The Memory of Running

I saw a book at the drug store today “The Memory of Running.” It got me thinking about how I have quite a memory of that myself. I wrote a few of mine fondly into an online diary post.

Walking through CVS today I saw this book on display and had to buy it. The title absolutely flowed through me. I have no clue what the plot is about but ever since I picked it up I have wanted to post a memory of my running here on my blog: I have many.

My dad told me in my freshman year of high school that I had to either pick a sport and compete or get a part time job. I see the wisdom in that so much now that I have a son of my own. I weighed around 100 lbs. at 5’8″ so football was out. I suppose I could have been a wrestler like my friend Kevin, he was 5’5″ and about 95 lbs. Before meets he would fast and run in plastic to sweat it off. I wouldn’t have had to do that because I never ate and I was a bag of bones. Literally you could see my ribs. I was healthy, just very gaunt. Thank goodness I finally filled out in college. I’m about 170 now, and needing to lose a spare tire. My how age changes your worries.

But back to the memory of running. I chose running X-country and track instead of getting a job. It was a wise decision. I have 4 years worth of remarkable memories stored away in my mind forever and anon. If you’ve run, you know that running is ethereal … other-worldly. One practice for X-country, we were running a 10 mile workout. Can you imagine that? It was from Mission Viejo to San Juan Capistrano and back again. The coaches ran with us but one took a car halfway and parked it beforehand so he could ride alongside us driving like horses to the destination. I would do those workouts without a thought. It was like riding on my legs. I do my treadmill now all these years later and remember how I was back then … so much endurance. I miss that, but I know it would take far more discipline than I have to get there again. In fact, it might not even be possible anymore. Back to the memory: It was almost prom and I had no date. My mom had been pressuring me like moms do to ask someone ANYONE. based on my slight frame and my somewhat immature disposition back then, I wasn’t the BMOC in the eyes of the girls. Nonetheless, I found myself staring during that workout at a freshman female. She was a friend, I was a senior. I ran up alongside her and after a few words regarding the prom, she agreed to go. I remember running faster than I ever had to finish that 10 miles.

Nothing ever came of the friendship between she and I. We had a great prom night of dancing and walking on the beach with our friends in our formalwear. I’ll leave her name out because too many people have found me through things I’ve posted and I’d rather just keep her mysterious anyway! My wife has seen the prom picture. My mom has it or I would post it. My hair was like a pompadour and her hair was like an exploding lion’s mane. Don’t you love the 80’s?

I have memories of running in so many situations now as a  dad, teacher, blogger. It’s like I wouldn’t feel as much if I hadn’t pushed back then. All I had was what I gave and as long as I did my “personal best” the coaches were happy. Great paradigm for life I think. It certainly is mine. Today was good run for me, I’m back at it after a long time away. The body reacts a little slower when I make it go fast. I think I can get it back up to pace … after a while.

Oh yeah, and I will review the book I mention when I get around to reading it. It probably has nothing to do with this post, but you never know ’til you pop the cover. I got inspired enough, just seeing it on the shelf to write my own post of the same name.

UPDATE: I wrote a song with the same title a little after this post was written. Check it out below:

Author: Damien Riley

I'm an online diarist, blog film critic, & podcaster. My views on films and life are often 'left of center' on, but I have respect for other viewpoints. I married my high-desert princess (now my queen). We have 3 children.

4 thoughts on “The Memory of Running”

  1. Very cool story! Yes, sometimes the years take a toll on us and other times, it’s like riding a bike. I can still boogie all night on the dance floor with the best of them :)Ok, really, you have to post that picture!

    Jessica The Rock Chick’s last blog post..Word Up!

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