Thursday, October 17, 2013

20th Event of 2013: The Tennessee Trot

5th Annual Tennessee "ToeOFF" Trot: Knoxville, TN

I love this sign, spotted at the Bean Trees Cafe. "Hi ho, Hi ho, It's off to work I go...!"

Friday, October 11th:

On my way to my favorite event of the year! Although it's one of the smallest, shortest "race events" on my schedule, The Tennessee Trot (formerly the TN ToeOFF Trot) is by far the most meaningful. So much of this blog will seem like a repeat of last year's post for the same event so I'll cheat a bit and give you the link to see for yourself:

Last year I got an earlier start on the drive but due to scheduling conflicts we're leaving NC around noon, hoping to have enough time to meet Leslie & Co. for dinner around 6pm. With my last trip to TN fresh in my mind (a 13-hour drive to Nashville in April thanks to a major traffic jam!!) I'm cautiously optimistic that I've allowed plenty of time. No photos to share between Greensboro and here due to the fact that I was in the driver's seat. And "here" is my favorite roadside attraction between home and Knoxville: The Bean Trees Cafe along the Pigeon River.

A beautiful day along the Pigeon River in Hartford, TN. Don't have much time to spend here but I'm going to enjoy stretching my legs, grabbing a bite to eat and enjoying the scenery before driving the last hour or so into Knoxville.

It seems to me that 4 out of 5 of my last trips here have been on cold, overcast days. Today is PERFECT! A slight crispness to the air but still almost 70 degrees and a refreshing breeze accompanies the soothing sounds of the rolling river.

I can always count on Jim to order a meat monstrosity. Don't ask me what's on would be easier to ask me what's not. (For starters, vegetables are definitely NOT on this.)

My sandwich was delectable: perfectly cooked Vegan Barbecue Tofu with caramelized onions and Soy Mozzarella.
Less than an hour later we're back on the road to West Knoxville. Usually I stay downtown because there's so much to do within walking distance but tonight we're having dinner near the Cove at Concord Park (where the Trot will be held tomorrow) so it makes sense to stay west of town. I Priceline a hotel at the last minute and get a great deal on the Holiday Inn West, complete with free parking, free in-room internet and, thanks to a courteous staff, a late checkout so I don't have to rush away from tomorrow's Trot. Thank you, Holiday Inn West Knoxville!!

We arrive at the hotel with about an hour to spare before dinner. I check in with Leslie and learn that some of her family will be joining us along with Jay Nowlin, the Allard sales rep for Tennessee. We have our name on the list at Lakeside Tavern but they don't take reservations--they just put you on the official waiting list as soon as some of your party arrives. Jim and I decide to head on over to see if we can avoid an extra-long wait...they're quoting an hour-and-a-half wait if we arrive at 6:30.

You might guess from this view that Lakeside Tavern is a popular spot on such a beautiful evening.

Jim and I enjoy the scenery while waiting for everyone to arrive. Our name was put on the list at about 5:30 so hopefully we'll have a table soon after everyone arrives in an hour.

Almost feels like I'm at the beach!

A huge wall of "sea oats" lines the outdoor veranda.

Just as the sun is setting I'm being summoned; our table is ready and our party has arrived--perfect timing all around!

Just waiting now for Jay...from left: Jim, Bronte, Joey, Nick, Kelly, Leslie and Laura.

Couldn't ask for better company or a better spot to have dinner on Tennessee Trot Eve.

The menu, side 1.

The menu, side 2.

Yes, that's right, another meat monstrosity for Jim. "Fred Flintstone called, he wants his Brontosaurus back."

My grilled salmon, broccoli and...oh my... is that a baby seal in my mashed potatoes?!!

Jay made it back from Arkansas and was able to talk shop with Leslie while the rest of us relished the food and the fellowship.

What a great way to start my weekend! I'm so sad for all of you who don't know Leslie, Laura or their family and friends...I am so lucky to know them.

Back to the hotel after dinner to make the sign for tomorrow's event!
Saturday, October 12th: RACE DAY!!!

Despite the fog we awoke to, the forecast calls for another perfect Tennessee day. This will be a first for an event where Jay Nowlin is present; usually when he's nearby the rain clouds are too. Jay, perhaps the third time truly is a charm. :-)

I can't wait to see my Trotter friends again! We stop for coffee at a nearby Starbucks then make our way to The Cove at Concord Park around 6:30am. to see if we can help the team set up.
Hard to see more than 25 feet in front of us, the fog has settled over the Cove.

We're here!! Always great to see Laura Jones' home-away-from-home.
For those of you who've read my blog during the past 2 years you've probably heard me tout Leslie King over and over. She's the dynamo CPO (certified prosthetist/orthotist) solely responsible for ensuring that we have a Trot year after year. What I haven't said enough is that it is Laura Jones who is responsible for where we have the Trot, and for ensuring that there are plenty of amazing, fun activities tailored for everyone's enjoyment every year! She puts her heart and soul into this event annually, but this is just one small example of what makes her so special. Here's a link to more about Laura--I think you'll begin to see why I feel so blessed to be in her company:

Thanks to Leslie, Laura and their troupe of beautiful friends & family, the Trot keeps happening every year. I am always honored to be a part of it, not just to be among this community of special people but because every dime that is raised goes to provide bracing options for Tennesseans in need. As WBIR put it, "East Tennessee Trots so that others may walk."

The sign has held up surprisingly well considering the rain we've had in the past few years.

Leslie wastes no time putting Jay to work.

Jim and Jay decide to let the fog lift before they really get to work.

The fog has not yet lifted.

Superhero to TeamUP and Trot regular, Kent Teffetelle, makes his appearance in new custom ToeOFFs.

