Since as long as I can remember, the Fourth of July has been my favorite holiday – for many of the same reasons other holidays are other people’s favorites.
Over the years, I’ve always spent the holiday with family and friends, and celebrating the freedom we enjoy in America. And, for me, it’s always worthwhile to count the blessings in my life.
Another tradition for me, going back to my baseball playing days in high school, is giving thanks for those blessings during the national anthem. It’s a tradition I’ve kept while listening to the Star Spangled Banner before the start of races.
For several years, I’ve wanted to run the Red, White and Boom half marathon in Minneapolis. It seems like I picked the perfect year to do it.
The weather at the start was perfect, and I loved the course. It had a couple challenges – also known as hills – but it’s an ideal course to run a negative split. And the Kemp’s chocolate milk, popsicles and potato chips were a nice way to unwind afterward. This certainly was among my favorite road races in the past few years, and I couldn’t help but think how lucky I’ve been to run on good courses and terrific weather this year, first at the Fargo Marathon and today in Minneapolis.
After running through injuries in June, and continuing to manage those, I’ve set my hopes on a strong buildup, with plenty of miles, for the New York City marathon. It’s about 4 months away, but 13-mile runs for the past several weekends are helping set a base for the work ahead. It’s going to take time – more than 4 months – to get back into fighting shape for a strong marathon, but my hopes are high, especially with today’s race setting the bar for the running to come.
Finally, congrats to all of the runners who made it out today for races in Grand Forks, Fargo, Bemidji, Walker, Park Rapids, Minneapolis and elsewhere, or who simply laced up and went out on their own course. I can’t think of a better celebration of freedom and self expression.