Sunday, February 15, 2015…Team Over The Top’s regular Sunday running clinic session in preparation for the 30 kilometre Around The Bay race at the end of March and the Mississauga 1/2 and Full Marathons in early May…8:00 a.m. start…weather conditions – sunny (that’s the good news), winds gusting out of the north up to 40 kilometres per hour, base temperature of -24 Celsius…wind chill temperature of -40 Celsius…by far the coldest day of our Canadian winter for 2014-15.
There I was, waiting expectantly for ONE of my 14 team members to show up for a critically important training session; 28 kilometres of:
• 2.4 km tempo run to start
• 4 x 1 km (500 metres up and 500 metres down at 14% grade) hill reps
• 2.4 km x 2 tempo run
• 4 x 1 km hill reps (as above)
• 2.4 km x 2 tempo run (as above)
• 4 x 1 km hill reps (as above)
• 2.4 km x 2 tempo run to finish
Well, David Harris (who has been training with me off and on for 9 years) finally did show up at 8:15 a.m. (he had gone to the wrong location for our 8:00 a.m. start for reasons that will become clear below) ready to take on the challenge. My other TOTT members decided to train indoors or run a few kilometres on their own from home (or so they said), or were away in warm southern climes. To better understand what David did this morning, you need to know that:
* Saturday, February 14, 2015 (yes – Valentine’s Day) was the 10th anniversary of David’s son, Cameron’s suicide
* he was dealing with the ongoing reminder of that fateful day whilst trying to stay in the moment of training with me
* he was yet again reminded of the loss of his son, the guilt that accompanied it and the sense of darkness that dominated his every waking moment
* he has made a commitment to run the Mississauga Marathon 19 consecutive years – one for each year of Cam’s life
* he formed CameronHelps and its support run (the Team Unbreakable 5 kilometre annual Father’s Day event) to help prevent teen suicide
* he works tirelessly to bring the message of hope and support to teens and their families affected by teen depression and/or suicide.
Indeed, I KNEW David would be at the Huron Park Community Centre parking lot this morning to do the training run come hell or high water. Quite simply, he was MEANT to be there, he was MEANT to do the extraordinary, he was MEANT to honour the memory of Cam, he was MEANT to push through the elements today, he was MEANT to get stronger and more efficient as the hill reps and kilometres accumulated…he was MEANT to BELIEVE AND ACHIEVE! If I hadn’t witnessed each kilometre of David’s run, I would probably not have believed it. Are there others who did a running session like this in these conditions today? I didn’t see nor hear of any. Are there others who could have done the workout? Of course…but they were nowhere to be seen this morning.
As I mentioned, David and I go back 9 years during which time he has become more than a client – he has become a dear friend. Fighting against the odds, bucking the establishment, refusing to collapse under extreme pressure and pain, David has become more than simply one of my best Squat-Scoot runners (moving lighter, tighter and faster today than ever in his career…injury-free!). He has become a difference-maker.
Here’s to David continuing to support the prevention of teen suicide, continuing to grow CameronHelps and Team Unbreakable into a national organization and event, continuing to run strong and injury-free and qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2015!!
God love you, my friend!