Saturday, March 01, 2008

March. Finally, it's March.

ORN: 11.5 miles, 1:57:19, 10:13/mile, R4/W1

Mercifully, February ended and, we hope, a turn for better weather is on the way. Our local weather dude reported we had more storms and fewer sunny days this February than any on record. Boy, it felt like it too. Two more storms in the past week added further depressing evidence to the facts.

Running was slim the past week too. I tried to go out a couple of times but had a seeming bruise on my left foot which hurt quite a bit. I took it easier, went out for a simple two mile run on Friday without pain. February ended up with 66 total miles. Better than January’s 55 miles; had this week gone better the difference would have been higher.

The schedule called for a 5K time trial today but I was antsy to go long. It was a balmy 44F, 6 degrees above my cutoff to wear shorts. It was fun to be in shorts, running past little kids on their sleds, sliding down snowy slopes. I ended up doing 11.5 miles. The foot pain was gone. It felt good.

March 1 is also the anniversary of one of my favorite childhood stories. I grew up on a cattle ranch in Nebraska; perhaps surprisingly in that rural setting, I grew to love Baseball, thanks to my Mom. Especially the Yankees; Mickey Mantle, Elston Howard, Roger Maris, Clete Boyer; all were my heros. I played baseball all the way to college, I still umpire and listen to any game on.

In our small school system, Mrs. Johnson taught us 8th grade science but her real love was Nebraska history, which we heard about as much as phloem and xylem. We also already knew March 1 is the anniversary of Nebraska’s admission to the Union. So, at the start of science class on that first day of March, Mrs. Johnson, with a big smile, asked us “Class, what is important about this day?” I knew the answer she wanted, but, in a rare moment of quick thinking, I saw the chance to get one-up on my teacher.

I shot my hand in the air enthusiastically and she called on me. “Yes, Joe, what is special about today?” I beamed, my opportunity sitting there like a batting practice fastball: “Today is the start of Spring Training!”

Mrs. Johnson turned red and upset. Yet, she couldn’t do anything; I had answered the question correctly. My baseball-loving pal, Pat Engles, sat next to me hardly able to control his laughter. It was my moment. And I still enjoy it, every March 1.

Years later, Mrs. Johnson ran into my mother and went on and on to her about what a fine science student I was. Selective memory is a wonderful thing.

Persevere. Even if you have smart aleck, baseball-loving students around.


boilermat said...

Awesome story, Joe. Somehow, I can just see you sitting there with your hand in the air just itching to give your answer. Reminds me of what I liked to do with my teachers as a kid. I'm glad she called on you.

I'm also glad to hear your foot felt well enough to get a long run in. I got 10 miles in today, but by 4:30 the balmy 44 degrees were gone. I wore tights and was glad I did. God blessed us with a beautiful day to run!

Darrell said...

Joe, you little rascal you. I sure got a kick out of that story.

Sorry to hear about the foot pain. Hopefully it's something the usual precautions of rest, ice, and ibuprofen will take care of.

Did you collect baseball cards back then (the kind with the real bubble gum in them)? Do you still have them?

Joe said...

Darrell, I never did collect baseball cards...probably becasue my Mom hated having chewing gum around. Alas, no multi-thousand dollar Mickey Mantle rookie cards stowed away in an old shoe box either??

Sarah said...

That's a great story! It certainly put a smile on my face this morning. : ) Wishing you lots of balmy March days ahead!

Backofpack said...

Don't smart-aleck and 8th grade boy automatically belong in the same sentence? Great story!

Even better to hear your foot is good to go again. Happy March running!

robtherunner said...

I played baseball all through high school and my senior year we took 2nd in State. I got to start in left field in our minor league ball park for the Mariners. It was pretty amazing playing in nearly a major league stadium.

Way to get the long run done and feeling good as well.

Wes said...

Sometimes there is more than one answer to a question :-) I collected baseball cards. Never chewed the gum. Funny how parents have no value in things like that, as my Mom tossed them all when I went into the army. She had no idea how long it took me to get that Pete Rose all star card...

prefan1982 said...

I feel you on the baseball Spring Training season starting last week. I am a life-long Cubs fan and am (as always) convinced this is "the year."
I enjoyed reading your blog. I'm newer to the blogging thing so please stop by my blog sometime and leave some advice for me.

Journey to a Centum said...

Brave kid considering teachers could kill their students back in those days if it seemed like the right thing to do.

Dude you need to move to a different climate. Not including training runs I've raced 238.4 miles this year and your yearly total is 137.7? You've got some catching up to do man! Get with it!


Trail Scat

David said...

It's March 4 and I haven't been to a spring training game yet!

I still have two Topps Nolan Ryan rookie cards (him and another guy on the same card). Once worth about $150. No idea today.

WADDLER26.2 said...

Great sorry. I am soooo Glad that MArch is here.