As I've mentioned probably way too many times already, today was a rest day. Consequently I slept in til 8:00 a.m. It was glorious. Although I predict that perhaps I'll want to relive the gloriousness tomorrow morning and have a hard time getting up for my run. But it's supposed to rain all weekend so it should be just as chilly and miserable later in the morning as it would be early in the morning. My alma mater opens its Pac-10 season this weekend and I'd like to see that game, so as long as I'm done by 3 PM I'm good. Go Cougs!
Since there's nothing to talk about as far as actual training goes, I thought I'd write about me. What better, more interesting subject than that, eh? Seriously tho, since I've added a column about my race times -- which are incredibly, incredibly SLOW -- it occurred to me that some people might be wondering why I'm bothering. Or why I ever decided to start running in the first place. Well, I'll tell you.
I was a typically active kid up until junior high. That was the year we moved from Seattle to a suburb outside of Seattle. I don't make friends easily, and it didn't help that -- compared to our old house, across the street from an elementary school and five blocks from the junior high and high school -- we'd moved to BFE. Add in that I hadn't wanted to move in the first place, our house wasn't even built when we moved so my mom and I lived in a camper trailer for the first three months of school, part of that time in a trailer park nowhere near our house, AND puberty had just started. Well, I was not a happy camper.
On top of all that, my new junior high -- in fact, our school district in general -- was good at only one thing: Running. This was 1982. In the 1980s, my high school girls' cross country team had three state titles and two runner's up. It's considered one of the all-time greatest girls' cross country programs in the state. Consequently, not only did all of the PE at my JH believe that they could find the next Prefontaine if only they tried, they were determined to find the female Prefontaine. Remember, 1984 was the first year women were allowed to run the marathon at the Olympics, hosted that year by the U.S. in Los Angeles.
I came from an urban school. We had concrete. My only running to that point was done on a playground or home to be in by dark. I moved to trees and dirt. Every single day we had PE and every single day we ran. At least a half mile. Through the woods on a trail with lots of twists and turns and tree roots. One Friday we'd do a mile, the next Friday we'd do 2.1 miles. Who knew about shoes then? More specifically, who knew about shoes for a 12 year old in PE class? I think I had a pair of Nikes, but more likely something really, really cheap and flimsy. And remember that part earlier, about starting puberty? Hello, I am the CilleyGirl and I have breastage. Serious, substantial breastage. By sixth grade I was already a B cup. By the end of high school I was a C cup. Worse than shoes, who really knew about sports bras in 1982? In particular, who knew about sports bras for junior high girls in 1982? The damn things were only invented in 1977, for pete's sake.
So here's where we are so far: New school, no real shoes, breastage with no real bra, running trails and track when I've never run really at all, weekly distances of between 3 and 4 miles in a 50 minute class that was never the same time every day (we had a rotating schedule; you could be doing this at 7:30 a.m. and then sweaty and gross all day long), and -- least we forget -- PUBERTY. Oh, and running wasn't all we did in PE. Oh no. Except for the Fridays when we did the 2.1, running was just the warm up. Then you got to go embarrass yourself with flag football, basketball, whatever. Plus you still had to change clothes. All of this in a 50 minute class.
I learned very quickly to absolutely detest running (PE in general, actually, but let's focus on running). Which is sad, because I'd actually liked running before that. But being forced to run every single day, that I didn't like.
I figured out two years later, on the very last day of PE class at that junior high, why I hated running (although all of it didn't come together for me until much later). See, the thing is, I'm not a sprinter. Among other things, I have breastage. Living with a smoker probably wasn't helping. Except for the hurdles, which I was actually good at, I am not fast. At all. But on the last day of my last junior high PE class, we ran a 2.1. For some reason, I decided that I didn't want to drag along at the back of the pack and bitch and moan with my friends about how much we hated running and that Mr. H was really evil incarnate (he is). I decided that I would try to run the damn thing. I remember part of my thinking was that I'd have more time to clean up for class. It may have been that that particular PE class was the last class I'd ever take at that junior high.
The point is, I ran. I remember Mr. H being shocked as he shouted out encouragement to me. I remember being shocked when, after about the first mile, I suddenly felt like I could keep going. Forever. My first runner's high.That was when I realized I wasn't a sprinter. I was a distance runner. No wonder I hated running in PE where the emphasis was 98% on short distances and fast times. As long as I got past the first mile, I could keep going and going and going. I remember feeling a little resentful about a PE program where that kind of realization would probably never come for anyone other than completely by accident.
And then I finished the run, packed up my gym clothes, and went on with my day, basically to never run any sort of distance again. Until January 2009, nearly 25 years later.
But that's a post for another day.