Newton and I was eating solid food and feeling great. Just before Park City it started getting hot again and I had to sit for about 15mins and let my core cool down. Once I did that and got to running it is all a blur. I do remember coming up on some road construction that detoured us about one mile, so actually we did 225 miles. It was a bridge out just before Wichita and the Wichita FD volunteered to get the safety stuff out and lift me across!!!!!!! The powers that be shut that down though, that one mile I walked the whole thing I was pretty upset. Then at the end of the detour tons of friends were waiting for me and I went from 0 to 100 super quick. A couple of hugs later and Wichita here we come.

- Wichita was like a big party, tons of running friends were there, the ALR's showed in a HUGE force and support was out of this world. The Wichita PD was the only law enforcement agency in the entire state that decided our event was not worthy of an escort for some reason??? So the ALR'S took it upon themselves to play traffic patrol, I am so in debt to those ALR's it's unreal.

- 47th and Broadway did me in pretty good emotionally, lucky I had my sun glasses on. The ALR's lined both sides of the streets holding flags and it gave me chills down my spine. Then I looked to my left and seen my Grandma Clark holding a big flag yelling "go Tony", I think Stuart knew that got to me. Like I said, luckily I was wearing sunglasses still.

-The AlR's got us all the way through Haysville and i was moving pretty well until about 15 miles till Wellington. The sun went back down and this was night #3 and my body was telling me. It was slow going but we made it to Wellington about 2 or 3am and was greeted by people to my disbelief and the Mayor!!! Like I said, nothing better than a Kansas small town, they bleed Patriotism.

- After Wellington my legs could not muster much running for the last 20 miles to the border. Every once in a while I could a very sad trot or jog, but it was pretty weak. I was still powerwalking at a good clip so I stayed with that the best I could. It seemed to get very cold and my body could not maintain heat anymore. I was layered up pretty good and just tried to put one foot in front of the other.

- About 10 to 12 miles to go and I saw my 3rd sunrise and also got another good burst of energy. I could jog a little more but my powerwalk increased and helped knockout the miles. With about 5 to go the entire crew minus drivers got out there with me, again I had my sunglasses on and none of them have heard this till now but I fought back a lot of tears. These people had been with me for over 2 days waiting on my every need and I had no way to show how much that meant to me. It was tearing me apart.

- The last 1 1/2 to 2 miles I did with just Angel. We talked and laughed and it seemed kinda unreal we were finishing. We ran quite a bit of this, how I have no idea? About 3/4 mile from the finish was a Sumner County Sheriff with a flag standing by the side of the road at attention. This was the final burst of motivation I needed, Angel and I started to jog and didn't stop till the finish. Nothing better than sharing one of the most memorable times of my life with the woman I cherish the most!

For those of you that know me, you know that I put 100% faith in GOD to get me through this run. Angel and I prayed to Father Kapaun often and I spent a lot of those hot miles asking GOD to give me mental strentgh and some how find a way to glorify him in what I was doing, hopefully I did that. To my core crew and all who ran with me, I believe we have all spoke since and I want to thank you again. To those of you who donated and helped in anyway thank you. This was a great event and re energized a lot of people, me especially. I was beginning to think America was completely gone, but this past weekend all of you reassured me she is far from gone and still loves the veterans of this country.

This will most likely be the last post to this blog, I would like to take one final opportunity to thank all of you and thank you for humbling me with the things I do and the support you showed this fundraiser and the Wounded Warrior Project. May GOD richly bless all of you, in all you do. Semper Fi, Tony.
video

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Final Post - Thank you

Well only 48 hours or so and we begin. This will be my final blog post till after the run, I am basically going to sleep the next two days away, so this “posting” will be a bit lengthy.

This whole thing started with a phone conversation between Dan Elsener and I, the next thing I know he is talking to Pam Reed, probably one of the greatest runners to ever walk the earth, who by the way makes my 224 miles look weak – she has gone 300 plus. She gave him great tips and pointers, we then got the permission from Angel (my wife) and then added Kyle Amos who is a very experienced ultra runner and knows the rigors of a multi-day event. The next thing we know a goal of $25,000 is set and it’s been a blur since then.

