TF Flyer, Tom Fleming, I best remember our time in that vacationing professor's house in South Miami in the winter of 1980. Tom and his wife Diane, pure NJ. Every single morning TF would run 15 miles and drag me with him through Coconut Grove with the Parrots squawking overhead. in the crushing heat and humidity of a Miami winter morning.
I woke up to TF's knocking on the door and then his voice, "Bobby, time for your medicine" By the time we got to the end of the first block TF was 2-3 steps ahead of me and there he generally stayed or other days I only tried to keep him in sight.
TF only stopped on a run to poop, I always hoped he would need to so I could catch a breather. Of course if I stopped for any reason TF was gone. Though just at the end of our run we would stop at a bridge crossing to look for Manatees that would congregate there.
The house had avocado trees which I thought were quite exotic and I tried them for the first time in my life and loved them. We would finish our runs and I would sit on the stoop for an hour staring into space with Pepsi and water and what-not and avocados.
TF would immediately off to the next thing making plans with Diane for the day. We had visits from other runners including Bill Rodgers, Kirk Pfeffer and Guenter Mihelke. We watched the Winter Olympics in the evenings including the USA Hockey Team victory.
We were dreaming our own Olympic dreams, that is why we had come to Miami, but now the boycott loomed. One day on our morning run I bonked and just started walking. TF never looked back. My mind was in a storm. "What am I doing here getting run off my feet every freakin day with no Olympics"?
When I got back I started packing up my Mustang and getting ready to drive home. TF just shook his head at me. "Carter ain't gonna stop this thing if the USOC has any balls. if they don't we just run Boston instead, I would rather win Boston than anything!"
On the weekend TF and Diane went to a race somewhere and I traveled to Jacksonville and won the River Run 15K. The hard effort was bearing fruit.
During our time in Florida we traveled to the Ohme 30K in Japan an awesome trip. In 1986 we traveled to New Zealand together, Tom and then wife Barbara and month old child Margo.
So many memories of TF who I last saw this past summer in Eugene at the Trials.See you down the road buddy.