Friday, January 14, 2011

A Really Cool 10

Dr. Elizabeth "Doll" Miller completing her 60 mile run
on her 60th birthday, while fans await at Humane Society

Dr. Elizabeth “Doll” Miller of Savannah is an accomplished ophthalmic surgeon, and a mountain climber, and has completed several Ironman triathlons and marathons.  She’s also a dog lover.

About a year ago, she decided to conduct a fundraising event on behalf of the Humane Society of Savannah to coincide with her 60th birthday.  In “Doll-land,” evidently, that meant she was to complete an epic feat of endurance.

Friday, October 1st was Doll Miller’s 60th birthday.  She ran 60 miles Friday, all in one fell swoop.  She even fell at the end, tripped by her own doggie, but she swooped back up with a smile on her face and went on to announce that $65,000 had been donated in honor of the event.


I had the great good fortune of watching her very closely, running just behind her, for the last 10 miles of her feat.


After work on Friday I heeded a call from the fine folks at Fleet Feet Sports to cheer Doll on somewhere along her route.  I parked at the McQueen Island entrance to the rails-to-trails path that heads out toward Fort Pulaski.  Mile 35.  The support vehicle from Fleet Feet Sports arrived shortly thereafter, and I had a chance to chat with Robert Espinoza, FFS owner/race director/running advocate extraordinaire, about Doll.  He was clearly impressed by her performance.  Along came a young man named Billy who intended to run along with Doll to keep her company and keep her spirits up.

When Doll arrived I wished her a happy birthday and passed along the good wishes of a couple of my clients who are also her patients.  She smiled graciously while stretching and gulping down some diet soda.  Doll is one heck of a great runner.  She was less wobbly at 35 miles than I am at 20.  I kicked myself for not having my running togs with me so I could join in for a few miles.  It is so inspiring to be around individuals who, while they clearly get a charge out of pushing their own limits, are prepared and propelled to give so much of their energy to benefit others.

Wheels in motion.  Clear the schedule for the day.  Get the gear.  Get the hubby to drop me off at mile 50, then pick me up at mile 55 and get on with the day.  Join in the reverie a little, make a donation, keep Doll’s mind off the pain.


Did I ever meet some great people!  Doll’s friends John and Heather and Spencer and Mark are amazing athletes themselves and it didn’t take them long to convince me to hang with them for the rest of the ride to the finish.  Distance runners are an amazingly warm, fun, sharing group of people.  Doll took off her iPod and just wanted to hear our chatter and banter, whether she could contribute or not, to keep her mind busy while her legs and lungs stayed on task.

Yeah, and by the way, Doll was still less wobbly at 50 and 55 and 60 miles than I am at 20.

There were just a couple of poopy-headed drivers out there who were uninformed about the 60-on-60 event, who were less than considerate about the one and a half feet of roadway we encroached upon.  Shoulders, Savannah, we need shoulders on the roads.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to run on a rumble strip?   I think that’s the only thing I heard Doll complain about, running on the rumble strip.  She was limping, her left Achilles tendon was visibly inflamed, it was more than a little warm out, but not a negative word from her about any of that.

But the overwhelming support of cheering clutches of fans and drivers yelling, “Happy Birthday!!” out their car windows was incredibly infectious and energizing!

How cool to bear witness to such a milestone in one woman’s life and in one great community… well, really, two great ones:  The pet rescue community; and, the running community.  I tell you, that was a really cool 10 miles.

Congratulations, Doll.  You are a great role model.

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