One Year of Team WWP: Recapping the TransRockies, Marine Corps Marathon, and some injuries


VETERANS DAY 2009 ~ TEAM WWP, ONE YEAR!!
 
*MILLIONS MORE AWARE OF OUR
SEVERELY WOUNDED WARRIORS!!
 
*$41,533.09 RAISED!!
 
*AND WE’RE NOT DONE YET!!
 
11 November 2009, 6:05am, Arlington, VA
 
Good Morning Team WWP ~
 
One year. I can hardly believe it. Sincerely, this has been a fast moving period of my life, to say the least. A lot of things have changed for the good…of course, I don’t have the time to adequately address that, but it’s something I think about often. How lucky I am, how grateful I am, how thankful I am to have been given the things that I’ve been given.

 I’d say, that of all the things I’ve written about while a part of this process, thankfulness and gratefulness are the largest themes. It’s from this overwhelming sense of the two that this effort was born of ~ simply put, soldiers make our lives safe to be lived as we wish. In order for that to be possible, they must feel comfortable that if something should happen to them, they will be taken care of. Our society has an obligation to do and give whatever it takes to fully assist those boys and girls that have been forever changed by their efforts to protect our country.
 
It’s not out of pity that Tom or I have been a part of this ~ it’s out of our basic sense of gratitude. Because, I think, most Veterans know that, when we look at those who have been seriously harmed in combat, it has nothing to do with how “good” or “bad” you are as a soldier. It’s luck, or, fate, or, whatever you want to call it. There were moments during my time in the desert, the majority I doubt I’ll ever talk about (except to Rachel), in which I sincerely believed it was my time. And it didn’t happen. Some were not as fortunate as I was…so we keep working for these Heroes…we keep moving forward to help them to move forward…we’re thankful for their service and stand ready to give them a hand up…

A quick update. For those of you that didn’t know, I finished 26th overall (of about 21000 runners) at the Marine Corps Marathon. 2:38, about a 6 minute pace. I’m registered for the Comrades Marathon in South Africa in May, the race that inspired me to do this (read my first blog post for more on that). I’m setting up a nice schedule for the late winter/early spring to get me prepared for this huge race…we’re still looking for a sponsor for that event…
 
We’re also looking at a 3 April event in the Twin Cities, a “Rally for Team WWP/Sendoff to Comrades” ~ it should be bigger and better than last year. So keep that open on your calendars…
 
Find a soldier or a Veteran and say “Thank You” today. Those two words, well, sometimes, when you catch me in the right moment, they nearly bring me to tears. I’m certain they have the same impact on others…
 
And consider a donation to Team WWP ~ follow our link above to the secure donation site. It’s easy, it’s fast, and it will make a tangible impact on a severely wounded Veterans life…
 
All my best & Keep moving forward,
Matt
 
 

 

 

 
 
Arlington, VA 24 October 2009, 7:03am EST
 
Dear Team WWP,
I’m sitting on the couch next to Mickey Anthony Cavanaugh, our Boston Terrier, and thinking about starting the Marine Corps Marathon in just under 25 hours. I’m a little nervous, but I know that what will happen will happen. I’ve worked hard for a number of months, I’ve got a great support crew (Rachel, my brother Kevin, and Mickey)…the race will take care of itself. Rach has never seen me race a road marathon, and the resulting, well, pain. If you scroll down into one of my earlier posts, you’ll see a picture from last year’s Tucson Marathon (3rd place overall) where I look as if I’m in total agony (which I was). But it’s a good pain, meaningful, fulfilling…I wish everyone could feel some of that…which is why Tom and I are seeking a way to keep this Team WWP going…
Two things have happened in the past few weeks. One, we received a wonderful donation commitment from Tom’s financial advisor. Out of the blue, and substantial. Secondly, I contacted the Race Director (Aaron McConnell) about a complimentary entry for a real Wounded Warrior Team at next year’s TransRockies Run ~ and he said yes. We’re currently in a search to find two wounded athletes that want to take on the challenge…I have a friend that works for the US Olympic Committee (LTC Heidi Grimm) Paralympic division…we’re hopeful that we can get two (we’re hot on the trail of one). That’s a feeling of success, of accomplishment, that is truly unique and satisfying…
One thing that I don’t think is going all that well is the search for a sponsor for the Comrades Marathon. I’m at the point of no return ~ registration for first timers opens up 1 November. I’m diving in, going to do it, in the hopes that we can find someone that’ll help get us to the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon ~ specifically created to honor Veterans.
 
