Sunday, May 8, 2011


We are so very proud of Will and Anne (Will's sister and Brandy's sister-in-law)!  When they set their mind to something there is just no stopping them.  The last weekend in April we traveled to Louisville for the CELEBRATION of TEAM BRANDY at the Derby Festival Mini-Marathon.  They ran as part of the The American Cancer Society DetermiNation Team.  But before I get ahead of myself- let me start at the beginning of our weekend.  The chemo kicked in BIG TIME before the weekend- first with a plunge in Brandy's white blood count- and then the beginning of the "a little too dramatic" hair loss.  Brandy went for a haircut before they arrived in Louisville.  Maggie (Brandy's mother-in-law) and I decided that this was the perfect time to go shopping for a wig and hats and scarfs for the duration of the chemotherapy- and recovery time.  Anne found the The Wig Shoppe and we began the weekend shopping!

And we found SUCCESS! This weekend was off to a great start.  It's not that we don't think that Will has INCREDIBLE talents- but Maggie and I just decided that probably "beauty consultant" wasn't one of them- no offense Will! Anne and Maggie brought their expertise to the table!

Then Friday evening we were off to the American Cancer Society DetermiNation Awards dinner.  Team Brandy! was the top fund raising team- Team Brandy! raised over $17,000 for the American Cancer Society! Will was the top individual fund raiser with Anne coming in a close second.  And if that wasn't enough, Will was asked to be the speaker for the event.  I am so very proud of all that Will and Anne have done! Will was amazing in his speech- he moved the crowd to tears- and then laughter- and then to practical suggestions for using social networks in fundraising.  What an amazing experience of family!


And a beautiful picture of a beautiful family!

But enough of this preparation- we were all there to either race (Will and Anne) or watch the race (Don, me, Brandy, Sean, Maggie, Mikayla and Braxton).  I'm not sure any of us got much sleep the night before the race.  Our alarms were set for 4:30 am (I actually consider that still "night" not "morning")- and were all a bit anxious about getting started on time.  Will and Anne wanted to arrive at the race in downtown Louisville at 6:30 am to warm up before the 7:30 am start.  WE WERE ON TIME!

The American Cancer Society DetermiNation had a nice gathering booth with plenty of water etc.  They'd even arranged for our very own porta-potty so our racers (and cheering squad) didn't have to wait in any lines- they'd even hired a security guard so nobody could "abuse" our special privilege!

And of course we had our own special "cheerleaders"!


With 11,000+ runners, even though we were lined up watching the runners start (it was a staggered start with "chips" that started the official time for each runner when they crossed the starting line), it was so crowded Don and I didn't see Will cross in front of us.  All I saw was was Will running away from me when Brandy and Maggie yelled "There he is!  There he is!".  I missed it. We waited for Anne to cross the starting line but because of the number of runners, it took her 10 minutes to actually get to the start and run by us.    Then we started walking toward what was billed as a couple of blocks to "mile 4" where we hoped to see both Will and and Anne run by - We were rushing it, But we were slowed just a tad by Mikayla- or maybe Mikayla was slowed just a tad by her Grandma pushing the stroller that Mikayla was not riding...In reality the walk was over a mile and given that we waited 10 minutes after the start to see Anne, as well as the 20 minute walk to get to the 4 mile viewing place, we missed seeing Will run by about 4 minutes.

So we finally made it to "mile 4" but not in time to see Will turn this corner.  So we waited for Anne to cross.  Meanwhile we did just a bit of "prettying up" for the day...

I started getting a bit worried that we might miss Will cross the finish line- he is fast, so Don, Brandy, Mikayla and I left Maggie, Sean and Braxton to watch for Anne and we headed back to the finish. Those "2 blocks" turned out to be at least a mile away!  Of course Anne raced by 2 minutes after we left.   So far I was spending a lot more time this day "looking" for Will and Anne running and not much time "watching" Will and Anne run!

Mikayla and I took up our spot at the finish line and started our wait for her Daddy to cross.  She waited with anxious anticipation...

And our wait was rewarded!

NOW IT'S TIME FOR SOME FLAT OUT BRAGGING!  WILL IS FAST- AND I MEAN REALLY, REALLY FAST.  HE FINISHED THE HALF MARATHON (13.1 MILES) IN 1 HOUR AND 25 MINUTES WHICH IS UNDER 6.5 MINUTE MILES!  AND OUT OF 9,423 HALF MARATHON RACE FINISHERS, WILL WAS 79!  I TOLD YOU HE WAS FAST!  Will's goal was to run 1:25 and his real time was 1:25:10.  Not bad at all!  Ten whole seconds slower than his hoped for run.  But I have to tell you that I fully expected Will to make his goal.  While we were in Niceville during Brandy's surgery, Will was preparing for this race with a determination that was truly amazing.  He did his work outs in the morning before we ever woke up.  He was often up at 3:30 either running, biking, or pumping weights for a couple of hours before going to work.  I pretty much knew what was motivating him and that he would certainly achieve his goal.

Since Mikayla and I had front row "standing" spots, we just kept our place a waited to cheer Anne across the Finish Line.  Again our wait was rewarded! And we cheered (well I cheered- Mikayla was still "resting her eyes" as Grandpa would say)! 

And here is post race Team Brandy!

And of course everyone wants their picture with Will!  And can you blame her!

Way to go TEAM BRANDY!