How Monique Kicked my Ass 16,000km

To better understand that title, head over to Hypoactive where you can see it in context. They’re a group for genuinely active type 1 diabetics, and Monique Hanley is their pedal-turning headkicker. She’s actually ultra-lovely and pretty much the main reason I got it together to apply for Medtronics Global Heroes Program, which is sending me to Minneapolis to run the Twin Cities Marathon. Then it’s a sidetrip to Denver for some thin air opportunity to get destroyed by canyons that will make me realize I am more 12-year-old girl with an ankle-sprain than mountain runner. And then off to Moab for the Slick Rock 50, before staggering onto a plane and cramping for about 23 hours. YESS!

Anyway, here’s the prologue I wrote for Monique and the crew.

Have you ever written for HypoActive? Basically it involves an email from Monique or Gavin saying, “hey, Roger (if that’s your name), could you write up that thing we were talking about for the next newsletter?”. Of course, you’re stoked, because it’s one thing to write stuff for people, but it’s another thing for them to actually want you to write it for them.

Time passes, a couple of reminder emails come, then finally it’s Monique. She’s interfaced Google Earth with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. She’s powering the whole thing from her back wheel hooked to a nuclear generator, she’s steering it from a PS3 controller welded to her handlebars, and if you don’t get thing we talked about 5 weeks ago written right now, she’s going to pretty much level your neighbourhood.

If only I'd been wearing Hoka Bondi B on the North Face back in May, I might not have screwed up my nutrition/insulin/nausea/effort ratio so badly in the last 20km of the North Face 100!... yeah, maybe I still would have.

This was the approach needed to get me to submit this little write-up for HypoActive, but it was the approach which also led to me having something to write about for HypoActive.

Monique megatonned me into finally submitting my application for the Medtronic Global Heroes Program in about March. As the presenting sponsor of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in October, Medtronic also threw open the opportunity for anybody dependent upon an electronic or implanted device for their wellbeing to submit a short explanation of why they should be one of the 25 people chosen from across the US and around the world to come to Minnesota and run the classic 42.2km stretch, described as America’s most beautiful urban marathon.

I don’t know which bit of my reply got their attention, but I have a hunch it was the ending:

in the past 9 months I have run further than 100km on 4 occasions and for me right now there’s no turning back. I’m going to keep on challenging my body in a way that most ‘healthy’ people never will, and I’m just getting started. There’s a 100-miler, a 150-miler, and a sub-3:15 marathon out there, all with my name on them. If I get the chance to run for people who don’t get to Minneapolis, I won’t let them down.

Whatever it was, One Saturday morning in may I received an email that essentially floored me.

Congratulations! On behalf of Twin Cities In Motion and the Medtronic Foundation, it is our pleasure to inform you that you have been selected to be a 2011 Medtronic Global Hero.

Sort of didn’t believe it, still don’t completely. Medtronic are sorting twin airfares, accommodation, race entry, a reception along with all the other people who were lucky enough to pick up entries. They’ll also be donating $1,000 to the charity of my choice. Obviously, JDRF is a good choice. And excitingly, Medtronic Australia/New Zealand has been in touch to say that they’ll match that with a $1,000 donation of their own to Hypoactive, as soon as Hypoactive’s application for charity status is granted. So that’s quite cool, and just rewards for the effort that Monique has put into her writer-focussed weapons systems.

So I’ll be running in Minnapolis on the first Sunday in October, then getting on a plane to Denver on the Monday so I can go running in the thin air canyon mecca of Western trail and ultra running, Boulder, Colorado. This is all tying in amazingly well with my new work as National Product Manager for Hoka One One, Australia.

They’re a small French-American venture making big, bouncy, superlight innovative running shoes for high mileage training, marathoners, and ultra runners. Initially, the Global Heroes Program was part of the way I talked them into giving me a pair of shoes to test, because of the media opportunity, my writing background, and my passion for distance running. Since then we’ve got to know each other better and although I’m still in training wheels, I’m now working with the company and it’s both a challenge and a total blast.

Running has now also fused with my writing to a point where I’ve been absolutely child-at-Christmas-ly thrilled to write for Outer Edge, a high quality, full colour, top shelf Australian adventure racing magazine, concentrating mainly on ultramarathons and trailrunning.

And to top it all off, after I’d booked my final flights out of Denver to come back home, the Slick Rock 50s and 100 in the Moab Desert were announced. So instead of flying to Salt Lake City from Denver on the Saturday after Twin Cities, I’m going to hire a car and drive

into the 1960s sci-fi landscape of a red alien desert, run a last 50km, then point it at Salt Lake City and make the connecting flight to LA and then Sydney.

So, yeah, it’s all a bit mindblowing. I just have to train hard over these last weeks of September, not completely freak out, punch in a decent marathon, keep my body welded together for another 6 days after that, and then wing back here to stare down Monique’s laser-guided article-blaster one more time, potentially from the quiet space of an American Airlines overhead compartment.
(Ed’s note:  I am not that bad. Am I?)

(Nah, Monique. You’re pretty awesome basically – thanks so much!!)

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