This has little to do with playwrighting or children’s theatre. I didn’t ask KMR Scripts if it was okay for me to write about this– but I’m just going to go ahead and do it. In a way, EVERYTHING affects my playwrighting, so….
I grew up in the shadow of a Track star. My older brother, Jeff, was a really good runner in High School. He won races and broke records. His nickname was RATS (backwards for STAR). I would see him get up and go running in the mornings, I’d see him win his races at Track and Cross Country meets. He got a scholorship to run in college. He was right below Dad in my eyes (who, in turn, was right below God). I listened to ever word he told me about running and training.
“Don’t smoke.” “Don’t do drugs.” “Thee weeks to build it– 3 days to lose it.” “Fartlek.” “Attack the hill.” “You’re only hurting yourself.”
I remember getting up before school and meeting a neighborhood buddy to run 4-5 miles each morning during Jr High school. I remember being bored on a hot (for northern Indiana) afternoon and running the 5-6 miles to our church and back, just for something to do. I remember countless runs along countless country roads during my High School years. I was on the Cross Country squad in the Fall and I was a hurdler, high jumper, and mile/2 mile relay leg during Track season.
Then during my college years, I transformed into a casual runner. I played a lot of racquetball, basketball, and swimming, so I only went running when I found myself lacking in physical activity– or getting ready for a 5K or 25K road run. I could go a month without running and jump into a 25K run. I didn’t win– but I didn’t walk any of it and I wasn’t last. At 6 feet- one inches, I weighed about 165 lbs.
After college, I was performing all the time and that keeps you in great shape. I hit thirty and with that came the obligatory “spare tire” around the gut (I had gained perhaps 20 lbs since my college days– so it wasn’t THAT bad). I couldn’t afford to join a gym, so the easiest exercise I could manage was, again, running. Running through downtown Wichita was nothing like running the country roads of Indiana or Missouri. It was there that I heard the words that still ring in my ears to this day. Of all my running memories, this is the one that I remember, this is the one that made me stop running: “Yeah, you run off that gut, fatso!”
I haven’t run since. Until today.
Poor, poor, pitiful me.
I’m now up to 230 lbs. High blood pressure, high cholesterol– ‘course those are mostly due to my heredity. I tried dealing with them through execise and diet– but nothing helped but prescriptions. I don’t do much physical activity. I’ll play basketball or four-square with the kids– but that’s about it. I sit at a computer all day long.
I’m experiencing the usual “blahs” that fifty year-old guys have: chronic fatigue, chronic sleep deprivation, minor depression, lethargy, winded just by walking up stairs. I’m a joy to be around. Ha.
Within the last year or so, I started thinking about running again. I have a cousin, Chris, that I remember ran during Jr high/high school years. He was the most dedicated runner I ever met– though he wasn’t a “star.” He ran his butt off. Forty years later, he’s still running. He has the same heredity as I. I’ve even begun dreaming about running. That tells me that I should begin running again. So, today I did.
Every day I run, I’ll be entering a post. Partly to motivate me to run (you’ll know if I slack off), and partly to help me get new memories stuck in my head so I can forget the one I have now.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011 6:30 am
Ran the neighborhood loop (1 mi). I say ran– I ran/walked. Actually, I walked/ran. Ha. I could feel the old feelings of muscles working, balance centering, rhythmic breathing, etc. Afterwards, I felt the tingle in my muscles and my feet as though they were saying, “Oh, I remember this!” The 5-10 people I passed in their yards or in cars all waved politely or said “good morning.” I think this is a good neighborhood to start up in again.
Cousin Chris, and Coach Sellers (my ol’ track coach) would be proud.