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Once upon a time runner...

Foreshore: Port Philip Bay
I took up running when I was 15 years of age. My school always held an annual cross country along the shoreline of Port Philip Bay and I took to that, loved it and kept on running.

We had an amateur athletics club and would compete variously at the local athletics track or tour to run at other venues.

I was sentenced to the 880 yards and one mile events.

Once I was forced to do the walk and hated it. I kept being disqualified.

Unfortunately while we may have had a team there was no organised training. That was supposedly something you worked out for yourself. The advantage with that was that I ran as an option.

Just ran.
Methinks I'm channeling Forrest Gump but my momma never said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." She said nothing like that ever....
I'd take off and run the foreshore of Port Philip Bay. I could run the sandy beaches where they existed or take to the path through the  tea tree scrub where that clung to the ridges. For variety I'd sprint up and down the steep paths that ran down to the beach.
Note:Click on images for enlarged view.
That was my version of sand hill running.

I ran these shores
Often I'd run with my dog.

I was enamored enough to get into running lore and read all of Percy Cerutty and Herb Elliot's  memoir, The Golden Mile. At the time it was during Australia's distance running ascendancy  with Ron Clarke setting the bar. My habits and studies formatted a certain Spartan idealism that kept me on two running legs for several years.

Arthurs Seat
But when I left school the running ceased and I wasn't to take it up again until 1978 -- 10 years later.

This was in the throws of the jogging boom and I ran for most of the next seven years. I'd run all over Melbourne, especially Royal Park skirting the zoo,  and later across the Mornington Peninsula -- up Arthur's Seat and to Cape Schanck and  back. I'd also run to and from my shifts at work or to football fields where I was serving as a team trainer, patching up the jocks when they got too macho and hurt themselves out on the field.

Arthurs Seat and Cape Schanck : Mornington Peninsula.
(Click on image to enlarge view)

I never competed. Never had a desire to.

During this time I was doing a lot of bush walking -- trekking -- and took up canoeing --  especially in the Victorian Alps.

Favorite mountain: Mt Howitt

My last burst of run run running was in early 1985 in Sydney where I'd take off every day in the Middle West suburbs and run to Balmain or into the CBD.

I then fell ill that year with Fibromyalgia and my world changed... It, as they say, took a turn for the worst. 

So there. The circle turns. And I never though it would: I'm back running: 27 years down the track. Twenty kilograms heavier. Crippled. Aged and grey haired. And running on sandals.

But I'm running the beaches, again.

I'm not so fit that I'm running 'for fun' ... not yet anyway. But after today's decent 5 kms I am confident that I can make a go of this, again. 

Wow. I am mightily impressed with the possibility. I never thought I'd be doing this especially when you consider that seven  years ago I was walking with a cane and I still spend a good too many days in bed.

Running, more than anything else, registers how far I have come, despite ... despite everything that is wrong with me.

I must be doing somethings right.

That I have taken up running on impulse without any thought to the engineering required is strange given my penchant to plan my , what we used to call, activities of daily living -- ADL. The clincher was a simple convergence: a $19.99 pair of plastic sandals (remainders) which enabled my feet on sand and in sea water. 

No blisters. No lacerations. No stubbed toes.

Only wet feet.

After two years of footwear experiments and forays into this and that , seeking a shoe I could comfortably walk the tidal flats in,  I finally get shod to suit.

Makes me want to embrace a new hobby: shoe fetishism.
There's a sweet irony in the fact that the next dance I'm  teaching 'my' Urban Soul Line Dance Class will be Cupid's Do it With Your Boots On. In typical Zydeco fashion you gotta run with risque, double meaning, lyrics. and 'do it' -- dance that is. Maybe run....


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