Friday, April 4, 2008

Early running

No, not early in the morning, although that's usually when I get my running done. I'm talking about how running impacted me early in life. Which is to say, not much, really...

I just finished a book called Strides: Running Through History with an Unlikely Athlete, by John Cheever. (Reviewed here) It got me thinkng about the first time I ran, and what I thought of running as a kid. Outside of the standard track-and-field days at school, I can only think of two running-related things in my early life.

The first was a hat. We lived at the time in a suburb of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, and my aunt who lived near us went up to Duluth to do the Grandma's Marathon. She brought me back a hat. It was yellow with a black bill, and kind of cylindrical, like a disposable painter's cap or an old Pittsburgh Pirates setup. Anyway, I wore it proudly until it wore out a few years later, even though it probably matched nothing I owned and was the nerdiest, most unfashionable thing I ever owned. It was the early 80's and I was like 10, ok?

The other thing was a 10k. Not sure how old I was; I'm guessing 11 or 12, but I ran a 10k with my Mom. She had made it a goal for herself (way to go, Mom!) and I decided I'd tag along. The race was part of the aforementioned suburb's summer festival, which was (and still is, I see) charmingly called Stockyard Days, honoring the history of the town. At the time, I think the run was called the Iron Horse 10k, but I may be confusing it with something else. They still do the run, apparently. At any rate, the only things that I remember about it are a single training run with my Mom, learning how to breathe and pace; the taste of water from a hose at the end of the race, and my Dad telling me that my lips looked white from dehydration at the end.

And that's it. No other running memories until college. Later...

2 comments:

Gail said...

Wow, you've come a long way since that day. Way to go, son!

SnowLeopard said...

What a great story! Thank you for sharing. And in return, a running story of my own. I spent 2.5 years in Germany as a kid, and we went on Volkes-marches (sp?) almost every weekend. My dad was the enthusiast, and usually went on the longer routes while my mom and brothers and I took the shorter ones. Well, one time (around the time I was in 4th grade I'm guessing) my dad decided that we all needed to go on a 10K (didn't get the kilometers thing as a kid). It was a beautiful day, but I was one whiny kid. I was falling way behind the rest of the family, so my dad took my arm and made me run what seemed to me like a mile, but what was probably only like 100 yards. I was so tired I remember my legs feeling numb and thinking they were going to fall off, right after my lungs exploded. My second running experience (like you, I have only two before college) was in 6th grade in Louisiana when I had to run a 600 without stopping, and I was so light-headed from the heat that my vision swam and I literally couldn't feel my feet for several minutes. Dang humidity just about killed me!

Yeah for sharing stories!