Tuesday, April 17, 2007

We Love the City of Flint

Today the city of Flint, MI treated me like a queen! When we first came up with the idea for the Best City for Walkers and the Walker Friendly Event awards I had hoped we might get a little publicity and that winners might be excited. The city of Flint went above and beyond all of my expectations!

They held a very nice news conference for me to present the award to the Mayor of Flint and the Crim Festival of Races Race Director. There were maybe 50 people at the news conference with three TV stations. (Each station interviewed me individually.) There were many, many local dignitaries from the city as well as several local walkers. Even Judy Jackson, a well-known local walker and WALK! Magazine contributor, took the day off to attend the news conference. It was nice to see her again.

Everyone I met today was extremely friendly and excited about the city's recognition. Unfortunately, I met so many people their names have started to run together. Many people hung around after the news conference just to chat. They truly were a great group of people!

After the news conference I made a stop at both of the local "running" stores. I had not heard of The Complete Runner before, but they were wonderful and will now be carrying WALK! Magazine. I also stopped by Bauman's, one of the first stores to carry the magazine. (Both stores had representatives at the news conference.)Mark Bauman was on his way back from the Boston Marathon, so I didn't get the chance to say hi. I had not been there before and it's also a very nice store.

I'm not used to being the center of attention. Luckily no one noticed that I was extremely nervous. (At least they said they didn't notice.) But with people this nice, it was easy to get over it.

Thank you Flint for treating me so well! Thank you also to Dorie Barkey and Deb Kiertzner for planning the news conference, reserving a hotel room and taking me to breakfast. It was great meeting you. Thank you Judy and all of the local walkers who nominated the city. Your city definitely is well deserving.

I hope someone in the area will tape the local news coverage for me and send me some clippings! I can't remember the last time I was on TV - it would be nice to see how I did.

Things I learned while in Flint:
- Several hundred people meet every Tuesday to run and walk together in Flint. One number I heard was 800 people! I'm not sure if this is part of the Crim Training program or the year-round Crim Fit program. Regardless, it is impressive.
- Always number the pages of your speaking notes. Not only did I drop my notes on the floor, the Mayor knocked my notes on the floor.
- No matter how much of a hurry you are in, take a moment to find a map of Michigan and a map of Flint before you leave the house. I've been to Flint before, I know it can be confusing. It took much longer to get there than it should have.
- It is fun stopping at local running stores. I'll have to do that more often.
- Though it was easy to eat healthy on the way to Flint (I packed fresh veggies, low fat cheese and some crackers) it was way too difficult to avoid French fries on the way home. I caved.

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