One of my clearest memories is flipping thru a photo album and seeing photos of my father running. Not just running but RUNNING. Short shorts, no shirt or only a vest, sweat beading…Running. His sport was track and field in high school and then earned a scholarship to college for his excellence.
Third from the right, front row is my father with the rest of the 1969 University of North Texas Team (photo from the digital archives of the Yucca, the UNT yearbook)
I know that his running continued through his time in the US Marine Corps too…though that may be an understatement considering how much running those corpsmen/women do…far too much for the dead! Anyway, I know that there is at least one photo I remember of him racing in a USMC singlet, most likely a battalion ‘team’.
I also know that there was more than once when I was growing up that I wanted to go run with him and he never let me. I was always hurt by this leaving of me behind but I justified his doing so because I was a)not long legged like him, b) not in shape to run with him, c)any other reason I could convince myself of. I don’t know that he ever knew how much I really wanted to run with him.
In 7th grade, I ‘joined’ the middle school track team and signed up for the 3200m (2 miles). Because, you know, my father ran long distances so I can show him how much I am his daughter and make him proud of me and he can come to my meets and be proud of me…yeah. After a week or so of ‘practice’, we had our first meet and I ran…for about 200yds with the pack and then had to walk because I gave myself such a horrible side stitch and was THAT ill-prepared for the race. I also broke one of the rules of running by staying in the inner lane as I was lapped and lapped and lapped again. I was so embarrassed and only saved by two things #1: My family wasn’t there to see my abject failure. More specifically, I mean my father; and #2: One of the guys, G, an 8th grader who had already ran the race, who I barely knew from passing in the hall and at the door to band class, re-entered the track with me and encouraged and wheedled me to jog along with him for the last 2 laps. He stayed with me the entire way and pushed me to keep going. I don’t think that I ever could have thanked him enough. I would still send him a card today if I knew where he was.
After that fiasco, my knees were hurting so much for the next week that I didn’t return to practice again and didn’t actually attempt to run until just a few years ago when wholeheartedly embarking on my weight-loss/health building journey.
I found my passion.
After years of saying that I hated to run and that it wasn’t for me, turns out that it was all along. Which is pretty funny considering my sister has always hated running. Weird because she LOVED soccer when in High School but she always said that she hated the running part. She said that about hating that part in Volleyball too, even though it was just the warm-ups. My brother, K, just professed to me yesterday that HE too dislikes running. While talking to him the other day he declared ME to be the runner of my fathers children and promised to cheer very loud and be very proud of me.
Why would he cheer and be proud of me?
Because in 204 days and some odd hours from today, I’m going to start running in a big race.
SisuGirl is now Registered
for Honolulu Marathon.
I have a training plan, I have races along the way to keep me going and I have a goal. That and some good shoes.
Here we go.
PS: To my HS friends: I was serious about sending G a card. If you know where I can find him, please let me know!