I still can't believe I met him. Boston Billy, my absolute timeless running idol (next to Kara of course, but shes more contemporary, he's a classic!!) spoke to me, shook my hand and gave me advice for my first big marathon.
For those of you who don't know who this guy is, he is a LEGEND. Won Boston and NYC marathons 4 times apiece between 1975 and 1980. Twice at Boston he broke the American record for a marathon and to date (in 1977) he is the only runner to EVER hold the championship of the three major marathons: Boston, NYC, and Fukuoka. Wild. And to think, the first time he ran Boston was with a DNF (did not finish)!
So when the FIL told me about this saucony party, I saw that Bill would be there and thought how cool it would be to hear him speak. Unfortunately we also had to pick up the hubby on his delayed flight so we missed the speakers... I was a little bummed until Mike told me he knew Billy!! What?! We got into the little party and there he was, signing autographs and posing for photos.
When it was finally my turn, I was star struck. What do you say to a man who you have idolized, read all his articles on running, and basically heard about from everyone in the running community since he practically invented the running community?! Not much. Thankfully the FIL did most of the talking to get him started and then we just listened to Billy.
What a sweet, quirky man. I loved every second that he spoke with us and wanted to make sure I never forgot what he told me. (although mr. D and anna will have to correct me if I got anything wrong!)
He was so nice!! He told me to alternate drinking water and Gatorade in the heat and to run slow. Enjoy myself. Rely on my fans (family) to garner support from. To go with the flow of the marathon like a fish in a stream. Something about fig newtons. Try some coca cola for an extra energy boost. Check out johnny kelly's statue. Listen to the roars of the wellesley girls from a mile away (and to pray that it doesn't scare little d too much, i hope!) And to finish. :)
I was stumbling over my words but got him to sign an autograph and he remembered my name!! And signed his photo "Ruth 1st Boston ----- (not sure what the last word is still) -Bill Rodgers 2012."
The whole time as well as dishing out advice he was talking about his past and how he was known for being a bit of a hippie before running and I am just thinking of course I know that!!! You are amazing!! Incredible! Then he told me that after he didn't finish Boston he didn't run for THREE months because he hated it. What?! Then he comes back a few years later to basically turn into a running rock star. As he said it, he is the Mickey mantle of running ;) (Johnny Kelly of course being the Babe Ruth).
What an amazing man. What an out of this world night. The theme of this night was "find your strong" and my strong this weekend is my amazing family who are my support. And of course Dani who got me my new favorite running headband :)
I've never been so ready for a race!!