Hilton Head Island Running

Image

In just a few short days we will be hitting the road for a fantastic trip to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  There are a few very good reasons for this trip.  My parents retired there back in 1996.  My family has been vacationing there however, since I was in Junior High school in the early 80’s.  First my family had a time share there, which later turned into owning a condo, and then eventually the folks bought a home there to retire and live full time.  I have a lot of history there.

We vacationed there twice a year back in the early days.  Usually for Easter week, and then again right before the school year started every year around Labor Day.  I was a big tennis player when I was young, golfer, too.  Back when I was in high school I met Steffi Graf, one of the best female tennis players ever.  I played on a tennis court right next to her while she was practicing for Wimbledon.  I also met Martina Navratilova and her partner Judy in the elevator at our condo complex as she trained for Wimbledon one year while I was in college.  You see, after high school, I took the opportunity to live in Hilton Head twice.  I worked there the Summer after my freshman year in college, and then again during a co-op work experience after my second year in college.  I met a lot of other college students from around the country during that work experience, but have since lost touch with all of them.  We had a lot of fun while not working.  We partied, played tennis, and golf, hung out on the beach, etc..

Image

I spent the millennium New Year’s Eve there at a yacht club with my family, back when my kids were very small.  Back then, trips so see my folks were all about spending time at the pool and beach with the kids.  We always have great food, as my mom is a great cook.  It’s always been a relaxing getaway.  My stepdad passed away a few years ago, so now, my mom is getting ready to sell the house.  This will be our last trip there before the house is sold.  It’s very sad to me, and kind of the end of an era.  Mom plans to continue to live there, but it just won’t be the same.

Image

So the trip is about family, and enjoying most of all.  I need a few days off from work to rejuvenate my spirit.  Running will help that!  So, on Saturday, running the inaugural Hilton Head Marathon is just what I need to celebrate and enjoy the island.  My whole family is running.  My oldest son is running his first Half marathon there.  Lance, Tanner, and Colton are running the 5k.  A family affair.  Mom will be waiting at the finish during the numerous finish times, ranging from 20 plus minutes, to under four hours.  We better pack her a lunch.

Image

Hilton Head is a beautiful island.  A great vacation spot.  It’s really a big part of my families history.  I have a ton a great, great memories from my time in Hilton Head.  I’ve run a few races there over the past few years, but this will be my first marathon there.  I am really looking forward to it.  Fingers crossed for weather that cooperates, and making more great memories with my family.

My other favorite sport

Image

Aside from running, I’d have to say that tennis is my favorite sport.  At a young age, my parents got me out on the tennis court and taught me the basics of the game.  Tennis quickly became of love of mine, that would last my entire life.

I played a lot growing up.  First, I played a great deal with my brother, who is three years older than me.  We would ride our bikes down to the High School, and hit balls whenever we had the chance.  I also was lucky enough to take tennis lessons during the long, cold winters in upstate NY.  I played for my High School team, from 8th grade on.  First I played doubles, and once I was able to compete with the older guys, I played singles.  I had a very successful High School tennis career.  I even made it to the State Qualifier tournament my last two years in school.  I also won a few Mixed Doubles tournament on a local level during my college years.

From that point on, I played a lot of recreational tennis with buddies in college, and had a blast.  Tennis is great for keeping in shape, and overall fitness.  I played USTA tennis on a local Men’s team a few seasons, until I really got into running.  Honestly, I had to stop playing tennis so much because of an issue with my elbow, that just hasn’t gone away in over 7 years now.  Surgery is really the only option I have left, so I’ve chosen to just play tennis occasionally with my sons.

Back when I was growing up, I watched a lot of tennis on TV.  Back in the days when I think professional tennis was in its heyday.  I loved watching Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe.  I am not so much a fan of the power game that tennis technology has brought into the game these days.  I loved the finesse, and angles, the net game and longevity that used to be a part of the sport.  I absolutely loved Steffi Graf!  She brought an excitement to the game, that I think was unmatched.

Image

Steffi was so much fun to watch!  She had great speed, reflexes, and nerve.  She had a hugely successful career, and still holds many records to this day.

John McEnroe was my favorite on the men’s side.  His style of play, tenacity, and on court antics were so much more fun to watch than tennis today.

Image

Maybe I am showing my age, but I prefer a tennis game that was more thoughtful than powerful.  I actually like to watch tennis players construct points, and think.  The power game today is so much less interesting.  Hitting a 140 mph ace, time and time again, short points of a shot or two or three, not thrilling.  I want to watch long rallies and really care about tennis again.  In times gone by, when a Grand Slam was on TV, I would be glued to the television, trying to watch as much as I could.  I barely watch it anymore.  It’s very sad to me.  I have no interest in watching players like Serena Williams, who rely solely on power.  That is just not fun to watch.  Not to me anyway.

I do however, have a few chances left to see some good tennis.  I am thrilled that Lleyton Hewitt, and Ana Ivanovic are still in the draw.  Great ground strokes, and fun to watch.  I will be cheering both of them on today, and wishing that tennis could return to a less powerful game.  A game where the player wins, not the racquet.

Image

Tennis, my first love, but now a close second to running.