I joined a men’s softball league this spring. A few days ago, I was at softball practice, and our team captain asked me where I played football. I presume he meant in college. He was fairly surprised when I told him I’d never played organized football at any level. He told me I looked like a linebacker – which I suspected was a compliment, but I checked...just to make sure.
Actually, I ran cross-country during my freshman year of high school, when I weighed a hundred pounds less than I do today. I ran track all four years in high school – except for my junior year, when I became a discus catcher and prematurely ended my season. After getting my shin stitched up, I went to my coach to tell him my season was over, but that I would be back for my senior year. I made good on that promise and came through with personal bests at the 400-meter and 800-meter distances.
My high school track coach even let me run the 400-meter dash at the district track meet on my eighteenth birthday. That day happened also to be Math and Science Day at an amusement park about an hour away from the track meet’s venue. After riding roller coasters in the morning and nominally discovering applied science with my AP® Honors Physics classmates, I left the amusement park a little early to head to the meet. I stayed a little longer after discovering I’d locked my keys in my car. On the whole, the story had a happy ending: I made it to the starting line on time and finished the 400-meter dash in a personal best of 56.6 seconds. Everyone else in the race smoked me by five seconds.
Now I’m working on a cheesy idea to make another comeback, of sorts, to give a happy ending to people who could really use some help. I have run eleven half marathons to date, the last of which happened well over two years ago, although I have since run a full marathon, participated on a 50-mile relay team and recently run a 15K race.
In a few weeks, I plan to team up with a friend of mine to run the Wisconsin Half Marathon. The idea is that I will aim for a two-hour finish in the half marathon, while my friend targets a four-hour finish in the 26.2-mile race. Folks can enter a contest to predict our finishing times, as well as make a pledge to help with various relief efforts around the world.
If enough pledges roll in by a week prior to the race, I will run 13.1 miles wearing a CHEESEHEAD FEZ. I’m already a Clydesdale. I can’t fathom how bulky cheese apparel will make me run faster, but if it produces funds to help our partner organization continue the good work they’re doing around the world, it’ll all be worth it.