TRAINING
So this summer I decided that I had to learn how to “run smart” finally. I am by no means a “great” or “elite” runner but I do have my days that I liked to try and run fast and be competitive, I had to completely shut myself down to that type of running and learn to run slower and easier, this was much harder than I ever thought. Throughout the summer I averaged around 130 miles a week usually doing at least 20 plus miles a day during the week and 30 or so each day on the weekends. We had a VERY hot summer in Kansas this year, basically 2 months that we hovered in the mid-90’s or triple digits. It was a real gut check, but I listened to my body and trained smart. I was humbled many times at the park or on training runs when people would pass me and I would think to myself “that guy or gal should not be passing me”. I had to listen to people run their mouths at races and question why I wasn’t racing, not like it was any of their business, but Angel, Kyle and I decided that racing was not going to happen. Why chance an injury when there is a greater goal to be accomplished. So I ran 3 or 4 – 50mile races, a 40 mile race a handful of 50k and marathons and then paced my good friend Rick Mayo back the last 50 miles of the Leadville 100. This entire time I stuck to the plan and took it easy, GOD kept me healthy and injury free.

FUNDRAISING

This past weekend we reached our $25,000 goal. I have made it a point to never use “I” or “me” throughout this process; it was all of YOU who made this happen. There are a lot of happy Wounded Warriors and families out there right now who are getting care and necessities they need because of YOU. I am merely a “tool” that is being used to earn that money. There are times I watch the news and listen to the media and think what happened? Are the wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan going to go through the same garbage the Vietnam Veterans had to endure? Then I think about this fundraiser and all YOU great people and then I say to myself “not on my watch they won’t”!!!! I am renewed as I hope you are too, that there are still GREAT Americans out there who care about their wounded veterans and want to make sure they are taken care of. We have over 10 pages right now of people who donated on the computer, I would love to type out all your names but I have to start running Thursday and if you know me I would be well into the weekend before I pecked away 10 pages. So with that being said, thank you to all who donated! You will never know how much it means to me and the men and women you are helping, I pray that GOD richly blesses ALL of you for your donations and support. It’s not often people go out of their way for others anymore in our society, each of you who donated did just that and should feel GREAT about it!!! When people ask me who my hero is, I will just show them the 10 pages of donations and say take your pick. Thank you.

THE RUN/TROT
OK, the $25,000 question. “Will you run all 224 miles”, answer= NO!!!! Sorry if I disappointed you, but I am not that tough. As many of you know I have ran multiple 100mile races, so we are going to treat the first 100miles like we would any other race, just at a much slower pace. After 100miles I am in new territory, the furthest I have ever gone on my legs is right around 32 hours at the HURT 100 with Kyle. I would like to still be “trotting” at the end but that is very wishful thinking. I will run as long as I can and then some, but I will have to walk at some point, then I will try to run again. We are setting a time limit of 60 hours, so that way I don’t get weak and walk the whole thing. Would I like to be done sooner, you bet I would! Am I going to try and finish sooner, you bet I am!! Dan named this fundraiser “Tony’s 224mile Trot – Honoring their Sacrifice”. How would I be honoring anything if I do not give 110% and when that 110% runs out, suck it up and find more! I have prepped myself mentally for pain and fatigue that I have never even come close to in my life, but I will heal, my swelling will go away. The traumatic brain injuries, the PTSD, the missing limbs of our veterans, those are permanent. For those of you coming out to run with me or those of you that are going to be there I am telling you right now, PUSH ME! Make me work through the pain, when I cannot run I will walk and if my legs quit working completely I will get elbow and knee pads and crawl. Unless something major happens to me medically, I will finish, it’s not optional at this point and if it takes me 80 hours to finish, I will finish!

Final Thoughts
This has been a great experience for me both physically, mentally and spiritually. I know that GOD has a plan for all and the way this thing is shaping up, I truly feel that this is part of GOD’s plan for me. If you want to stay up to date on our progress throughout Angel and the crew will be updating the facebook fanpage, her facebook page and also you can call or text anytime. My phone number is 316-253-6915. Angel will be doing what she does best, using the iPhone!!! Take into consideration that we will be in pretty desolate areas in parts of it, so reception could be hit and miss. If you would like to link up with us along the route just get a hold of Angel and she will give you an estimated time of when we may be there. Thank you again, all of you. I hope to be writing you Sunday night September 12th with great news of our finish!!! SEMPER FI, Tony

Monday, September 6, 2010

GOAL REACHED!!!!!! $25,000!!!!!!!!

