Hail my running brothers and sisters! As I said in my previous post, I was in Knoxville for the Covenant Health Knoxville Half-Marathon. I went up on Saturday to pick up my packet and spend the day at the expo checking out vendors and sponsors and schmoozing with the speakers as I was travelling by myself.Right off the bat, I have to say that I was really impressed with the number of vendors that showed up for what I consider a relatively “small” race (I don’t know…is 5500+ registered runners small? It’s no Rock & Roll Marathon).
One of the vendors, River Sports Outlets had your usual supply of running socks and apparel. Their cool, signature product was the Vibram Five Fingers shoes. They had several pair of various sizes for people to try. So of course, I had to try one on. Frankly, I was not impressed. The shoe, for obvious reasons, has to be tight, but it just didn’t seem comfortable to me. Also my toes are NOT that stubby. They just like they are in those shoes.
The expo had several speakers, including Mark Remy and Anthony Famiglietti. I had hoped to hear Mark Remy speak, but I didn’t leave Nashville early enough. He was kind enough to autograph my copy of The Runner’s Rule Book and he even let me have my picture taken with him. Unfortunately, a very kind gentleman was taking the picture with my phone and I gave him bad directions on how to use it, so the picture was less than stellar. To save myself further embarrassment, I have opted not to post the picture here. Sorry, but even I know better sometimes.
I did get to hear Anthony Famiglietti. He talked about how races give runners a chance to lay it all on the line to go for your goal. It was like he was talking to me. I found myself nodding along with him as he talked about being part of a sporting community that supported each other in our goals to be better, stronger, faster. That our community was stronger by the fact that we didn’t judge each other where we finished in a race but encouraged each other to race in the first place.
And I guess that’s when it hit me. Sure I enjoyed buying stuff (like socks, shirts, shoes, bottles, etc.) and checking out new products, but the thing that I love about races and expos is that I get to spend some time with my people. Whether they are slower or faster than me, we all share that desire to get up to the starting line and lay it all out to the finish. I love the St. Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V, and that’s why I love getting my friends to races with me. So that at the finish line, whenever we finish, “we happy few, we band of brothers” will know that crossed that line together. Later kids!
***Final Note: Needless to say, none of what I have accomplished or learned about myself could have been possible without the love and support of my wife and family. Whenever I faltered or questioned my resolve, they have been there to cheer me on and push me out the door to keep my feet on the ground and my chin in the air. Thanks guys.***