TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Very First Race

Junior High, 8th grade, I wasn’t a runner.  Not that I didn’t run or wasn’t active.  I played tag, dodge ball, climbed trees.  Roller skating was a favorite.  I rode my bicycle everywhere, or I walked. Those were the days (doesn’t seem that long ago!) that I walked to the mall or the record store.  Didn’t think to ask for a ride.  I’d say that I was in okay shape for a kid.

Those were the also days when we went to P.E. every day of school.  We dressed in white shorts and white snap-up-the-front shirts.  Not my soccerfavorite class, mainly because of the required showers.  Not my favorite class for other reasons too – I hated soccer because there was too much long running.  I hated basketball because there were too many short bursts of running.  I hated track and field because there was just plain ole’ too much running.

When the annual cross country race rolled around, of course plenty of boys signed up.  No girls volunteered.  Well, our coach rode us girls day after day until she got quite a few female volunteers to run the race.  She suckered me into signing on the dotted line.  Lots of girls were running it by then though, including one of my best friends.

I don’t recall anticipating the race.  I don’t even recall the length of the race.  It could have been a 5k.  It could have simply been a mile (though I think it was probably more than a mile). 

The bad news of this cross country race began early that day when practically every single girl dropped out the before it even started.  And then my friend, she “got her period” and dropped out too.  Too my horror, just two females remained to run the race – myself and another girl named C_____, a soft spoken girl with a good twenty or more pounds on me.

Every student and teacher in the school came out to watch that sunny day.  They sat on the grass slope along the course to watch, just as I had the year prior.  Of course this year I wasn’t chatting with girlfriends or smiling at the boys running by.  This year I was painstakingly running that grassy course.  I hated every single second, it was so tough.  As the guys raced by, I wanted more than anything to quit.  But I just couldn’t.  I had given my word that I would run this dang thing, so in my mind I had to.  I looked behind to see just a few runners, I don’t know, a half dozen or so, one of them C_____.  I remember that she looked as miserable as I felt, red-faced and panting. 

I actually crossed the finish line on my very first race.  And I was pretty pissed off at my friend for “getting her period.”  I was really pissed of at my P.E. coach too.  And I was pretty certain that running was probably the most hellish thing that a person could ever put themselves through.  

That was more than THIRTY years ago. : )

3 comments:

  1. Good luck this weekend! But most important - have fun!

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  2. Thanks Glenn! I'm nervous as HECK. : )

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  3. I know your pain. I played basketball and tennis in High School. Running was our punishment....

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