Jim and Jay representin' for AllardUSA and TeamUP!

It's not a Trot until someone wears something totally silly.
(So.... I guess it's official, the Trot is ON)

The crowds and sponsors are assembling.

The song remains the same.

The Trot would not be possible without incredibly generous sponsors. This year's sponsors include both human and veterinarian dental practices; the DDS was offering free oral cancer screenings today and the Vet was offering tooth and gum checks for the canines.

Also among the sponsors, Active Family Chiropractic....

...offering relaxing/rejuvenating massages throughout today's events.

The Trotters begin to assemble in the starting area. Just one corral for this race! :-)

Getting ready to roll!

Leslie King takes a few minutes to thank all the sponsors and participants and to offer her gratitude that we are all Trotting today so that others may walk.

Jay and Jim race out of the starting block!

But Jim quickly returns to a trotting pace.
I took this photo along the first loop of the Trot...trying to get a good shot of this heron before it took off. Oh well, still was a cool sight to watch it take flight in the morning fog.

First "fun station" of the course...throwing a Nerf football through the hula hoop. 

I think I'm trying to silence the peanut gallery while I take my third attempt at making the target!

Next fun station...the dress up photo booth. Jay cheated, he was supposed to don at least 2 of the costume items but clearly he didn't want Jim to beat him in the 5K.

Sharon shows how it should be done!

The fog is finally burning off and boaters take to the water.

On the second lap, Jim tries to clear the hula hoop with his throw. For the record, it took him as many tries as it took me.

Jay has to get through this station without cheating. 

I'm guessing that by our final lap there will be only sun on the water.

Kent, letting the good times roll!!

Ha! Got a shot of this one before he flew away.

We had a fantastic time completing our 5K and all 3 fun stations today! Many other runners beat us to the finish and still others were making their way through walking or rolling along. No matter how we started or finished, we all celebrated the gift of mobility today.

And now for a few special awards today...

Kelly Blankenship has dedicated so much of her time and energy supporting her sister, Leslie, in this event every year. This year she also sponsored the race on behalf of her new blog...

Kelly invites everyone to visit her personal journey:

The most important medal today goes to Penny who came out today in TWO ToeOFFs. Penny was a grateful recipient of some of last year's fundraising efforts and came out this year with her husband, James,  to show off her progress and to 'pay it forward'.

Penny, you're an excellent ambassador for Getting Back UP!

Thank you, Penny, on behalf of Allard, the Trot and people with mobility issues everywhere. You're an inspiration!

Ursula is another fabulous sponsor and contributor year after year. This year she made hundreds of delicious muffins in addition to her usual efforts!

Everyone you meet at the Trot will uplift and inspire you... for those of you not here, you've really missed out.

Nick and Kelly...Trot superheroes!

Kent (or is it Clark?) just out of the phone booth.

Superheroes of all ages! These two completed the entire 5K and all the stations along the way in support for the cause.

More heroes supporting the Trot!

Wow. Not even sure what to say about this.

Thank you, Kent, for your loyal support and for your outspoken advocacy. Oh, and please keep the song titles coming!

You tell 'em, Leslie!!! YOU ARE A TRUE SUPERHERO and it's your unstoppable attitude that makes it possible for so many others to keep Gettin' Back UP. I am so proud of you and so honored to call you my friend. 

After a very successful Trot (fundraising totals still being tallied by the time of this post) we had one more fundraising agenda on tap for the day. Actually, it's on tap for tonight so we take advantage of a few free hours to enjoy historical downtown Knoxville on a gorgeous Fall day.
Historic Gay Street in downtown K'ville.

Farmer's Market & Craft Fair fills the Square.

This makes me homesick for the Greensboro Farmers' Market. It's been over 5 weeks since I've been in town when our market was held. Smith Farms, I'll be coming to see you as soon as I can!!

Sculpture garden along the border of Market Square.
From our relaxing stroll downtown we head toward the Black Horse Pub where we are meeting about 20 of Leslie's friends before our after-dinner puppet show. I was so busy meeting new friends and catching up with old acquaintances that I neglected to get more photos. Here's a photo of my Greek salad though!

And FYI, only one of those beers you see in the background was mine.
Here's the link to the restaurant...I can officially recommend a trip here:!knoxville/cwih

And speaking of Black Horse...yes, that's me having fun in one of the props from the Spook Show.
(And for the hundreds of women who ask me what shoes I can wear with my brace: these are my Ariat boots which I can wear with my Ypsilon. Perhaps not the highest of fashion, but as you all know too well, this beats sneakers and orthopedic shoes for a night on the town.)
The final event on the day was the special treat of a private screening of Theatre Obsolete's "Spook Show". Out of respect for the house rules, I didn't take photographs but if you EVER have the chance to catch one of these shows you will not be disappointed!

Here's a link to their Facebook page:

And for those of you who won't do Facebook, here's a tidbit of extra info:

Jim takes his turn horsing around.
(Do I detect a collective groan?)

A big thank you to Brian and Bran for sharing your home and your Theatre talents with us!!
Sunday, October 13th:

Sigh. Back on the road again...until next year!!

An uneventful drive so far and another stop at the Bean Trees before we hit the mountain range dividing TN and NC.

This time it was a quick stop for a beverage and back on the road.

The clouds seem to echo my mood of having to leave behind my Knoxville friends.


Light at the end of the tunnel!

Next stop, Greensboro NC...then quickly off to Denver for the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon and Denver CMTA--woo hoo!!

This from a menu in East Asheville...
See heading: VEGETABLES.
So, okay, I can forgive the fruits listed here among the veggies but Diced Eggs, are you kidding me? Melissa, this may not count as our typical typo fun-find but I know you'll appreciate this one!

No comments:

Post a Comment