If you know anyone or any business that would be interested in partnering on this endeavor, please ask them to contact me ASAP. We’re doing multiple sponsorships ~ in tiered fashion: $500 level, $1000 level, title sponsor/$5000 level.
 
Ok, time to get back to stretching for tomorrow. I’m shooting for a 6 minute pace, or about a 2:37…we start at 8am EST, so I should be finishing about 10:37am EST…
 
I’ll only write this once, never again, but since it’s the Marine Corps Marathon, for good luck: Semper Fi!
 
All my best & Keep moving forward,
Matt
Arlington, VA 7 October 2009, 6:50pm EST

Dear Team WWP,

The final miles: I finished 38th overall at the TC’s, in 55 minutes (a 5:30/mile pace), which was good considering that the USA Track & Field 10 Mile Championships were a part of the race…after the race, a Cocchiarella family friend escorted me over to the Elite Athlete Tent and I got to do some interviews with the press…as well as a short interview at the finish line for the crowd assembled at the finish. Great opportunitites!

As a side note, I hope you enjoy the pictures from the GORE-TEX TransRockies Run & the Twin Cities 10 Miler…

 

Both were amazing experiences, and ones that I won’t soon forget. Rachel (my gorgeous Fiancee) and I keep talking about the TRR and how much fun we had…I can’t say enough about these events…

Which is why I’m writing, why I’m posting this message. Some of you have been following Team WWP since we started, since last Veteran’s Day (2008). If you go back to the beginning and look at my very first posting, I wrote that my inspiration for this effort was the Comrades Marathon in South Africa. It’s the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon, 56 miles, created as a memorial to those South African soldiers that were killed in World War I. The race constitution states that the event exists “to celebrate mankind’s spirit over adversity.” I very badly wanted to compete in this event. This past May, I was unable to run due to my military obligations, so I ran in other events to generate interest in the Wounded Warrior Project. Now that I’ve completed the 250 miles in 2009…

I want to run in the Comrades Marathon on May 30th, 2010, representing the WWP. It’s a serious challenge that would represent the farthest I’ve ever run. Further, my goal is to be a Silver medalist at the event ~ run at a sub-8 minute pace (7 hours, 30 minutes).

Here’s my problem. I need a financial sponsor. Simply put, this is an expensive dream. This past year, I’ve run in 8 different events of varying length, each requiring significant travel, fees, food, lodging, gear…more tech shirts that you can imagine! My life has recently changed; I’m engaged. I cannot afford to do some of the things that I would do as a single person…so I need a corporate partner in this effort.

I’m opening this up to the public…I’m hopeful that someone reading this can direct me to an organization that might be open to a partnership. I’d be willing to work out logo representation, speak and write about the experience, and, well, do my best to be a good partner…everything’s negotiable.

I sincerely believe this is a great vehicle for getting out the word about the great things the Wounded Warrior Project does. Considering the enormity of the event, this is truly a publicity-generating opportunity that makes for good print…

Please consider sponsoring me for the Comrades Marathon 2010 ~ it’ll enable this train to keep moving along the tracks on the way to $50,000!

Feel free to contact me via email at matthew.cavanaugh@us.army.mil with suggestions!

All my best & Keep moving forward,
Matt

 
 

2 October 2009, 9:35am, Pentagon

Good Morning, Team WWP!

This is it. Two more days to my last 10 miles. I don’t even know what to write. I’ve been pretty distracted with work (I’m trying to squeeze in this right now between assignments)…same with Tom. In fact, Tom’s family had a bit of a scare ~ his new grandson, Jack, had some complications after delivery. Thankfully, the tough little guy pulled through and is on the road to joining an amazing family…

Which just brings me back to that theme – being thankful. Grateful for all that’s been given to me. More than I deserve, honestly. But I’m trying to be a good steward of this great fortune (not financially, that’s for sure, but other things) that I’ve been blessed with. Some people ascribe it to luck, others to fate. I merge all of it together with God (although I know some prefer not to) ~ no matter how you look at it ~ it’s good to be alive and a part of a safe, stable, prosperous nation!

