|This is a post that I originally wrote back on March 4, 2012 and was an important one for me.
|I am number 72 with the black watch cap and “old school” nylon warm-up suit. (Go straight up from the word Starts).|
I was doing some early spring cleaning today and came across this old newspaper clipping of a race that I ran back on January 1, 1979 (Yeah a long time ago).
I am pretty sure I remember where I finished in this race – last — at least I never saw anyone behind me.
This was the only race in my life I have ever finished last. As soon as I finished I kept running to my car and drove away as fast as I could. I didn’t take my finishers tongue depressor – I just kept going, I was too embarrassed about who I had become and what had just happened to do anything else.
I was 21 years old, single, lonely and trying to drown the weight of the world, in ways that were unhealthy and looking back very self-destructive.
The reason for my last-place finish was too much beer, booze, bad food, too many nights at Bobby Byrne’s Pub and the Holiday Inn – all this had gotten me fat and way out of shape (no drugs or tobacco – I never did those). This race was going to be my attempt to go ahead and jump-start my fitness program. A way to start building-up my self-esteem.
It didn’t help very much in that respect.
Unfortunately, instead of motivating me to do things differently or building up my self-esteem, this race had the opposite effect. I wallowed even worse in self-pity and continued down my path of self-destructive behaviors for a few months after this race.
With a little help
Thankfully, a couple of my good friends (Rick and Kim), along with LT Perry & LTJG Currier took an interest in getting my ass straightened out. I did and eventually decided to make a career of the Coast Guard. Doggy Moore gave me this clipping as a reminder, after I had cleaned myself up. I have kept this newspaper clipping to remind me of both that low point in my life and how lucky I was to have had others to support me, through this dark period of my life.
While I have raced some and run a lot since this race, something died in me that day and I never really got it back. When it comes to running an organized race, getting to submitting the race application or showing up the day of the race became very difficult and I would find reasons to not go to a race – if I could. Once I was at a race I was fine, but getting me to sign-up or show-up is something that I have always found difficult ever since that day – old memories die-hard.
What memories mean to me
It is amazing the feelings that an old newspaper clipping can bring out in you and help you to realize something very important about your life and yourself. I failed terribly (in my mind back that day) and how I let it affect me negatively for so many years. Even those years I was running good, in the back of my mind, when I submitted that entry form or to get to a race races I always thought back to this day when I had finished last – (even if I knew I wouldn’t finish last) and it scared me.
I didn’t need much of an excuse to bail on a race and did so many times over the years.
I have learned not all running injuries are physical and sometimes the emotional injuries are the most difficult to recover from.
The reality is that
Memories – some of them are painful, some are good, but they all are a part of who we are. This is one of those more painful memories for me and reminds me of a part of my life that I am not very proud of. However, it is one that I am glad to say, that I have finally gone beyond.
Different Person today
I am a different person/runner now and many of the demons that pursued me that day – have been faced and vanquished. While that person in this picture is me – it is a different me, who is just a memory, not who I have become and enjoy being.
I hope that you don’t mind my excising another demon from my past, but it was one of those posts that was and still is important to me – a reminder of how far I have come over the years and that we all have things in our past that affect how we think about things today, but that we can overcome those demons and have a great life in spite of them!
- I wonder how many people in this picture are still running? I am glad that I am.
- If you know of anyone who ran in the late 70’s in Falmouth, Mass, who might have been in this race, take a good look at the clipping or send the photo to them.
- It would be great to hear from anyone who was at this race and what they remember about it and where they are in the picture.