Saturday, May 24, 2008

Take a Moment to Let It Soak In

(copied blog entry from the VR Training website)

Deep Thoughts....

My running "life" began 11 years ago while in Virginia Beach with the Navy. Reflecting back, the running community that welcomed me, encouraged me, and saw me through thick and thin was a key instrument in providing the framework for a running "life" I so embrace today. Even though I moved out of Virginia in 2001, I still consider them some of my very best friends...for life.

That move from Virginia took my family to Colorado Springs...a view of Pikes Peak out my living room window and Saturday morning runs aboard the Barr Trail heading to Pikes Peak...absolutely breathtaking. However, with Colorado on top of the heap with regards to "fittest state in the country," the running community left MUCH to be desired. Still today, as Vince will attest, it lacks community and a quality hub to connect everyone, such as a locally run specialty running shop. Yea, they have one, but it's nothing like what exists in Virginia Beach (ie: or Vertical Runner here in Hudson. Key ingredients are heavy involvement in the community, not just the "running" community, but the community in which the store calls "home." It also must put the good of people and doing what's best for them above making the highest profit. Sure, profit is crucial otherwise the store would cease to exist, but it's not the's not the passion that keeps it alive. Truly serving others as they would want to be treated and helping them reach their goals must be the cornerstone upon which all else is built.

OK, so here I am...11 years into my running "career." Who would have thought I'd find such a "community" as I have here in northeast Ohio. Ask someone who isn't in it, whether they live here or anywhere else in the country, they'd probably not believe it. We have at our disposal miles and miles of gorgeous protected land...Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cleveland Metroparks, Summit name a few. Even I had no idea how much was here until I ran...well, I "slogged"...through the rainy Green Jewel 100K a few weeks back...and I was taken through a tour of what the Cleveland Metroparks has to offer. I thought I "knew it all" since I'm familiar with the CVNP.

Then comes the Cleveland Marathon last weekend. I didn't even run it, but I was there and what a showing it was. My only goal was to snap photos of VR tech tees and I couldn't believe how many folks I knew. One after another, there YOU were! Then came the 25 mile mark where I saw happiness, sadness, pain, and just plain 'ol elation for being 1 mile to the finish! For some, they were finishing their first marathon, their 20th, or reaching a seemingly unreachable Aaron qualifying for Boston (now THAT was a heck of an inspiration!).

Take a moment to step back and soak it all in...a running community that accepts all, regardless of ability, talent, or experience. Elite ultra-runners to someone who runs 3 miles and wants to run a're welcome here! Thank you to all of you and thanks to Vince & Steve for opening a store and infusing their passion into the local community. Don't ever take this for's not the "norm" and you may not ever find it again should you move away. (ie: I almost moved to San Antonio, TX and when I asked about "group runs" at the local running shop, they thought I was speaking Greek!)

Set goals, achieve them, live a healthy lifestyle, and just get out there! Join us at the Fall VR Training Kickoff Meeting THIS Wedneday at the Hudson Libary @ 7pm!

Happy Trails!

Nick Billock
Running the Race Set Before Me


Susan said...

Hey Nick-
I want to thank you for running me in, even though it was a struggle on my part! It was inspiring seeing all the VR and feeling so supported. We are lucky!

Nick Billock said...

Thanks, Susan!

If you can, send me a direct e-mail at so I can send you all the photos I snapped of you.

See you soon!