- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 30, 2001

RUNNING/Steve Nearman

Good riddance to 2001.
This was the year that several great area races like the Army Ten-Miler, Pennsylvania Avenue Mile and the SGMA Capital Challenge disappeared.
This was the year when many of us started so strongly then finished somewhat disjointedly, due in large part to issues much larger than ourselves.
But the end of the year is a time to look back and assess what you did right in your running and what you didn't. Two days from now, you will begin afresh with the benefit of another year of experience and another year to do it perfectly, whatever it is.
A new set of goals, a new set of challenges for 2002.
Isn't this what they refer to as "New Year's resolutions?"
I did learn a lot in the past 365 days. Many people learned a lot in the past 365 days. And so here is my list of resolutions for 2002, for me and my closest friends:
For Jamaican Merlene Ottey, I resolve that she gains citizenship in Slovenia so she will no longer have to pull strings to get on the national team.
For the Georgetown Classic 10K, I resolve that it actually runs through Georgetown.
For Farley Simon, the heroic winner of the 2001 Marine Corps Marathon, I resolve that he carries his 46-year-old body from Hopkinton to Boston this spring in another astounding and inspiring marathon performance.
For pole vaulter magnifico Stacy Dragila, the winner of everything in the universe who calls herself the "chick with a stick," I resolve that she keeps sticking it to her competition, if she has any competition.
For Sam Caldwell and his Maryland Elite Athletic Club, I resolve that they land a huge cash sponsor so they can actually pay the national class athletes who come to their invitationals.
For our country, I resolve that we continue to attract world class distance runners to become U.S. citizens so one day we can break the Kenyan and Russian cartels.
For many unsung heroes both locally and nationally who give major amounts of time and energy without financial compensation to promote our sport, I resolve that they be recognized for their contributions, one of many being tireless Phil Davis of Potomac Runners.
As for me, I am resolved:
To try to peak for the big meets during the correct month, not the month before.
To stretch more often and more thoroughly since I haven't been able to touch my toes or my knees since college some 20 years ago.
To give up all foods containing sugar, considered by my wife's holistic physician to be the equivalent of "crack cocaine" and "poison." OK, how about just reducing my sugar consumption in the next year.
To reconsider the use of cross training as a replacement for running; e.g. five hours of leaf raking does not translate into a 10-mile run, or does it?
To try to stop the innocent comments I make while running races with my wife, like, "Wow, it takes so long for the mile markers to come up," and "Why are these people around us panting so hard?" and "Do you think there will be any food or water left by the time we finish?"
Let's all hope for a much calmer 2002. Oh sure.

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