Monday, September 26, 2011

Nugget #45

This little number happened in 2004.

Must be the “luck of the Irish”
By Bill Donnelly

Local runner and tri-athlete Kevin Patterson has had a string of luck that can only be attributed to his being Irish. Now, I know Patterson is not an Irish name, but I believe it was originally O’Patterson when his grandfather came over from the old sod.
Whatever, I got to know Kevin and his wife Heather when they joined the Fleet Feet running group last year in order to train for a marathon. Both are very talented runners (Heather won Runner of the Year in her age group last year) and both are very driven. No, I do not mean that they have a chauffeur. They set lofty goals, and they usually reach them. Except, of course, when the “luck of the Irish” strikes.
Last fall Kevin was training for a marathon and an Iron Man Triathlon at the same time. The latter is just a race where one starts off the competition with a two and a half mile swim, then proceeds to a 112 mile bike jaunt, and finally finishes with a full 26.2 mile marathon! One after the other! All on the same day! No naps in between! I’d rather have a root canal!
So last fall Kevin heads up to Montreal to do a half Iron Man triathlon, driving his three day old, brand spanking new Hummer. Kevin did the race and finished in fine fashion. Now comes the “luck of the Irish.” Kevin limps back to his car with nothing but his bike and the clothes on his back, (wet and smelly at that) and guess what, no Hummer! It’s gone, kapoof, vanished, on a ship to Hong Kong already.
Everything was stolen, including his laptop and his wallet with all his ID. There’s poor tired, sore, and smelly old Kevin with no way to get back to the States. Fortunately, on about his seventeenth try, Kevin found a disgruntled pimply-faced teenager working at a rent-a-car agency who was willing to take honest looking Kevin at his word, and rented him a car with no money or ID. How Kevin got back into the US is anybody’s guess.
Kevin’s second stroke of Irish luck came at the Boston Marathon this year. As I have written, it was 87 degrees that April day, and all 20,000 runners had that Irish luck to deal with. It’s just that Kevin took it one step further. Rumor has it that he lined up in heat that one could bake a pizza with wearing a pace band on his wrist. This lets you know what you must hit each of the 26 miles at so you know if you have a chance to reach your goal, and Kevin’s goal was, I’m sure, a sub-three hour marathon.
Most runners knew not to go for the gusto this day. Did I mention Kevin is driven? After finishing the marathon in a much slower time than he is capable of running, Kevin was a special guest of the medical tent, spending two hours recovering with IVs stuck in his arm trying to raise his blood pressure from 80/40. Gots to be the Irish in him.
Good and bad things come in threes they say, and so it is with the “luck of the Irish”. While training on his bike for the Iron Man Triathlon to be held in Wisconsin later this fall, Kevin took his bike for a ride in early July. I have heard the Wisconsin race is particularly grueling, because they make you eat a pound of cheese before each event. So Kevin had his work cut out for him that July Sunday. No one knows what happened, not even Kevin, who doesn’t remember leaving his house. He suspects a car clipped him on the country bridge he was crossing, sent him flying, and left him for dead.
A motorist did find him, and he was taken to the hospital for body-work. After getting over 150 stitches on his face, and a cast on his left fore-arm, which was fractured in two places, they could deal with some busted fingers and smashed up knees. I didn’t think I’d see Kevin for months.
Did I mention the lad is driven? Two and a half weeks after all that, I go to the Ronald McDonald House 5K race, and who shows up with a smile and his wit about him, but Kevin. And he’s running the race! Not only does he run it, he finishes right behind the lovely Heather. He later admits he dared not beat her (did I mention she is driven?).
Now, at the time, I’m suffering from an ingrown toenail on my left foot, and I plan on using it as an excuse as to why I may not run so well. That excuse is sure as shootin out the window. I went and got the dang thing fixed by the Running Podiatrist, Mike Curry.
So if bad things do come in threes. Kevin should be safe from here on in. That goofy guy still plans on doing the Wisconsin Tri, and then in November, he’s running the New York City Marathon. Did I mention he is driven? Let’s just hope there is no “curse of the Germans”.


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