Saturday, March 1, 2008

Watch Your Elbows!


I was asked to tell this story about the largest 10K race in this area, the Winter Park Road Race.
In 2005, when I was about one year into my training I signed up to run this race. I had been following the training program of Jeff Galloway, utilizing his run/walk interval system. I learned prior to the race that Jeff would be running and leading a group at a 9:30 minute per mile pace or a 59:00 minute 10K. Wow, I can run my first 10K and I can run with a former Olympian, it doesn't get any better than this!

A group of us met up with Jeff and we lined up for the start. Off we went trying to keep up with Jeff as he dodged around runners in front of us. Like clockwork Jeff would call out our walk break after each 5 minute run segment. As we moved further into the race, I was concentrating on the fact I was running with Jeff and not paying attention to splits. He talked the entire way, answering questions or explaining how to run a hill. WOW. As we got about a half mile from the finish Jeff told us to go on ahead. At this time there were four of us still hanging on for dear life. We told him "no" we came this far, we're staying with you!

The road to the finish is a long straightaway. We were all in close quarters, trying to muster every ounce of strength and reach the finish. With about 100 yards left we were lined up across the road, Jeff was directly to my right. I don't know if I waivered from being tired, but the next thing I remember was giving Jeff Galloway an elbow to the ribs. Oh my God, I just assaulted an Olympian. I knew that as soon as I crossed the finish line they were going to confiscate my shoes and I would never be allowed run again. I apologized to Jeff for the next 20 minutes. I followed him around saying, "I'm sorry." He was a good sport about the entire incident. Did I mention I pulled ahead after the elbow incident and "beat" him across the finish line.

Later that morning he was at a book signing and of course I had to get an autographed book. He saw me and said, "I'll sign the book just don't elbow me again." The following January, Jeff was at the expo for the Disney World Marathon. He was speaking with someone when he saw me approaching. I never thought he would remember me, but he said to the man he was speaking with, "watch out for this guy, he's got sharp elbows." Jeff is a class individual, who I have had the prividledge of meeting numerous times. Maybe he will be in Winter Park on March 29th for a re-match. "I'm sorry Jeff!"

The photo was taken in August 2007, you can see we are still friends and the elbows are in.

10 comments:

Runner's Anonymous said...

I love this story!

ShirleyPerly said...

Great story! Did something happen to cause everything to be in one big paragraph, though?

runninggeezer262 said...

I don't want to appear as a name dropper, but I have found that the "big" names of running are so open and eager to talk about the sport. I consider it an honor to have met; Joan Benoit Samuelson, Jeff Galloway, Keith Brantley, Bill Rodgers and Jim Ryun. When I was in high school, Jim Ryun was "the man". All of us on my high school team followed Jim, who was a high school star at that time. I may be a "Geezer" but meeting and talking with these people make me feel like "kid". I am impressed! While I'm doing the "oldies but goodies", let me throw in a man who recently qualified for the 2008 Olympic team, marathoner Brian Sell. He along with several runners from the "Brooks-Hanson" team visited Orlando and spoke to our training group. Another WOW. He didn't want to talk about his achievements, he was interested in our program and our goals! If you're not familiar with his name, watch him in Beijing this summer.

runninggeezer262 said...

Oh No, I was afraid the "writing police" would show up. :-) I could blame it on my computer but you would know better. Sorry, I'll go back and edit. Just no elbows in the ribs for punishment :-)

ShirleyPerly said...

Just giving you grief ;-) Don't change a thing. Keep running & blogging!!

runninggeezer262 said...

Too late! I made the change. It does look better. I don't allow many people to give me grief, but you're on the "Allow" list. :-)

Runner's Anonymous said...

The best part of this story is the irony. Here Jeff is going out of his way to not only let you pass/beat him but he's encouraging you to do so and he still ends up with a shot to the ribs!

Any more name dropping and I'll be forced to post my pic with Eamon Coughlin so I don't feel like such a loser. :-)

Runner's Anonymous said...

Ok, I AM a loser! I just spelled the Chariman of the Boards name wrong! It's Eamonn Coghlan. I may have to post my pic now just to redeem myself!

Jade Lady said...

Love the post. I recall meeting Jeff Galloway back in 2004 or so at the Disneyworld expo, and he was so gracious.

pantherbball78 said...

Great stuff Jim, keep up the great work. Like a fine wine you keep getting better.