Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Looking Back

Like many of you, I'm sure, we're sometimes asked what got you started in running or biking or why do you enjoy it so much? My answer most often goes back to my father while I was growing up. I'm the oldest of five boys and we were brought up in the country near Dubuque, on the Mississippi. At a rather young age, about once a month, my Dad would take us out into the middle of the Mississippi River, have us swim to shore, then bike for 10 miles, and finish with a 5 mile run home. I found I really liked the biking and running but the hard part was for us to get out of the rock-filled, burlap bags in order to swim!

Truthfully though, I did get to thinking back to my younger days, growing up outside of Dubuque, Iowa. The impetus was several of the podcasts to which I'd been listening were dealing with nostalgia or the guests being interviewed were from an era of running that I remember during my progression from track to road to trails.

Podcasts like Elevation Trail's Christmas episode on nostalgia, or Marathon Talk's interview with Pete Pfitzinger or Ultrarunnerpodcast's interview with Frank Bozanich. All very interesting to me as I now realize that because of my longevity in this sport, I have become one of "the old guys" and can relate to references of past runners or training schemes because I lived through them! I think back to who made the covers of Runner's World or The Runner magazines.

Other podcasts that I'm taking in currently help promote a healthier style of life. Changes in recommended nutrition plans, sleep patterns, or outdoor living, in general. Without realizing what he was doing, my father was establishing a healthy lifestyle for our family in the 1960s and '70s.

He found a farm in the hills outside of Dubuque where we rented a house and orchard. There was also a farming operation and home on the same property. We were able to buy raw milk for our daily consumption and made homemade butter. We were able to get out regularly and volunteer with some chores like baling hay or herding cattle. Dad had us work in the orchard or in the rather large vegetable garden we kept every summer. This provided a definite advantage of keeping my brothers and I "grounded".

The property was very diverse, with a farm pond stocked with bass and bluegill or an occasional catfish. There was a stocked trout stream that flowed through some of the back acreage. There was a rock quarry where I hunted for fossils and woods where we could hunt rabbits and squirrels. The woods also provided blackberries and raspberries, wild cherries, and morel mushrooms every spring. We would sled the hills in winter and hike the woods in summer.

Quite a few advantages when I look back but I felt isolated at that time. It seemed that I had only a handful of close friends and I spent a lot of solitary time when hiking or hunting. Perhaps this is some of what allows me to enjoy long periods of training alone now.

Much more rambling than I typically allow myself. Now it's time to go out and run.

1 comment:

  1. I think the hottest I have ever been on a run was in July in Dubuque. Alternatively I think the coldest I was ever on a run was on a run in Dubuque in January.

    By the way I was noticing your PR times on your sidebar. Did you split that 5k enroute to the 10k? ;)