Today is a big anniversary. It was on this date in 1982, that I began running. To be truthful, I had run through high school and college but only as a part of soccer practice. Even after that I had tried “running” on my own but had no staying power. No, on this date, I ran with a group for the first time.
It was late on Memorial Day evening, after having many beers with the neighborhood “men” – the dads – that the four who ran – Mr. Fisler, Mr. Moran, Mr. Lodge, Mr, Tighe – challenged any and all of the “kids” – many of whom were not longer kids, but were old enough to have been drinking all day as well - to join them at 6:00 AM the next morning for a brief run.
I stayed up with the men, until midnight or so, excused myself for the evening, set my alarm, and met them at the curb in front of Mr. Fisler’s house at 6. It was a warm, humid, grey morning. One of the men described the course for me, (should I get left behind, or want to drop out) and after a quick stretch, we were off. I stayed with the quickest of them – I forget now whom – until the last couple streets, then took off for the “win”. I wasn’t breathing hard, (it wasn't a long run, maybe a couple miles) but was quite sweaty. I thanked them for inviting me – no one else showed up – and got ready for school.
I came back again the next day.
It wasn’t until this past weekend – Memorial Day – that two significant anniversaries converged in my consciousness.
The beginning of my running “career” was the most obvious, since I have celebrated that for 23 years now. But it only occurred to me Saturday that I returned from my Mexican surf adventure 25 years ago (1981), last weekend.
I never realized that I started running only ONE YEAR after coming back. It always felt like a much longer gap between them. I guess that since I started Art School only a month or so later, and spent most of the next year basically indoors – school, work, home, studio – that I didn’t notice the passage of time; making it feel so much longer. I also now see how the 12 months of work and school and the partying in between, aided me to gain nearly 25 pounds since coming back.
“I couldn’t have possibly gained twenty five pounds in only one year.”
Well, I guess I did; which is another reason that I started running. I was no longer the Surfer Randy that the girls in high school and college adored. I was regressing back into Chubby Geek Randy, and I didn’t want that. Being in Art School with dozens of cute chicks, the pudge had to go. So I vowed to get back in shape the first chance I got.
Surfer Randy retired; Runner Randy was born. June 1, 1982.
Happy Birthday, me.
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