I clearly made a mistake.
All of a sudden I was at the starting line of a 5k after deciding seven hours earlier I’d give it a shot. I did zero prep road work. I do hike South Mountain twice a week and jog all of the flat areas and most of the inclines.
But the last thing I am is a runner.
I haven’t been anywhere near a starting line since 2006 when Haile Gebrselassie set the half-marathon record at the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon and I was in front of him in the media vehicle and participated in the second Pat’s Run a few months later.
Before that my running resume consisted of running laps when a coach was mad at me (or the team) or if I was overweight for wrestling 25 years ago.
And yet there I was at 6:30 in the morning on Saturday with about 200 other participants at Desert Vista waiting to run around the school. TWICE. I got around the first time and thought it was over until one of the supporters said ‘You are half way done.’
I just about called it quits. And no one mentioned there were going to be a couple of inclines that mixed among the course.
Despite all of that, it wasn’t the mistake I made.
That was not getting to know Pat Quinn enough.
In my job I am making countless trips to Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe, along with most of the school’s on the athletic schedule, during the school year. One of the things I enjoy about it is taking a minute to talk to a lot of the people I come across.
I am there for the athletes and coaches, but there are so many other friendly faces and they have a lot snipets to share. Unfortunately, I never really talked to Quinn, the Desert Vista security guard who the run honored for the second year after he had a heart attack at the school.
We always acknowledged each other there but for whatever reason we never engaged in a conversation and it is clear I am a lesser person for it.
All of the support the community has shown the last two years for this event has been special. The words everyone uses to describe the man are glowing. He would have been a good one to sidle up to and talk with for a few minutes on one of my trips to Desert Vista.
It’s another reminder – along with the two separate memorial services my wife and I attended this week – that we never know when our time might be up.
Forgetting that message is a mistake no one should make.
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.