1000 Miles

Here is the final installment of the five meme.

My mother and I started running in 1984. She did it to lose weight and I joined her. We started running races as a means to give it some goals. And we soon started running in a circuit of races organized by a running club in Chicago where you could accumulate points. At the end of the year they had a banquet and the three in each age category with the most points would get some sort of award. I wasn’t very fast at the time and didn’t manage to get an award, but I enjoyed the competition.

My interest in running continued into high school. The school had a cross-country team and I eagerly joined. I did fairly well and began to learn all the ins and outs of gaining the speed that I was lacking. The team became quite a close knit group where we spent much of our free time together. Two of my best friends are from that time. The people who run cross country were generally a bit eccentric. It took something to train that intensely then go racing in the forest through streams and patches of mud.

One representation of this madness was the tradition of the 1000 mile club at our school. In previous years occasionnally a student would complete 1000 miles over the months of June, July, and August (91 days). That’s an average of 11 miles a day. You don’t even run that much training for a marathon.

So after running the cross-country and track seasons, I decided I would attempt it during the summer of 1986. I wasn’t old enough to have a job (14 years old) and I didn’t have anything pressing to do. So 1000 miles it was. Since I had the time, I split up the mileage for the day into two or three different runs. I also used the opportunity to see the city since I didn’t want to spend endless hours doing laps around the local park. So I charted out the north side of the city (which is conveniently on a half mile grid), and systematically covered every major orthagonal street. Even with the changing landscape it got boring, so I played a game of memorizing the street names in each direction and pacing myself to the second (8-minute miles equals 1 minute per city block). So I can say now that I know the north side of the city quite well. At the beginning of the summer I was running about 7 miles a day. In order to compensate for that I needed to run about 15 miles a day at the end.

Cross-Country

Needless to say, when the cross-country season started I was in the best shape of my life. It was quite a base to start my training. Over the course of the season my times dropped dramatically. Almost two minutes for a three miles. And at the final race of the year all of that training paid off. I placed sixth out of 75 with a time of 17:02. It’s the highlight of my athletic life.

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~ by Frank on March 13, 2007.

3 Responses to “1000 Miles”

  1. […] I ran 1000 miles over a […]

  2. That’s a spectacular achievement.

  3. […] you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I used to be big into distance running from about 12 years old until about 10 years ago. And you also know that my mother runs marathons […]

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