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December 10, 2005

Of Pasta and Penguins

T minus 7 hours and 30 minutes and counting.

I just came back home from the TNT pasta party at the Hilton, and with the energy I've absorbed from being there, I won't be surprised if I don't sleep tonight.

To give you an idea of what was there...the excitement began the moment we got to the Tapa Ballroom. The participants had to run a gauntlet of screaming and cheering TNT staff. Of course, among them was our ever-indefatigable Jen.

On the menu was the traditional carbo-loading menu...tossed salad, pasta salad, rolls, rice pilaf, and penne with either marinara or meat sauce. And the token protein item was stir-fried chicken with veggies.

But the fun really began once the Penguin took the stage. John "The Penguin" Bingham was the MC for the formal program, and I have to say that if ever Runner's World ever decides not to take his columns, he could have a promising career in stand-up comedy. His jokes played on many of the little foibles that runners have, but his serious portions reminded us of the purpose of all the training and fundraising that brought us there.

The heartstring puller of the night was the guest speaker, Danny Pite of the Oregon chapter, whose daughter Hannah lost her battle with leukemia despite chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. Danny told the story of how the Pite family came out here last year with the TNT team and gave Hannah her wish of coming to Hawaii. By then Hannah's condition was terminal, and she had only months. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house. And when his speech was finished, the crowd gave him a spontaneous standing ovation. Not one where one person stands, then another, until the whole crowd is on their feet. It's as if the entire hall, on cue, got on their feet.

It's speeches like that that really make you remember what you're doing this for.

This will be my final entry before embarking on my final 26.2 mile journey wearing the purple. It's been a long four months, and now it's all come down to this. In less than eight hours I'll be on the road. As I said two entries ago, I'll be doing my best and trying to set a new personal best, but even if I don't, all will be well. It's now up to me, the course, and God.

Tomorrow afternoon, my energy level permitting, I'll post at least a quick summary of what went on; at the very least I'll post my time and general impressions. A full report may not come until a few days later once I'm able to put the results in some kind of perspective.

Wish me luck, and I'll catch you on the flip side.

Posted by Keith at December 10, 2005 08:33 PM

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Thank you for your beautiful writing.
thank you for sharing your story.

thank you for listening to Hannah's story.

Hannah would go.......
and so apparently.....would you. we are humbled and proud.

peace and blessings....dani
daniel,Talya,Elias & Hannah the pite family

Posted by: daniel pite and the pite family at January 23, 2006 03:26 AM

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