This will be short, I will post again later today. This morning I spoke with Darin Schneidewind who took pledges for his outstanding performance at the Leadville 100, he has collected $1,500 and sending it to us fed-ex tomorrow! That puts us at $25,159.00!!!! Two minutes later Steve Breeding sends me an e-mail stating he has collected nearly $1000.00 for his mini fundraiser called "lighting the way". He collected $5 per glow stick and is going to lay one every mile for me!
I am so overwhelmed right now with emotion I will stop and gather myself and write more later. From the bottom of my heart I thank all of you, I am truly convinced that America has not forgotten about its Wounded Warriors, may God Richly Bless ALL of you for your giving! More later, Semper Fi - Tony

Friday, September 3, 2010

A great day!

Well, next week at this time I hope to be about 80 or so miles into our fundraiser. The temps seem to be cooling a bit so that is relief, mid 80's will have to do it looks like. Today I started my 2 week vacation, I work for a gentleman by the name of Mike Steven. Mike owns numerous businesses, I am his corporate electrician and we also have an Electrical Company we are partners in called Steven Energy. Anyhow, as I leave today Mike says " good luck and be safe, oh by the way here is a check for $5,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project". I didn't know whether to hug him or slap myself to make sure it wasn't a dream. That not only broke the $20,000 mark, but we are currently at $22,790.00 that means only $2,210 to go and we crush $25,000!!!!

I must admit that in the last couple of weeks I have had my doubts about whether or not the $25,000 was achievable. Then last night GoRun Wichita a new running store here in town does a 3 mile fun and raffle and we make nearly $1000 there. I knew after last night that we still had a chance, the generosity of those who showed up was tremendous. With Mike giving us that $5000 today it basically just gave me that final push I needed. Mentally, I feel the run will go alot smoother if our goal is met prior to me starting, that way I am not stressing the entire time. For those of you reading this, most likely you have contributed and I must take a second to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. When Angel, Dan, Kyle and I decided this was a feasible task we knew it would take a ton of people to pull it off. We currently have 9 full pages of names who have donated, many of you multiple times! Many of you have worked hard through e-mail, facebook, mini-fundraisers etc etc to help us get this far and I thank you. I am truly in all of your debt and if you ever need help with anything please call on me and if it is within my power or means I will go out of my to assist you, I promise.

All I am asking is 6 more days of fundraising or $2,210. Once we reach that goal and we will, I would obviously like to keep going, but $25,000 is what we need. I feel I am ready to do my part, I know it will not be easy and the pain will most likely be the worst I have ever felt, the fatigue will horrendous and my mind will get weak at times. To combat all those negatives, i have probably the best crew ever assembled and more runners than I can name coming out to help. We have had people volunteer to drive from everywhere and people coming up from as far as Texas just to run a few miles with me. I have been racking my brain the last couple of weeks trying to figure out ways to motivate myself and the other night it hit me. I was watching a documentary on the Iraq war and a Marine who had both legs blown off by an IED was asked by a reporter if he had any regrets, his answer was "my only regret is I could not take the full force of the explosion and my buddy next to me died, that is regret I live with daily". The freaking Marine had NO LEGS and was 21 years old and all he thought of was the Lance Corporal- his brother- next to him. So when my pain gets so intense i begin to whine, I will think of that Marine who lived and has no legs, because I should feel guilty for complaining about the pain, he would likely pay $25,000 to feel that pain in his legs again. Thats all for now. Semper Fi

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2 weeks

Well, 2 weeks from today we start out journey. I am basically in cruise mode now, the training is done, just running minimal 30 to 40 miles a week to keep the cobwebs knocked off. Ran 50 miles last weekend in Leadville, Co. with my buddy Rick Mayo, he finished the Leadville 100 and I just paced back the last 50. I feel like I am ready, the temps are low 90's high 80's right now which is doable, low 80's high 70's would be a lot better though.
As for the fundraising, we are just a hair above $16,000, still about $9000 short but I have faith in people, we will pull out that $25,000, I know it! The drivers are set and tons of people are asking to run a few miles here and there with me. Tony Brown our route coordinator made final arrangements with law enforcement this week and other than a couple of construction areas we have to be careful in, we are good to go. Thank you everyone and Semper Fi

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Winding Down fast!

