Friday, May 8, 2015

Four Things Friday

One less than my usual because it's late.

(Editor's note: I've only had six page views in the last three days...SIX! I'll try to do better.)

*Today was kind of a big day. We moved my son Matt out of the dorm at Benedictine University as he has completed his freshman year. Like most 18-year-old kids he had his ups and downs, but in the end he learned and grew and figured a few things out. He enjoyed cross country and track, and -- best yet -- he believes he finished the year with a GPA over 3.0.

He will spend the summer working as a day camp counselor for the Aurora Park District, and is excited about the fall semester as he moves into his major of exercise science. Yeah, I'm pretty proud.

*Which leads me into Saturday, as the Knapp boys will join forces for the first time in a 5K together. Matt, Kevin and I will be running the Apple Blossom 5K here in Bartlett, which is a fun, low-key race with a pretty fast course.

Matt's roommate, also named Matt, will be running as well, and those two will be up near the front of the field. I told Matt to just enjoy himself, have fun running with his good friend (they are sharing a dorm room again in next year) and use the race as a celebration of the end of a great year. There is a little bit of pride between the two, though -- Matt told me they are going to meet 45 minutes before the race to warm up and everything together. Should be a fun battle!

Meanwhile, Kev and I will be running together. I'm going to try and help him run the whole way and finish in under 31 minutes. He will start training for his high school cross country season in a few weeks and is really looking forward to this race.

*Despite being passed over for the Team V position, I am undeterred. Today I signed up to be a pace group leader for the Chicago Area Runner's Association (CARA) half marathon program. We'll see what happens, but I hope I get picked. I kind of look at it as an internship for the coaching stuff I plan on getting involved with.

*Finally, I'm going to editorialize. I'm sure many of you have heard the internet sensation (can't think of a better I said, it's late) caused by Pennsylvania runner Mike Rossi. If you haven't heard, he was the guy who wrote a smarmy letter to his kids' school principal after receiving a form letter telling him that the time his kids were out of school while he ran the Boston Marathon was being considered as unexcused.

Rossi's letter went viral and, as the internet is wont to do, spawned two camps -- one that makes him out to be the Father of the Year, and the other that feels bad for the principal for the grief that has been brought to her door. I fall in the latter camp, I feel like it was a crap move for him to do. Educators have jobs to do, and it was policy, right or wrong. If he had an issue with the policy, call the school and discuss it, don't embarrass people because you feel like you were right.

Now we are hearing word that he may have cheated his way to a Boston Marathon qualifier when he ran 3:11 at the Lehigh Valley Marathon in September. Lots of issues are in play with this, but, come on, red flags are going to be raised when you have no workouts or races that point to being at all capable of doing what he did. And his explanation? He was "running injured" or running with friends in many of the run-up races to his qualifier.

I'm not saying that alone makes the guy guilty, because I don't know. I will say this, though, I believe in sportsmanship, fair play and integrity. While some people in the running community are a little nonchalant about it, I believe that things like this are a big deal, and anyone who resorts to cheating at any time during any race deserves to be exposed for what they did. Lots of people work hard to accomplish things through their running. Some are big, such as qualifying for Boston or even the Olympic Trials, while some are small, like a PR or doing something that they never thought they were capable of doing.

As runners, we all have a respect for one another because we know there aren't any shortcuts in this game. You get out what you put into it. And I for one don't have any patience, or sympathy, to anyone that cheats their way to accomplishments. I dream of running Boston too, but I am adamant that they only way I am running it is if I qualify, fair and square. If I never make it, I don't, but if I do I know I will have earned it.

If Mike Rossi ran the race of his life last year, good on him, but I know if I were in the position where my integrity was called into question, I would produce all evidence I had to prove myself. He hasn't done that, instead he has closed ranks and refused to defend himself. I don't have respect for that, I just don't.

Hope you have a great weekend! I'm going to have a fun race wrap up coming, so make sure to look for it!

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