To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Monday, May 2, 2011

"PRE" Eugene 1/2: The Expo of My Life

I don't even know what to write. I'm still in a fog about it -- but a happy, "did this weekend really happen?" type of fog.

Saturday morning I left town early to get to the expo for the Eugene Marathon. I was a little stressed trying to get a place to park since the spot I thought I'd go to was all blocked off. Crisis averted, and soon as I was walking into the Hilton and getting my bib. Getting my bib, goody bag and shirt was as painless as could be. The volunteers were great! I knew it was going to be a great weekend just from those interactions. I skipped through all of the booths because I first wanted to get the shirt we got with our race entry - then I'd know if I wanted anything from the official merchandise (which I did not). As I was trying on the shirt I looked over to my right and saw THE booth I wanted to visit. And I saw him her.

I kid you not, as I retold all of this to Biker Boy an hour later I couldn't do it without getting teary. I don't know that that won't happen again as I relive it for all of you. Who was she? She is Linda Prefontaine. Steve's sister. And she was right next to me. I had two options. Look from afar and try to sneak in a photo OR be brave and talk to her. I was looking at the runner's journal she made and the other woman started telling me that it has Steve's notes in it, etc.... I looked up, kind of laughed, at which point Linda came over and I said, "Yeah, I don't even know why I am pretending to look at it, obviously I am totally buying this!" with a huge smile on my face. So then I stepped toward my left to be in front of Linda. I think I said to her that it was such an honor to meet her and I would love to just shake her hand.... but you see, before I could even say it, the tears started. This is NOT the reaction I expected. I had to laugh and say "oh my gosh, I'm so sorry, I didn't think I'd react this way!" And then I was trying to talk. And I lost it. The tears were down my face and I couldn't get anything out. Essentially I was saying how I am not a runner, yet this is now my third half marathon in just 66 days and it is all because of Pre that I do this. She was immediately on my side of the table hugging me and letting me cry on her shoulder. Aww. I wasn't in hysterics, but it was just overwhelming. She was so sweet. We stood and talked more after I got myself together - talked about Coos Bay and my grandpa growing up there, my uncle STILL being jealous of Pre, and the fact that like the Prefontaine's, I am also of German descent. AND, we did this:


In this shot there is still a tear coming down from my right eye. Doesn't she look just like him? It was a lovely moment in time for me. The whole experience was just surreal. She loved that I was wearing the necklace she designed and was just so cool and supportive. I am pretty sure we'll become best friends in no time at all. In this lifetime I will never get to meet my running idol face to face, but I think I just did the next best thing. For the rest of my life, people better be prepared to hear about the day I met Pre's sister and she hugged me!

As for the rest of the expo, it was busy, hot and more spread out than last year. Aside from my goody bag, I went home with 2 more posters of Steve Prefontaine (that makes 3 in my collection now!), a sparkling red BIC band, a red with white polka dots running skirt from Runningskirts.com, a pair of blue and a pair of purple compression socks from Runningskirts.com and my Prefontaine running journal. I sampled some Clif Bar vanilla gel and it was really good. I'm going to get some and try that out on a long run in the near future. Much better than the GU I tried last week. 

After the expo I picked up Biker Boy at our hotel and we did some make-up shopping (I bet he loved that!), had some lunch, met up with my childhood friend and then drove out to Pre's Rock to pay my respects, have a little chat with him and get a final dose of inspiration before the race. A tragic thing happened there, and at first I thought it must be morbid to get photos there, but then I realize we just do it to honor his memory, remember his talent and vibrant personality and thank him for the inspiration he gives us Oregon runners!



I couldn't be ALL serious, so naturally on the way out I had to be such a rebel. Look at me, breaking the rules! Ha!


I was going to add our bloggy dinner here, but I'll do that in its own post since this one went long! Stay tuned!



SO, in conclusion ..... I met Steve Prefontaine's sister, I cried, she hugged me. *Then she and the other lady almost started crying, too!* Highlight of my weekend right there!

16 comments:

  1. what a way to start a race weekend! very cool! Can't wait to read more!!

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  2. This is awesome. I love reading it all laid out.

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  3. How awesome for you! The pic with you standing by the sign made me laugh - just hoping you weren't standing in any poison ivy or anything. That would be MY luck!

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  4. SO? How was the race? Juts kidding! That is awesome. And I'm glad that you had such a great time PRE-race.

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  5. Oh wow... that is so awesome. I just about teared up reading this post.

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  6. How awesome is that???!!!
    I got teary just reading this post!! I'm so happy for you that you got to meet her!! AND hug her!! ;)
    You will never forget that expo!! So cool!!!

    haha... look at you being such a rebel! You are too cute!! Can't wait to read the rest of your experience! :D

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  7. Very cool!! What a perfect way to start a race weekend :)

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  8. That's amazing! What a fun story to be able to tell. :)

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  9. I got teary eyed just reading about how you were so overwhelmed by her presence- what an amazing opportunity you got to experience!

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  10. That's cool you met Steve's sister. Your right, she looks like him. Hey! What are you doing in the bushes? Um!

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  11. That is way way cool. So happpy for all your fun times!

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  12. I was choking back tears reading this! How cool was that?!?!?

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  13. It was a sign! And what an amazing moment for you! Congrats.

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