When I joined the Air Force in 1983, my pal, who also signed up with me, and I started running to get into shape for Basic Training. I was 18 years old, and built like a miniature stick, weighing in at 123 pounds. I was probably close to being in the best shape of my life, before or since. We started out at a couple miles, and worked our way up from there. Do you know how long you had to run on your final long run in Air Force Basic Training in 1983? 1.5 miles. Yes, you read that correctly, 1.5 miles. We started at about a quarter mile run, and spent six weeks of rigorous training to work our way up to a mile and a half...
That was the last time I ran with my pal Pete.
I owned a bar in Seattle in 1994, I was 30 years old, and weighed about 175 pounds. I had a friend of my older brother (the Marathon running brother) describe me as "The Chubby One". You only have to hear that once for it to be burned into your memory forever. For Ev Ver!
I started running the next day. I ran around Greenlake about three or four days a week, and ran in some 5k or another nearly every Saturday. We ran in Beat The Bridge, The St. Patties Day Dash, The Firecracker 5000, the Falls to Gasworks Park Relay race, and a bunch of others. Jane and I started dating when I was at about 158 pounds. Best race ever, Jane and I shooting cans of Guinness at the starting line of the Firecracker 5000 at midnight, and putting in a respectable time. I still remember the blood from the cuts where I put the smashed beer cans in the front pocket of my cargo running shorts during the race. Oh yes, I was the poster child for white trash. That night was the last time I ran with my pal Paul, just over 14 years ago.
That is until last Tuesday. Pete and Paul were in town working on a couple of their rental properties. They are identical twins, two of my best friends, and it has been 14 years since I ran with one, and 26 years since I ran with the other. Jane and I stopped running after the guiness night, and didn't run again until about six months ago. Crap.
In 2009 I was 43 years old. I got an invite to join this online thing called Facebook. I had heard of it. I had made fun of it. I had made fun of my friends that were on it.
I accepted the invite, and my whole world changed. Yes I said it. You can put it in quotes. Facebook changed my life.
I started finding friends from work, from old jobs, from my military time, from high school, you name it. It is bizarre. I have typing conversations daily with people I have not seen in 25 years. Now remember, they have not seen me in 25 years either. The last time alot of these people saw my, I weighed 120 pounds. 140 pounds. 160 pounds. The day I joined Facebook I weighed give or take, somewhere in the neighborhood of two bills. I can't even say it. I have to be cute...
When I accepted the FB invite, I had recently returned from a vacation in Mexico, and like everyone else, I wanted to post pictures from my vacation. I started going through them. Crap. It was a vacation in Mexico on the beach. I am wearing a bathing suit in most of them. Hanging around the pool, walking on the beach, even sitting at the bar.
In other words... Most of these pictures of me, I'm not wearing a shirt!
That shi+ ain't going on Facebook.
As most of you who are Facebook friends of mine already know, I am pretty particular about what pictures of me go on line. Neck up, or with a shirt on. It is like my own personal company policy. No fat pictures on the Internet. Sometimes it's hard to hide it. Some vacations I return from i realize there are no other pictures available, so the standard gets lowered. That is when I started running.
First we started P90X, and I hated it. So I started filling in a couple of the morning workouts with running instead. Soon, I was running more days than I was working out. Next thing I knew, the P90X DVD's were covered in dust, and it was time for me to go out and by some running shoes that were manufactured in this decade... I'm a runner now.
Back to Tuesday night (Man, when I go off on a tangent, it can go on forever...). When Paul called me Monday and said they were in town, the very first words out of my mouth were "Dude, we gotta go for a run!" As we spoke on the phone and caught up on what was going on in each others lives, I found out he had run a 5k on Sunday in Seattle, and ran a 6:50 pace... Crap. I'm not that kinda runner...
When the boys showed up at my place Tuesday night, I was happy as hell to see them, yet a little intimidated about the run. Clearly my average 10 and 11 minute pace runs would bore the crap out of them. This may end up a little humbling. Hell, I write a blog about running. I use the sentence "I am a runner" in almost every story. These guys are going to have expectations that I can't meet. These guys think that I think... Shi+. I have stage fright.