May 22, 2009

Dassel-Cokato High School Athletic Banquet, Cokato, MN

I flew into the Mpls/St.Paul area to speak at the Dassel-Cokato High School Athletic Banquet. I picked up my rental car and then headed for the small farming communities of Dassel/Cokato Minnesota. These towns are about 50 miles west of the Twin Cities. I grew up not to far from those towns and hunted, trapped, and fished on many of the lakes and woods in the area as a kid.

I actually stayed at a hotel in the larger town of Litchfield, about 12 miles west of D-C. I checked in, took a short nap, then went for a run around Lake Riley. It brought back some memories! I ran a 25K race there back in 1979, the reason I remember it so well, not because I won the race, but because it's one of the only times I've ever dropped out of a race!

I had a nice 5 mile run, then back to the hotel for a shower and supper. Wednesday morning I was up and back out at Lake Riley for another run, my golly it was windy! When I got on the north side of the lake, the waves were hitting the shore so hard I was getting wet and I was on the far side of the road! That afternoon I drove up to the Dassel-Cokato High School. The wind was blowing so hard and the dirt blowing off the newly planted fields, I had to have my lights on! I met with the boys and girls track team and spoke to them out on the track, I had to shout so they could hear me because of the wind!

After meeting with the kids, I headed back to the hotel and got cleaned up and headed back to the high school where I was the keynote speaker at the Athletic Banquet. We had a great meal and then we all headed into their beautiful auditorium where the awards were being presented and where I would give my talk. They had over 350 kids and parents at the event. My talk went really well and we all had a great time!

I love speaking in small towns, the people are so appreciative and I love the spirit and the togetherness that small towns have. Thanks Dassel-Cokato for your great hospitality! :-)

May 10, 2009

Dick Beardsley Running Company, Fargo, ND

I was on the road by 6am from Grand View Lodge to head for the Fargo Dome where the Dick Beardsley Running Company had a booth set up at the Fargo Marathon expo. I arrived around 9:30 and the place was already packed with people! We have a great bunch of owners and employees and they were all there with smiles on their face's ready for a long day ahead! Then New Balance Shoe Company was kind enough to make up some awesome posters for me to sign. They sent us around 150 posters and they were going like hot cakes!

I spent most of the day signing posters, race numbers, getting pictures, and chatting with people, my goodness the day went by quickly! It was so fun chatting with everyone! I love race expo's as you can just feel the energy and excitement throughout the day! The expo ended at 9pm and then it was time to take everything down and pack it up to haul back to the store. Needless to say we were all exhausted!

I get way to much credit for the success of our store. Yes it has my name on it, but my partners and our employees deserve all of the credit! They are the ones at the store every day working hard not only at the store but with their "real" jobs plus raising family's, I'm so proud to be associated with such a wonderful store but even more so of the great friends I have there! Keep up the great work gang! :-)

May 8, 2009

Minnesota City/County Manager's Association's Annual Conference, Brainerd, MN

On May 6th I flew into Fargo, ND for a visit to our running specialty store, the Dick Beardsley Running Company and for my talk over in Nisswa, Minnesota. I had been invited to speak at the Minnesota City/County Managers Association Annual Conference held at Grand View Lodge on beautiful Gull Lake. I drove to the lodge on the morning of Thursday May 7. My friend and former Becker County Manager Mike Williams had put the word in for me to speak at this event. Becker County is the county I was from as I lived in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota before I moved to Austin.

Mike was also a runner and a darn good one at that! I got all checked into my cabin and was fortunate to run into Mike. We chatted a little about my talk and then it was time to get my head together and get ready for the dinner and banquet. After a great meal it was my time to get up as the keynote speaker. The audience was awesome and my talk went really well! I had planned to possibly drive back to Fargo that night but as with most talks, I'm just drained after them so decided to get to bed. I got up at 4 the next morning, got in a nice 5 mile run through the forest roads and headed back to Fargo.

Thanks everyone and especially Mike Williams for the great time I had! :-)

May 3, 2009

Jeff Bostow Post Boston Marathon Party -Minneapolis

My friend Jeff Bostow is one crazy guy! (all in a good way!) Jeff is a coach with Life Time Fitness in the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis/St.Paul. This past winter he led a training group of folks that were running the 2009 Boston Marathon. A couple of months before the race he had a idea to surprise his athletes and give them all a copy of the book "Duel in the Sun" not just to give them a copy, but to have it signed by myself, Alberto Salazar, and the author John Brant! So as they climbed on board the bus heading to the starting line in Hopkington, they all received a signed book.

Now you would think that would be the end of the story wouldn't you? Noooooooo! Jeff contacted me to see if I would be able to come up for their post Boston party to surprise everyone! Well, it all worked out and I arrived in Minneapolis from Austin the morning of the party. Jeff and I went for breakfast and we layed out the plans on how it would all unfold.

By 4 pm I had to be in one of the bedrooms in his house so no one would know I was there. At around 5 guests started arriving and they were enjoying the nice day outside talking about the race and other things while a big ole kettle of stew was cooking on the fire pit.

Jeff started the official program around 7, he then showed a video of the "Duel in the Sun" race from 1982, then he had another short video off of "YouTube" of me telling the "Duel in the Sun" story to a group in Chicago. By this time I was now down hiding in a downstairs room waiting for my cue to walk out. After the video Jeff said even though Dick now lives in Austin, Texas, let's give him a big round of applause for all he has done for running here in Minnesota.

That was my cue, I walked out onto the patio at that point, people at first were speechless and dumbfounded all at the same time! I will never ever forget the looks on their faces when I walked out! After the shock, we took lots of pictures and had a great time for the next couple of hours. Jeff, I can't thank you enough for what you did not only for me but more importantly for all your athletes! You're a good man my friend, keep up the great work you do! :-)