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, a pair of blue and a pair of purple compression socks from 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!


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

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

  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!

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

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

  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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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