The first time I looked at my belt buckle as it disappeared under my not-so-flat stomach was in the late 1970's. I decided I needed to take up jogging. I would go to the high school track and run a couple of miles in my basketball shoes.
After a while, jogging the track became as exciting as a NSCAR race without an accident. So I bought running shoes and entered a few road races. One was the seven mile Buffalo Run in Pioneer Park in Lincoln, NE. It was a great place for a road race except for one nasty hill.
You had to run that nasty hill twice, then circle the bronze buffalo and head for the finish line. I was trying to keep up with a friend who was in much better shape. As I negotiated that hill a second time, I got the dry heaves. It just about finished my career as a road racer.
As the years have gone by, my jogging looks more like a fast walk. I swore I would never run another road race after one 5 K in Maryville. I acknowledged I was one of the slowest runners, only beating the walkers.
During this one fateful race, a teenager was lagging behind me. As I shuffled to the finish, I heard this teenager's grandfather screaming, "You can get him!" Out of the blue this young runner sprinted past me about 10 yards from the finish. She threw up her arms like she had won an Olympic race. Her grandfather hugged her and my road racing career ended.
I now try to speed up a slow metabolism and slow down advancing age by trying to jog (fast walk) two or three times a week. Even this modest schedule gets me in trouble.
I hear a million times, "I saw you jogging and you just ignored me." Maybe a million times is a little of an exaggeration, but not by much. I think I have a good explanation.
When I do venture out, it's either Saturday morning or in the evening. If I run into the sun, I look at my sneakers and don't even look up. How am I supposed to see whose waving?
As I am jogging around the loop at the university, I need a distraction to make it somewhat bearable. I hate running to music, so I go into deep thought. How do you think I get material for this blog? When my mind is off somewhere, I can completely space off everything including my surroundings. I once fell flat on my face when I jogged off a curb while thinking about something.
The danger of being considered a "dirty old man" often keeps me from offering a greeting. Most college kids I run into are very friendly. That's not always true. If I offer a greeting to an insecure college female, I get the "get away from me you dirty old man" look. I just hope they never hit the panic buttons you can find around campus.
I can cause great confusion just trying to communicate on a jog. I have to admit that when I utter a greeting while jogging, it might come out a little garbled.
One evening, I saw Trish Kellogg coming out of the cross country course by Donaldson Park. Trish is the wife of the new women's basketball coach, Mark Kellogg. I said something like, "Running the cross country course?" but it must have come out, "Hi Kris Carpenter." Trish said in reply, "No, I'm Mark's wife." Those incidences make me look like my memory is definitely going first.
I've seen Mark out running the loop, too. I say running because it's a lot faster than my jog. Last week, I yelled at him, "I like your pace." I know it came out poorly because I could see by his facial expression that he had no clue what I said.
The reverse happens sometimes. I am often ignored by joggers and walkers with headsets. I suspect they are listening to music, so I try to be funny by asking, "Are you listening to Garth Brooks." No one thinks that's funny.
I swear I am not arrogant. I would jog at home, but I would have to take all the clothes off my treadmill. Let's use this rule; honk if you are in a car and want a greeting. Throw a rock at me if we meet on the path just to get my attention.
I might jump at the honking or have a bruise or two from the rocks, but I bet I wave.
By Gene Steinmeyer Guest Columnist
The Maryville Daily Forum - Maryville, MO
By Gene Steinmeyer Guest Columnist
Updated Oct. 3, 2012 @ 10:44 pm
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