Memories… Like the Cobwebs of My Mind

Run Memory Flashback
It is hard for me to remember much of when I was younger. Like drilling for oil, bits and pieces of my childhood are buried deep within the center of my mind and I have to concentrate to bring them to the surface of my thoughts. My son, who has Asperger’s, says his mind is like a notebook and he just needs to turn to the proper page to remember what he needs. I think my notebook didn’t have acid free paper in it and the pages have faded yellow. I hope his pages don’t.

I am new to running, only 2-1/2 years invested. But I have a memory of running when I was younger, some thirty-something years ago. No, it was not to get away from someone because I did something illegal, although I did run a quick sprint from silly juvenile mischief every now and then. I am talking about real running: Track and Field to be specific.

There is a foggy shadow of images that pop up now and then of running track in third grade through the catholic elementary school that I was sentenced to from second through eighth grade. Back then we still had the token nun as part of our faculty and I do remember visiting the convent across the street on various occasions. My classmates and I could reminisce about the unruly playing we exhibited within its wall confines that’s not expected from such so-called “mannered” children.

Track and field must have been offered at one point during those early years as a one-time deal. I really only have one distinct recollection of a meet at what I now know as our Community Junior College, College of Marin (COM). But the memories are vague. I remember the brick colored oval track with its white lines going round and feeling it’s rather immense size in contrast to mine. Now it doesn’t look so formidable. I am also certain that I was part of a relay team, the anchor. Apparently, back then; I was fast, which would make me the final runner, right? To make up for any lost time. I guess…

I remember standing near the bleachers on a super hot day, the team passing around a squeeze bottle of honey. This was to give us a “natural” burst of energy before the race. I’ve tried the honey stingers recently mid-long run and they made me sick they were so sweet. I’m not sure if it gave me energy as a youngster, but it sure was fun holding that honeycombed printed bottle above my tilted head. I squeezed uuber amounts of long sticky streams into my mouth. I was eight after all.

I don’t recall actually running the race, but I do remember the image of the baton being passed to me. I can see it as I start to move forward, my head looking back behind me, arm stretched out towards the other kid pushing hard to reach it to my hand. In my minds eye it was a white PVC tube (high tech) with a one-inch red stripe around the middle. I think. I have no images to draw upon or details of anyone’s face in particular, just the image of the baton. Sometimes I think I maybe just dreamt it, but the vision is just too strong.

The other elements of this flashback include jumping hurdles (and knocking them over again and again) and thinking that I hated them. I probably fell on my knees multiple times. Maybe, on one occasion I was introduced to the shot put and the arrow. I do recall jumping the pole vault and knocking that damn thing down over and over. What an odd maneuver to perform. Then there was the long jump. Time and again, running and jumping into the sand pit. I have no idea how far I jumped (16 feet –the number that is in my head? That can’t be accurate?), or how many times I practiced it.

These memories all indicate that maybe running has always been a part of me and has lay dormant for all these years only recently exploding into my life like a volcano. In me is this desire to keep pushing myself harder every time I head out the door. I want to run as if my life depended on it. Maybe it does?

Sometimes I wonder why I’ve repressed certain memories and if other ones will later come out over different periods of my life. Maybe in 40 years I will remember the time I ran in half marathons and even a full. For now though, the run memories are of a little girl, lapping up honey and lapping the final leg of the track relay. A memory that feels like a dream.


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