This has been a long year, and a good one. We’ve raised over $40,000, with your help, for a group of people, guardians, defenders of our home, that have been dealt a difficult and challenging blow. That’s a good amount of money that can do a lot of great things for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Almost more importantly, so many more people are aware, have seen that logo ~ one soldier carrying another ~ than would have if we had not come together for the WWP. Every time someone made a donation, no matter how small, they were thinking, if just for a moment, about a severely wounded soldier. Every time one of you reached out to a colleague via email or a friend via text or your family via phone, and mentioned, in passing ~ “there’s this guy I know that’s running 250 miles…”

It all adds up. So far, to 240 miles. And the last 10, miles 241, 242…through 250…will be on Sunday, in Minnesota, my home, from the Dome to the Capitol in the TC’s 10 Miler. We start at 7:05am…I should cross the University of St. Thomas (mile 5) at about 7:30 to 7:35, and then the finish at about 7:55 to 8am. Please consider coming out…I know it’s early on a Sunday, but it’d be great. You can’t imagine what it would mean to me…

It’s really hard to stop doing this. I’m not sure I can. In fact, as I write this, I’m honestly tearing up knowing that we weren’t able to get to the $50,000. I know that we did some amazing things, and I’m very proud of what all of us, together, have accomplished, but I can’t help but feel a sense of loss for…money left on the table. Something else I could have done to get us over the mark. I hope I don’t feel like that when I cross the finish line…I’m sure I’ll just feel good…we’ll see.

There are so many thank yous I need to get out…I’ll start that process post race. Tom and I have talked and we’re leaving the donation site up at least for the next few weeks…so no matter what, if you still want to get behind us, we’ll be there…

Also, we’ve talked about the possibility of continuing on…so many distractions now though…more to follow…

Hope to see you Sunday! It’ll be a tough, but fun race…it’s the USA Track & Field National 10 Mile Championship…so there’ll be a lot of talent out there…

All my best & Keep moving forward,

Matt

 
 
 
Breckenridge, CO
20 August 2009, 7:08am
 
Good Morning Team WWP ~
 
Final prep & training for next week’s TransRockies Run is going very well. 6 days ago, Rachel picked me up from the Denver Airport and we made our way down to Colorado Springs (just over 6,000 feet). The next day I got up and did a good 16 along the Monument Creek Trail. We stayed in Colorado Springs through the weekend, long enough to see my partner, Justin Ricks, put down a 4:11 at Pike’s Peak ~ good enough for 5th place overall!
 
Sunday afternoon Rachel and I made our way west to our little rented townhome on Sawmill Creek just off of Main Street Breckenridge. Absolutely beautiful. It’s about 9,500 feet here…so the acclimation process has been going well. Typical day is a good run in the morning, Rachel (as a professional sports massage therapist) helps me stretch out the kinks post-run, then we spend the rest of the day hiking and seeing this beautiful area…
 
What I’m getting at is that this is truly the calm before the coming storm. I know that this race will be difficult, challenging…but above all, meaningful. My partner Tom and his son David are on their way, as well as my parents. Rachel, my amazing fiancee is here with me. My partner Justin is a motivated and exceptional athlete (with a great family that’ll be there to support him). And if nothing else you can count on me giving my best effort…
Everything sets up so well for the race. But there’s one thing that honestly scares me. As of this morning, we’re just shy of $35,000 ~ well below our $50,000 goal with 6 weeks to go. I don’t really know how to make up that gap except to just keep plugging away. If there’s any way that you can talk to friends and family, to make a donation, small or large, it will be greatly appreciated. That’s the only way I think this thing turns for the home team as we enter the final stretch…
 
Thank you for all your support ~ this is when Team WWP needs it the most!
 
All my best & Keep moving forward,
Matt
 
 

Author: ML Cavanaugh

Unequal parts strategist, assistant professor, wordsmith, runner, wine-o, reader, philosopher of firepower, and hopeless lover of three ladies named Rachel, Grace, and Georgie.

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