Sunday, August 5, 2007

Where it all Began...

It all started about 25 or so years ago. I ran. I ran because I was pretty good at it. I ran so I could escape. I ran because if I failed, I could only let myself down. In retrospect, I have to say that I was a very lucky person back then. Most kids (and adults) don't run "correctly". Their form is too forward, they heel strike, their arms are all over the place. I was lucky.... I had Mike Manley (one of Bowerman's elite runners) coach me as he was a teacher at my school. He worked with all of us on our form so that we at least had that going for us. The rest was up to us to put in the work.

I grew up in Track Town USA. Don't let Indianapolis or any other city fool you. Mike coached me for 2 years, then I had the fortune of beig coached by Steve McChesney (the McChesney family is the first family of track). I lived only 1/4 mile up the road from Alberto Salazar. I used to see him run all the time. Mary Decker (Tabb) Slaney did her workouts right near the SEHS track on the Amazon trail. Brad Hudson (coaching out of Boulder) was a teamate of mine. Eric Peterson (UCLA XC and distance coach) ran with me when we took second place at the AAU Junior Olympics in San Antonio. I met Steve Scott when he was in his prime at a Prefontaine Classic meet. Athletics West had all the elite runners in the US. Oh, and there was this guy Phil and his partner Bill that came up with this idea that became Nike. Eugene knows running.

I lettered every year in HS (South Eugene, 1986) in cross country and in track. I went to state twice in XC, but never in track. Looking back now knowing what I know today, I was a fool. I loved running the 800, but I just did not have the speed to be great at it. When I ran road races, I was always top 3-5 in my age group for the three years I was running XC. I should have been in the longer races (3000 meters), but my coach let me do what I wanted to do. I wish he would have sat me down and told me "look, your talent is in the longer distance. Give it a try at least." Sorry Steve... but as I said, I only let myself down. I have no regrets, just that morbid curiosity of "what if..."

After HS, it was off to the military (USN) for a while. I never ran much for a very long time. Even when I was coaching high school track in Washington for a few years, I didn't run much. And of course, I had 3 runners go to state in the 800 over 2 years... I may not have been fast, but I knew how to run the race. I knew how to coach it. I owe a lot of what I learned to all those that were a part of my life growing up.

To all of you who coached me and formed this obsession with running, I thank you.

1 comment:

Roseann Howell said...

We are all proud of you. I hope you make #1. I hope you find the right combo for your feet. It looks painful. I wish I could do an 1/8th of what you are doing. Great job!
I look forward to seeing your progress.