I can remember a young neighbor girl commenting to my wife about my successes at running. She said, He is always first!
Well, not by a long shot, am I always first. However, I always try to be competitive and give it my best. But there is no one alive that has probably always been first especially at something he or she is noted to be the best.
Yet, there are other firsts that should not be overlooked. In running circles we call them PRs or PBs; Personal Records or Personal Bests. Now there is a true definition of always being first. When I do better than I have ever done before, then it is truly a first, at least for me.
There are also the times I do something for the first time, like running a certain marathon that I have not done before.
Lately, I try to key on a few first time events or events that I have not done before. This year I participated in two events that were run for the first time this year, The Maritime Marathon in Manitowoc, WI and the No Frills Marathon in Minocqua, WI... I also ran in two others that have been going on for three decades, the Florence (Italy) Marathon and the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL.
Nowadays, new marathons seem to be popping up everywhere, but way more in Wisconsin than elsewhere. At one time I had on my to do list, Do every marathon in Wisconsin, but with a proliferation in recent years, I dont know if Ill ever get them done.
One thing I do know, when I do those new ones, or those I have not yet had the opportunity to complete, they will be firsts in my book.
Another thing on my to do list, is to run a marathon or ultra marathon in every state and DC. I am only a little over half way there. I hope they dont add more states!
Trouble with running a marathon with lots of amenities, such as great volunteers and fan support, as well as a great course, is that I tend to go back to those. I completed my 26th Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon and my 20th Paavo Nurmi Marathon in Hurley, WI this year and my tenth Boston Marathon.
With 125 marathons under my shoes, there are other firsts ahead, but that will mean passing some of my favorites up in order to do so. The 3 above will be repeated frequently though Im sure.
Over the past few years I have also been adding some foreign races to my resume. The first one I did was Athens, then I went back, which was another first, as it was the first time I repeated a foreign marathon. Reykjavik, Iceland and Rome followed.
Returning to Italy for our wedding ceremony at St. Peters Basilica, Vatican City coincided with the Florence Marathon, the weekend before saying our religious vows.
A week later we returned from out two-week Italian trip and the next day I headed for Rocket City with 2 InStep teammates, Kane Baker (running his 49th sub 4 marathon of the year, each in a different state) and Rick Stefanovic, whom I have known for a long time and have traveled with often.
When Kane asked me, I didnt hesitate to take the opportunity to run my first marathon in the state of Alabama, but also to notch my 125th career marathon. I guess every time we add another marathon to the list of finishes it also becomes a first, as well.
We should all realize that we will not always be first, but cherish the firsts we create, along with those rare first place finishes, either in age group or overall.
How about each time you put on a new pair of Wigwam Socks? Now there is a first you wont forget!
See you in a few miles.roy