>> Monday, January 12, 2009
Pharmie has said for a while that I need to tell this little story. She says, “Everyone thinks you’re so speedy, but you started off not knowing what the heck you were doing.” Here’s how I started running.
I ran the mile for the “Presidential Physical Fitness Test” in Phy Ed during my first semester of High School (Fall 1995). I was the first to finish, but it was a deplorable time. I hit the line and knew I was about to die. Right behind me was a new friend, Tim, who was currently out for cross country. He told me, “Not bad Steve. You should come out for track in the spring.”
I thought about it. I had never been part of a team. I played 2 summers of tennis in middle school, and about a month of basketball in 5th grade. I thought I’d give track a whirl.
But I’m no dummy. I wanted to be “ready” for the first day of track practice. So sometime over Christmas break (around New Year 1996), I went out for my first training run. I thought, “I think I’ll run to the corner and back.” Now, I grew up in the middle of nowhere on a tiny gravel road, so for all you know, “the corner” could have been a mile or more away...
The first day of track practice rolls around, and Coach puts me in a group of other newbies. “You guys: head down 22, go around the golf course, and come back. That’s 2 miles.” Ummm, AROUND the golf course? TWO MILES? Coach, you’re insane.
On that first 2 mile run, I got half way through (to the far corner of the golf course) before I had to stop and walk. I was still ahead of a sophomore, so I was pretty proud of that. Over that last mile home, I think I stopped to walk about 5 times. But I made it back to the school.
One official workout down, with no idea how many thousands of workouts lie in my future.
Here was the team photo from that time in my life (my freshman year of track: 1996):
Sweet. I forgot we broke our H.S. indoor record.
One last newspaper clipping from the next cross country season (my last season as a runner). Here are the sibling pairs out for CC from our small high school:
The rest, as they say, is
The Moral? We sometimes need to step back and take a look at the big picture. We get too caught up in the necessity of smaller victories: How was this 5K slower than my last? Why did that run feel so tough when it seemed like a walk in the park 3 weeks ago? Etc, etc. We don’t look far enough back to see where we’ve come from. So step back and take a look at YOUR big picture.
What does your “big picture” say? Mine says this:
I can remember: When a 1/4 mile run was the workout to prepare me for a whole season. When a 2 mile run was a worse fate than death. When I was nothing but hair and glasses.
If you have an embarrassing photo and story from when you started running / swimming / biking / tri-ing, post it on your blog and let me know. I LOVE hearing self-deprecating stories and photos from when we were all newbies! In fact, in about a month, I think I’ll officially hold a contest for the “Best Newbie Story & Embarrassing Photo Combo” on my blog. So dig up that first 5K photo, or your first triathlon where you wore your bike helmet backward, or when you started swimming with braces and glasses that took up your entire face, etc, etc. There will be more to come on a blog-wide contest, with the winner determined by votes from the public! Ooh, this should be FUN!!
In the meantime, remember where you’ve been. Remember where you’ve come from. We’ve all come so very far. Never lose sight of that!