Guest Blogger: Clayton King


My First Run: Part 1

Guest Blogger: Clayton King

College. The mention of the word can inspire a thousand different images and as many different memories.

Lots of people opine about their college days. Some of them recall favorite proffesors, most difficult classes, all-nighters finishing a paper. Many more wish they could have it back; little responsibility, afternoon naps, a metabolism that still worked and a figure that was 30 pounds lighter.

Sit in on any conversation amongst college graduates or drop-outs, and sooner or later the subject matter turns to “my most miserable college experience.” One recalls a crazy ex, another tells with surprising clarity all that he did while unconscoiusly drunk, while still another admits he never once changed his bedsheets or pillowcase.

For 4 years!

Mine was the first time I went running.

It is not entirely true for me to say that this was my first running experience. Because like most kids, I ran all the time from age 2 onward, but never in an organized fashion, and certainly never for the sheer fun of it. Running in short spurts while playing army in the woods was fun. Running at recess was fun. But the only other kind of running I did, before college, was forced upon me. Compulsory running. Handed down as punishment for missing a tackle or slung upon me as conditioning, to work me into shape for the season. Coaches made us run sprints, laps, suicides, and circles. I hated running when I was made to run. I vaguely remembered enjoying it as a little boy in the woods and on the playground.

Maybe it was the echo of those memories that instigated my most miserable college experience.

Actually, it was a combination of things. I was an 18 year old invincible Freshman. I was at college, and running is what college students were supposed to do. And, a big group of upperclassmen, all of whom I desired to impress, were talking about it in the cafeteria one day at lunch.

It was about 15 minutes til my daily nap, but they were going to run. And they talked about it as if it were the sole purpose for which God put humans on the globe. Within 5 minutes of eavesdropping from the next table, not only was I convinced that I had to run with them, I was also sure that running would cure cancer, end world hunger, and stop potential natural disasters. Plus I would migrate into their way cool guy club by making a lap around campus with them. It was a 2 mile loop. How hard could that be?

I played baseball, football, and basketball in high school. I was not overweight. I drank a glass of water once or twice a week, so I was hydrated. We would meet outside of Lutz dorm at 1:30. I finished my taco pie, cheese fries, Mountain Dew and ice cream cone, then headed back to my dorm to prep for our mini-marathon.

This was about to completely go wrong. I had never been so stupid and ignorant about any one thing in my short-lived life.

If you care to know what happened, check back tomorrow.

If you dare.