Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Runners World Festival and Half- Meeting My second Family Part 1

     October 5th, 2014: I spent my morning helping my mother get settled in her new apartment before I left for my weekend of awesomeness in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Things were not going as planned and the kick off from Salisbury was getting later by the moment. There was not too much traffic, but we had the usual stop for lunch, stop for bathroom breaks, missed a turn, and then a little bit of a traffic jam in Pennsylvania. We finally arrived in Bethlehem and the first thing I noticed was holy-moly Hills.
     We missed the kid run by about 30 minutes. I was in trouble with Georgia and Grady as they were super excited to do the kids run.  After soothing the tempers we managed to work our way through packet pick up with no problems. I even got to visit the famous and awesome Elizabeth Comeau (#RWZelle) and introduced her to my family.  The site of the RW Festival was amazing. We made our way to The hotel near downtown Bethlehem where I quickly had to leave to meet the rest of the Sub- 30 club at the Moravian Book store for a book signing and surprise birthday gathering for the creator of our little group, Ted Spiker from Runners World's Big Guy Blog.  He is such an amazing and awesome writer. Speaking of which check out his book, "Down Size." 

Size      The gathering at the bookshop was amazing. I was very quiet and shy which is totally not like me. But this was the first time I was meeting Ted, Mark Remy, and other members of the Sub-30 Club in person. It was surreal to be standing among people I only knew from photos and posts on Facebook. We were there for little while and mingled a little bit, but it was getting late and everyone wanted to head out for drinks or to bed for the races on Saturday. I followed the group to BrewWorks, a local brewery, to hang out for a little while before I decided I should probably get back to the hotel and rest. 

     Saturday morning was a little hectic trying to figure out where to park and exactly where I was supposed to meet everyone. An idea came about to create a custom shirt with Ted's face on it for Runners World Festival.  We all had purchased it and were going to do a surprise unveiling during a group photo that morning before the races. We also had custom tattoos with his face as well. Ted had become a symbol of our group. All of his goals and work brought us all together. We had essentially become great friends and even more a family. 

     This moment was a culmination of months worth of planning, discussion, and jokes. We were all lined up for the group photo near the start line.  Lonnie and Laurie, mementos of our group, pulled Ted up to the front of the group and stated that there was something wrong with the picture. Laurie pointed out that our shirts were wrong and at that point our queue was to remove our shirts to expose the awesomeness of Ted on our chests.  Lonnie and Laurie then presented Ted with his own shirt. It was such a fantastic moment right before we all ran together. 

     Almost immediately after taking the group photo we had to line up for the beginning of the 5K. Stella was running with me and the rest of the group. She actually thought Lonnie's hair was great since it was neon yellow. She then asked if she could get a picture with him. The race was about to begin and Stella was smack talking  to me about the 5K. Everyone there thought it was hysterical. I couldn't help but laugh, and secretly I was hoping she would beat me. Lonnie Nicknamed her flash which has stuck. I was not concerned about PR'ing the 5K, because my goal was to actually PR in the half marathon on the following day. 

      The race began and the crowd launched forward to the beginning of the 5K. Stella was keeping a nice pace even as we entered the entrance ramp that crossed over an inclined bridge. Once the bridge leveled out we were up another incline to round a block and then it was all downhill from there.  Coming down the bridge we saw the race photographers and I told Stella to do something like wave to the camera. Stella proceeded to flap her arms like a bird and jump and stick her tongue out.  The most exciting part about that is that she was clearly having fun.  As much as I want her to excel in running, I want her to continue to have fun and not lose sight of that. As we approach the finish line Stella launched like a rocket. I broke off towards the side of the course to pick up Grady and have him cross the finish line with me. We did it and Grady got to high-five Bart Yasso. Awesome.  

Bart Yasso:  The Mayor of Running


  1. So sad I missed this weekend! So much fun!

  2. I am equal parts jealous & happy reading this. I wish I could've been there to meet you & everyone else. I'm so glad you had a blast!!

  3. Love the attitude with Stella. Having coached younger kids, that is what I would always stress, that yes, we want to compete, and yes, we want to get better, but ultimately, it is about FUN. If we aren't enjoying the ride, something is wrong. Great read Jim!