Mar. 12, 2015

Run Like a Dog

I grew up running.  Tracktown USA baby... Nike, Steve Prefontane, the whole nine yards.  My grandparents lived on Agate Street in Eugene, just a few blocks down from Hayward Field. Grandpa was a custodian and plumber at the U of O, and both my parents went to college there.  We were there all the time - I went to kindergarten at Condon Elementary School across the street from the track when my mom went back to work and my sister and I stayed with our grandparents during the day.

 My dad was a runner, an Oregon Duck, and a track fan.  He was a contemporary of the guys who started Nike.  We went to the Duck track meets - I ushered for the Olympic Trials a couple of times back in the 70's.  I ran what was called the 440 in the Steve Prefontane invitational meet and won at Hayward.  That place was just part of our life. 

When I got old enough (5 years old), my dad took me to Willamalane Rec Center in Springfield where they had a track club.  I was a fast little runner and I also did the long jump.  There were track meets during the year for the running clubs around the area.  These were held at Hayward field on Saturdays.  They were called "all-comers" meets.  I still remember running the 50 yard dash with a giant group of 5 year olds on the grass field in the middle of the track at Hayward.  Everybody got ribbons, but of course, I always wanted the blue one and I got it most of the time.  I beat the boys too.  I especially liked that.  I usually won the long-jump too.  And so a track star was born. 

My dad was my coach.  We would go down to the track at Thurston High  and I would practice.  We also did a lot of road running up the Weyerhauser logging road just down from our house.  There were always smashed rattlesnakes on this road - the logging trucks ran over them as they made their way down from the rock quarry up the hill.  I can't tell you how many hours we spent practicing - sprints, long distance, jumping, starting, etc.  I loved it.  My dad was the best coach.  I kept running and winning AAU meets until I was in Jr. High and I pulled a hamstring muscle and grew hips.  I was still athletic but that fierce fastness was gone.  I mourned it for a couple of years and then moved on to other sports like basketball, which I played for a few months my freshman year at U of O - but that's a whole other story.I used to hold the track record for, like, 10 year olds in what used to be called the 100 yard dash at Hayward field. I'm sure some little smarty has broken that record. 

So now here I am, ready to start running again.  I have had a love/hate relationship with running as an adult.  My husband and I did a lot of running together when we were first dating  and we got to the 12 mile mark when training for a marathon a few years back before my knees gave out.  I have run with my daughter when she was training for soccer, I ran in the freezing snow after having our third son in Michigan, and I'm running again now.  My daughter-in-law has inspired me this time to train. She has been using an app and having real success training for the first time.  I've been working out since retiring, but I have found that I need a reason... and a race sounds like a good reason this time.  I missed registering for the Princess half-marathon at Disney this spring so I'm still looking for the right race and just starting to train.

This blog will be about my memories of running, as well as my current experiences training again at 55.  Oh, and the dog thing.  I'm taking our dog, Riley, with me once a week when I run. (See picture)  On these days I just give in and "run like a dog."  This means running too fast for the first few minutes, stopping periodically along the way to pee (Riley, not me), and getting off course to avoid other dogs.  I actually love the days I run with Riley.  It is hard to take yourself seriously when you are running with a cattle dog :)