Hello to  all my little Steve Prefontaine wannabe’s out there!  I want to start today off with a quote from Steve (that’s what I like to call him cuz he and I are tight like that) and it goes something like,  “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” 

This morning when I woke up I was fit-to-be-tied!!!  Whatever that means.  I’m sure it has some sort of country folk origin and as much as I like to pretend that I am country (with my rubber dairy boots from Wal-Mart) , I’m about as country as Donatella Versace (see photo to right).  So anyway, my point; I was tired and pissy and feeling sorry for myself.  Sunday, I had a crappy run.  It was like a million degrees outside and I think around 400% humidity.  I was barely able to squeeze out 4 miles instead of my intended goal of 6.  I hadn’t been sleeping well and the change in the weather combined with all the junk floating in the air from all the trees and flowers blooming  made me unbearable to deal with this morning.  I was packing my gym bag getting stuff ready for my run tonight (yes!  I’m off schedule again) complaining the whole time – man I’m a gem sometimes.  The traffic on the way into work no doubt added to my wonderful mood…I mean seriously, I don’t think I could have been any nastier!  I decided to go get a cup of coffee to try to get myself in a better mood.  Coffee always seems to brighten even the darkest days.  As I was walking out of my building, there was a woman walking in.  She appeared to be just about 4 feet tall and walked with a very severe limp.  I saw her coming toward me so I stopped to hold the door open for her.  As she walked through the door,  her response to my simply holding the door open completely amazed me!  Not only was she so grateful, as if I went out fo my way to help her, she was just incredibly cheerful!  She had a  huge smile on her face,  and she was thanking me and saying good morning to everyone around us.  Man, did I feel like a tool!!!  Here I was, complaining and moaning about such trivial things and I”m looking at this woman who,  just to do normal day-to-day things,  has to overcome such extreme obstacles and she was not only in wonderful mood, she was able to make everyone around her feel a little better.  I truly am embarrassment to myself sometimes.  So, when I read Steve’s quote,  it made me think to myself, though my “running ability” might not be a gift, my ability to run certainly is and I hope to never take that for granted!

All right, I have stepped down off my soap box.  About a week ago, I asked everyone to give me a list of their favorite races and I got noth’n!  That’s pretty piss poor guys!  Oh well, maybe it’ll help if I give you a list of my top 5.  I am going to list them in order of when they happen.  For some reason, I always think of my running year resetting with the regular calendar year. 

My first race  that I like to start the running year off with is the St. Patrick’ Day 8K.  It’s a lot of fun, people are so happy to finally get out and run after a long winter, and it’s St. Patrick’s day!!! Who doesn’t love the Irish????  By the way, my grandmother’s name was Mary Patricia Nooney!  I think she smiles a little every time I run this race. 

My second race of the year is the Pikes Peak 10K.  That’s the one I ran last week.  I’ve already covered that one so …nuff said. 

Third, is the The Rockville Rotary Twilight Runfest.  This race takes place the third Saturday in July  and it starts at 9 PM.  Dudes, it can be brutal.  There have been times when it’s so hot they have to delay the start time, but it really is a fun race!  I promise. The course winds its way through the city of Rockville – down neighborhood streets where folks come out to cheer you on and sometimes they pull out their garden hoses to spray you down (I think that might only sound appealing to runners).  There is always a huge crowd with a band playing in the background as you cross the finish line.  It’s just a big block party so it’s fun for everyone…even the folks you bring along for support have a good time.    My in-laws came with me last year – my sister-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, nephews, and husband were all there.  Bella and my nephew Caius ran the fun run and everyone had a great time! 

Fourth, is the Rock n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon in VA Beach.  If’ you’ve never run one of these Rock n’ Roll  runs you’ve got to try one. They are the BEST! Not only are they just so much fun (and take place in like really fun cities), they are so well-organized.  I’m always so impressed with how they handle the sheer volume of people who turnout for these events.   This might sound really stupid, but I’m in awe with the support from UPS to help pull off this event.  The VA Beach Rock n’ Roll 1/2 marathon starts in one part of VA Beach and ends on the ocean – I think it’s about a mile or so from the start line to the finish so the race organizers have the challenge of getting all the runner’s drop off bags from the starting line to the finish line.  Sounds like a pretty easy thing right – yeah, no.  They have an entire fleet of UPS trucks lined up by last name and organized by runner number.  I’ve never had a problem getting my stuff at the end and I’m always amazed by the whole process.  Small minds are easily impressed I guess. 

Fifth, and final is the Thanksgiving Day, SOME race.  I know I’ve already mentioned this one as well, but I really like the idea of getting in a run on the one day a year that is set aside for unadulterated  gluttony!  And, you can raise money to help a very worthy cause.  It’s  just an awesome time to be had by all!!!

So there’s my list.  I’d love to hear from you all so send me your lists!