Meeting Shalane Flanagan
I was going through my draft posts and found 2 Runner’s World posts that never got published! In the furor of the Runner’s World Festival, returning home, trying to catch-up with everything that I missed and then deciding to switch A Veteran Runnah to a self-hosted blog – I didn’t finish this post.
Bart Yasso called this Harold’s Harem ;-). Yeah right!
Last Friday morning around 11:30 or so along with about 25 other FitFluential Ambassadors, I got to meet a truly inspirational person – Shalane Flanagan – that’s right the Olympian!
Now I try to downplay it a lot when I get to meet someone who is well-known or famous, but meeting Shalane Flanagan was one of those things that was very special. I admit it, I was a little star-struck. She was at the Runner’s World Half Festival with Nissan, and somehow the Runner’s World Public Relations staff arranged for us to do a small group session with Shelane (yes we are on a first name, great friends forever – yeah right 🙂 dream on old guy).
Shalane is not the first famous person that I have had the pleasure to meet, but she is one of the humblest and most gracious ladies that I have met, who is a public figure. She sat and talked with us, not down to us and yes there is a big difference.
During the session she answered questions about her Olympic experiences, how it felt to lead the race for the time that she did and how she felt when Kara picked her up at the end (I watched the Olympic Marathon from start to finish and that moment when Kara helped Shalane back up, was one of those moments that is blazed into my memory and choked me up, when it happened), how she had given everything she had that day and the issues that she was having and how deep inside herself she had to go to finish the race.
Shalane discussed her background with us, how her parents made her do more sports than just running and that she used her experiences in swimming to help her relax, during heavy training cycles. She also talked about her issues with race day anxiety that were so bad that it negatively affected her in some of her races in her early career. Which was something that I could really relate to, after dealing with that issue for almost 25 years.
Oh one more thing, when I was on the podium getting my 2nd place age-group plaque, Shalane was on the stage. On my way back down, she stopped me and shook my hand and said “Congratulations Harold”.
Now I would like to imagine that she remembered this old guy, from that meeting on Friday, but with all the people that Shalane was around that day, it was very unlikely that she did, however, it was still VERY cool that Shalane took that moment to congratulate me and actually use my name. :-).
The reality is that Shalane probably heard the announcer say my name and some of the other Runner’s World staff who were more familiar with me, were up on the stage with us, say my name, but I can dream can’t I.
Overall, I would say that “meeting” Shalane Flanagan was one of the highlights of my Runner’s World Festival Weekend! For such an accomplished runner, she was humble, easy to talk with and very gracious to a bunch of strangers. I do want to say thank you to the Runner’s World Staff and the people at Nissan for making it possible for me to meet one Shalane Flanagan. Most of all I want to thank Shalane for being patient for all of the photos and autographs that she signed that morning.
It was also great seeing some of my favorite bloggers in person, during this session.
Michelle and Amanda