When I think back to high school, I fancy that I was a runner. So, I found my high school records and looked up my times. The shocking reality (to me, at least) is that during my sophomore year, I was a runner, indeed. The rest of the time, I guess I just ran some? It was a sad realization that I took my running seriously for only one year.
After perusing the Venice High School Cross Country record books from 1993, I remember much more clearly now. All Boys’ Cross Country races were three miles in that day and in the first race of the year, the grueling Venice Invitational, I bonked (hit the wall), finishing with a 20:35 and sixth on the team. I was embarrassed and relegated to JV for one race and that’s when I began to take the season seriously. Over the course of the next eight weeks, I cut a little more than three minutes off my time, to finish with 17:33, a 17:28, then in my last Cross Country race ever, I set a personal record (PR) of 17:24, or 3 miles at a 5:48 per mile pace.
After my sophomore year, I unceremoniously quit. Friends, girlfriends and my job were all more important to me at the time. Our high school had a fairly good reputation for distance runners, including the state Cross Country record holder (14:05 – crackhead time, if you ask me). I was less than one minute shy of making the all-time VHS Cross Country team and I had two more years of school and puberty in which I could accomplish this feat. Alas, likening myself to Cher, if I could turn back time…
For months now, I’ve been running a comparatively pedestrian 5K at 21:42 (6:59 per mile pace). I have, however, adjusted my standards and expectations for the old-man I have become, complete with a smattering of grey hairs. Today is exactly one month away from my 30th birthday and there is nothing to do here but look forward and set expectations based on the present. My first goal in this brave new world of mine is to see if I can break 21 minutes on a 5K and I’ll put that to the test this Saturday in Tallahassee. There’s a trail run at Wakulla Springs State Park, which may be a slow course but I’m ready for the challenge. Wish me well.
Again, thank you to all who have contributed to my Marathon Challenge or cheered me on thus far. It’s thrilling in that we’ve raised nearly $1,100 for such a great cause – it’s a little daunting, however, $1,100 is less than half way the $2,620 goal. If you can sponsor a mile, great – please click on the Marathon Challenge Website and reserve your mile. Certainly, every bit will help, so donate what you can if you can. Again, thank you so much for all the support and encouragement so far.