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I Know I Can!

-Jeff Curtis, Chief Executive Officer

When I first stepped on that treadmill last fall, I was like the Little Engine that Could, with "I think I can, I think I can" echoing in my head. I've done a lot of things in my life, and I've been pretty athletic. But I've never been a runner. And somehow I had promised that I would run the first-ever Rock 'n' Roll Portland Half Marathon, and I hadn't just promised my family or the staff at the Rose Festival . . . I had said it to a blogger at The Oregonian!

First I had to get through the 2011 Rose Festival, one that as usual was very busy, but even moreso because of my role with the revamped CityFair Committee, helping plan an event that had basically been transformed from top to bottom. As usual I need a little time to rewind and re-connect with my family afterward, and then it was back to work, starting the planning for another season. Time flew by, and I hadn't started any training (which people seemed to love to remind me).

Getting more and more confident!

Finally my close colleague and friend, Chief Operating Officer Marilyn Clint, took me aside and said she had a plan. She emailed me a detailed schedule for getting on the treadmill. She wouldn't even let me think about running outside until I had logged enough hours moving in one place.

It was boring, and it was a little maddening, but it worked. My wind and my legs started to develop, and I was ready to really get moving!

The Rose Festival teamed up with a new health and fitness social media site called HubbubHealth.Com, and I was assigned a couple of coaches, one to design a running plan and one to work on my overall fitness. I decided my journey to run could serve as an example to other guys like me--busy men with young families and demanding jobs who may have come to believe they didn't have the time or the energy to tackle a long run. If I could do it, so could they!

It didn't go perfectly. I loved actually hitting the streets outside, but I had a little problem with my foot when I was on a run in Pasadena over New Year's. I ended up having to get a more appropriate pair of shoes, and the great folks at Fit Right NW got me squared away.

Me, a health and fitness spokesperson!!

You know what? I can now run ten miles at a time. I've already run in two organized events; I did the 8k in the Shamrock Run and the 10k in the Race for the Roses a couple weeks ago. And just five weeks from now, I'll do a little more than 13 miles! I'm already imagining what May 20 will be like, when I'm one of 15,000 runners to participate in the first ever Rock 'n' Roll running event in Portland!

Y'know what? I can't wait. Do I have any doubts left about completing the course? Absolutely not.

I know I can!

If you'd like to support the Rose Festival by donating to my fund raising page, I'd sure appreciate it. I work for the Best Festival in the World, and I want every mile I log on May 20 to make a difference! Thank you!