Running Bugs

4,585…

Four thousand five hundred eighty five…

That number has no meaning without some reference, so imagine that was miles. If that was referring to a car, it’s time for an oil change. Do you think you could run that many miles? I learned recently that John Piggot ran 175-marathons, which equals to 4,585-miles of racing. Not only did he run those races, but he did them at an elite level.

Ridiculous…

In August of 1983, I thought it would be a good idea to run cross country. So with a little bit of training I met with real cross country runners to start preseason practice. The day was hot and humid, a rare occurrence for Williamsburg in August, and the plan was to run from William and Mary Hall up Jamestown Road to the Capitol in Colonial Williamsburg and then back up Richmond Road to the Hall. Let’s just say that I was ill prepared for the run, but I stuck with the team for awhile.

I hated every minute of practice. I was always last. My lungs were destroyed. My legs sore. There was a fartlek through a neighborhood behind the school that was kind of fun, but then there was the day we ran in the rain for something like five or six miles. That was it. Open gym had started for basketball and I ran for that as quickly as I could.

The other day when I was talking to John about his racing, he said, “You just have to decide to do it.” I loved that and thought about my years away from the cross country debacle. After my son told me that I looked like a whale (He was two or three…from the mouth of babes, right?…), I decided to start running. Initially, I had the same success as my high school years. The running did get easier and I came to rely on the runs for some peace and quiet. Before I stopped again, I had run ten not so fast marathons without the hatred I had for running back in the day. Even though I was doing well with my running, life changed and I went Gump and headed home.

I think the seeds of running were placed in me on that heavy August day. It just took them a long to mature. I’ve been fortunate over the years to have run a little in Williamsburg runs. I loved trail running at York River State Park. It sure beat counting deer poop in Dry Biology class. However, I miss running on DOG Street the most. I’ve run in Colonial Williamsburg a few times since I moved away and it’s so great (except for the road apples). There are the smells and for some reason the light always seems less harsh there.

After taking a ten year break from running, I think I’m ready to get back at it. I hear John saying to make a decision and adding, “You just have to work hard.” Turning forty was no big deal for me, but with fifty around the corner, the work will be much harder. Don’t look back, John, here I come.

Of course, I’m at least two hours behind you, so don’t worry too much…