As I write this blog entry we are closing in on 21 days exactly till the start of my portion of this fundraiser. Tonight we sit at $15,203 raised so far. The goal we set was $25,000, is this still attainable, absolutely!!! Regardless of the final amount I know without a doubt there are thousands of people in the last couple of months that we have reached who never knew what the Wounded Warrior Project was. Now they do. From our fundraiser I have been contacted by 3 other individuals, two on the east coast and one in the Washington State area, all inquiring about how we went about our fundraiser. The first thing I tell them is that you have to have a group who believes in what they are doing, my wife has spent countless hours on this fundraiser. Dan Elsener was the reason we even got this ball rolling, without those two and there hard work this summer, I say without hesitation, this fundraiser would be no where near what it is today.

The territory manager for Mizuno USA, Sophia Wharton and her fiance Ben Holmes have literally clothed me to do this run. Sophia and her company provided me with ample amounts of new Mizuno Precisions and to top that her and Ben paid for extra pairs out of there pockets to ensure I had enough brand new pairs to change every 50 miles, thats 5 pairs of brand new shoes. Mizuno donated so much apparel for this, It would take me an hour to type it all! Thank you both, I am truly in your debt.

Brent Welch with Resort Promo Wear is still selling event shirts and donating a portion of the sales to us. Eric Steele the RD of FlatRock 25/50k is donating a portion of race entries to us, up till Aug 25th and Phil and Stacy Sheridan are doing the same with the Horse Thief Canyon 10k. Darin S. whom is running the Leadville100 this weekend is taking per mile donations and giving that to the fundraiser. People have been so giving it is unreal.

The American Legion Riders will be escorting me through most major towns along the route. Tony Brown our route coordinator has put his fair share of hours into this and will be with us as well for the duration. The post event party is at HOOTERS Wichita, they will be giving away visors, hats and shirts, plus other specials. That will be from 2-5pm Sunday Sept 12th, at the completion of the fundraiser.

As for me, this weekend will be my last long training run before the fundraiser. I will pace Rick Mayo back the last 50 miles of the Leadville 100. After that I am basically shutting it down for two weeks, with minimal running, just enough to stay loose. I am confident I have prepared myself the best I can, many 130 - 140 mile weeks this summer.The only concern I have at this point is the weather, if we get into the 90's it will definitely affect my body on day two. Other than that things are great and I am ready to get started and get this over with, so I can take at least a month off from running!!! Thanks everyone, Semper Fi, Tony

Friday, August 6, 2010

Post event party!!!!

You cannot do a fundraiser of this size and not have a post event party. So, Hooters of America, who by the way is a huge supporter of Wounded Warrior Project and the US Military in general has offered to do the following. Start September 1st, we will have a Wounded Warrior advertisement on the marquee here in Wichita. There will be a post event party from 2pm to 5pm on Sunday September 12th, following our fundraiser run. This should give me time to get cleaned up, go to MASS, sleep an hour or two and then go party! They are donating the following.

- First 50 men and women in the door get visors and t-shirts.

- 15% discount on food

- Whatever amount you donate to the fundraiser they will match with a gift card for your next visit.

- Kids under 10 eat for free

- Finally, Hooters of America will donate $1000.00 on top of all this to our fundraiser!!!

Needless to say we are very happy about this event. Please come by and eat, have a beer or 10 and hang out with me and the others.
Please remember if you are a runner that Eric Steele RD of FlatRock25/50k is donating $5 per entry and $10 if we get 100 entries by Aug 25th. I will be there running as well and would love to chat with any of you who show up. Getting close, only about a month out, lets get this done for the Wounded Warriors!!!! Semper Fi