Wednesday, March 8, 2017

When TV Makes You Think...

I am a huge fan of NBC's "This Is Us" that airs on Tuesday evenings. It's been a long time since I actually wanted to watch a TV show that isn't on HGTV but this is just one of those amazing shows that you can't wait to watch.

Like many of the episodes, last night had me weeping. Okay - sobbing. Sobbing so much that Altman asked me two or three times if I was okay.

I knew William was dead. I watched that episode too. I knew that they'd be celebrating his life on last night's episode. I knew I would cry.

William was a great character. He was human. He made mistakes but he did good things too. The mailman asked about William because he'd gotten to know him. William actually took time to talk to the mailman.

It's interesting. Last week, I was leaving State Street Garage downtown and when I asked the fellow taking my money if he was having a good day, he responded that he was having a great day. The person exiting in front of me remembered his name. Terry was thrilled that one of the hundreds of people leaving that garage every day remembered his name. Now I know his name and I hope to see him again soon. It's so simple yet such a powerful reinforcement on the importance of human interaction.

Back to William...

I loved the celebration of life. I loved that the children planned it. It wasn't stuffy or sad and they really tried to do the things he did every day.

If I left this world tomorrow, I'd love for everyone to throw on running shorts and go for a run. Make it a long one since distance running may never happen for me again (but I am still hopeful!). Hit the roads or a trail - I am a fan of both. Have an adult beverage. Sit in a hammock and read a book. Grab a Skinny Vanilla Latte. Volunteer your time. Remember someone's name and make their day.

Hopefully I won't leave this world tomorrow. If I'm still here then I plan to stop and talk to our mailman, or the UPS man, or the Fedex man since they frequent our home so often these days.

It's doesn't matter what prompts you but if you stop to think about what's important in life then I bet you'd find that many of the things that fill your schedule are just that - fillers. When was the last time you had meaningful interactions with those people in your every day life? Not just your spouse/significant other or children but do you really have meaningful interactions with them? Do you know the name of the person taking your money or card at the garage every day or the name of the barista at your favorite coffee shop?

Maybe if we stopped long enough for a simple "Hello, how are you?" every day then we'd find it easier to get along with one another.

See you on the roads and trails! K

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Marathon...All Year!

It's marathon season! I don't know why I say that because it's really always marathon season. Long ago, this event became a full-time gig and took on a life of its own. But it's funny because people have this idea that things come together in a few months and that once the race is over on Sunday then we take a two week vacation and relax. Far from it.

The first year of the race, Altman ran the marathon (his 1st) and I ran the 5K. We volunteered the next year and yes, we were able to get back to normal on Monday after the race but we'd been putting in several hours a week as the Training Run Captains since that previous November. We also volunteered many hours during race weekend since I was the Information Captain and Altman was the 5K Captain.

Then Altman was the Co-Race Director and we got our first taste of the full-on commitment of the event. Truthfully, the race wasn't even that big then but boy did we put in some hours. The following year, KTC hired Altman as the sole Race Director and we've been living and breathing this thing since.

Race prep for subsequent years starts before this year's event takes place. Dates for future years are already tentatively set and as decisions are made, we literally say "next year we will do this" and then hopefully write it down to remember it.

I don't really need to talk about March because anyone who knows us will know that March is wild and chaotic. We love it or we wouldn't continue to do it.

As the Executive Director, I still have to run KTC as an organization and maintain normal operations regardless of what is happening with the CHKM or any of the other programs. For instance, we will kick off the Knoxville Youth Runs season for most schools on March 27 - just days before the CHKM weekend. We'll have a new RunKNOX season starting in April and we have several large road races this spring as well as special events this fall that need to be planned.

Post-race is crazy. Altman works 50+ hours/week through mid-May and then winds things down enough so that we can take an early summer vacation. Upon our return, he hits the road with sponsor thank you gifts and writing the budget for the next year and the planning moves ahead at full steam.

It's been a pleasure to watch this event grow. We've seen participation increases and literally watched thousands of people enter that stadium and cross the finish line. We've seen the neighborhoods of Knoxville embrace this event and literally turn into miles of block parties. Thousands of people - not just locals - choose to volunteer for the many spots that are needed to make race weekend happen. The City of Knoxville has been fully invested and there are so many sponsors that put their faith and support in this event. It's remarkable. The journey is full and highs and lows. Literally each day presents a new benefit, opportunity, or problem and sometimes all at once.

I suspect that just like every other year, I will stand at the start line on April 1 and again on April 2 with great respect for my husband who does an amazing job of pulling the whole event together. Then I will shed a few tears when the National Anthem is played once it is over, I'll wipe them away and jump in to action. We'll send thousands of athletes across the start line and once they've crossed 11th Street then I'll head to Neyland Stadium to wait for them.

Hope to see you there....
Photo frames of the front pages of the special KNS Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon section.