First Time

First Time

First Time

When was your “first time?” No, not that! Karen and I have been to a couple social gatherings lately. At each, as sort of a game, questions were posed: When was your first date/kiss? What was your first car? And so on.

Since there were few runners “playing” the game, only later did I consider my own “first” questions: When was my first run? Where was my first race? And more. Thinking about them has brought fond memories, even if I did have to dig back a few decades or more. Do you remember your running “firsts?”

My first run came in 1975. I hadn’t run track or cross country in high school or college; I was busy chasing the balls—baseballs, footballs, basketballs—when I was younger. After college and getting married, I found myself getting home a couple hours before Karen each day. One day, perhaps a bit concerned or even feeling guilty about the 30 or so pounds I had added since my college playing days, I went out for a run to do something about the weight. I distinctly remember strapping on the Davy Crockett wrist watch my favorite Aunt Dolly had given me maybe 20 years before. Using Davy, I ran out a narrow trail behind our apartment for about 5 ½ minutes. I turned around and came back—out-and-back, eleven minutes. It was tough, but I don’t remember the succeeding days, although I obvious kept at it.

About five years later, I was ready for my first long run; at least I thought it was long. I had it planned out, seven miles down a country road near our house. Karen and I had been out the night before (I remember the restaurant/hall!) and I mentioned my plan to some of my buddies. “Seven miles?” They thought I was crazy. Well, I went out the next morning and arrived home, none the worse for the wear. I don’t recall it being particularly strenuous. But, perhaps a testament to my pack-rat personality, I still have the lined windbreaker I ran in that day.

My first race was the 1986 West Bloomfield Half Marathon. Now, who runs a half marathon for a first race? Well, I did. But what did I know? So much that my second race was an 18-miler a few weeks later at the now defunct Chai Runs, also in West Bloomfield. I don’t remember my times, only that I finished and was pleased.

1986 was also the year of my first marathon. I knew nothing about marathon training, merely running lots of miles. Youth (well, relatively speaking), athletic ability, and those “lots of miles” allowed me to finish without much trouble, I remember. In fact, I came home and mowed the lawn (not with a tractor, but by hand!) later that afternoon. Again, what did I know?

I’ve been lucky. In those 30+ years, I’ve only had two injuries that have temporarily curtailed my running. And one of those wasn’t from running, but from playing with my grandson. The other, and the first, injury came a month or so after that first Free Press. Figuring I had some conditioning left, I ran the Williamston Half Marathon two weeks later. My left knee ached and ached afterward, causing me to stop running. From being around the ball sports, I feared the worst, cartilage problems. I was somewhat relieved to get medical advice that diagnosed Ilio-tibial Band Syndrome and, likely, that a little rest and a lot of stretching would fix things just fine. They did and I was running again almost before I knew it.

Yes, these “firsts” have brought back some good memories, ones I’ve really enjoyed reliving. What about your running firsts? Are they as much fun for you to recall?