2010.02.17 Once a runner, never a runner

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I visited with a friend from high school recently whom I had seen maybe only once or twice since we occasionally bumped into one another at college.

He asked if I was still running.

Still running, I thought to myself. That implies that I was once a runner. I was never a runner. Not really. I could recall wanting to be a runner and trying to be a runner, but I never liked it all that much.

I don’t recall how I answered his question other than saying that I wasn’t running, but it did get me to thinking about my life as a runner.

I suppose it began on Cawley Road when Susan Webster’s dog, Pepper, would chase us around her house. I was terrified of that little dog. I’m guessing that if a person would have suddenly turned and yelled and Pepper would have skedaddled in the other direction, but I never thought of that at age six.

On a safe run, I would leave Susan’s front porch and make it all the way around to the back without spotting the little Devil Dog. Most times he would be encountered halfway around. I would suddenly reverse course, with those little teeth gaining on me all the way up the steps and onto the low brick wall.

In my junior year of high school I went out for track and became a half miler. That was in the days of Mr. Ritsema, who trained us by making us hold onto a T-bar attached to the rear of his car.

I won my race occasionally. I think I placed third at the league meet or maybe it was the county meet. Was I that good? Probably not. I got in the slow heat at the regional competition and missed a trip to the state meet by a second or so.

That was the closest I became to becoming a runner. I’ve been in the slow heat ever since.

Before leaving for college I bought a pair of Puma running shoes. They were the latest thing. The Bryner boys were with me when I made the purchase—I must have gotten a ride to the big city with them for shopping—and Jim thought it was rather ridiculous. He already had a year in college and knew those things were not needed. [Note of interest: Everybody, I mean everybody, wears “running shoes” now. Very few of us did in 1968.]

I don’t remember ever running in college except in the required gym class.

I was soon to enter my bicycling era (sort of running on wheels), but when I moved downtown in Portland, Ore., I bought another pair of running shoes. I even went out running in them half a dozen times, perhaps.

When I returned to Morenci, I might have run along the creek path a few times. Maybe I was just frantically searching for Ben who was overdue from a hike.

My wife and I try to be walkers now, and sometimes we run a 100-yard stretch of the 400 yard loop. (No, we haven’t completed our metric conversion).

I was on a massage therapist’s table recently (man, she really knows how to hurt a guy) and she asked about my exercise. I told her I walk and I run up and down the stairs.

I explained the latter activity was intentional. I really run up and down the stairs. It’s great exercise. I don’t know if I would really classify it as running. It’s just repeatedly climbing and unclimbing stairs.

She was asking because of the word “run.” Very hard on the body, she said. Maybe she was sizing me up for return visits because she does a lot of work smoothing out the bodies of runners.

I don’t know if she meant it this way, but I took her words as sage advice: Running is hard on the body.

I put her words to practice immediately. I still won’t become a runner.

  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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