1978-00-00: Running

I’m not sure when I started jogging/running, but I was having a lunchtime run with a couple of coworkers around Greenbelt Lake while working at Goddard Space Flight Center some time around 1980.

I gradually worked up to 5 km, 5 mile, 10 km, and 10 mile runs, and my routine included regular runs on Shore Drive from my house to Edgewater Elementary School and back, about 10 km. I ran the Annapolis Ten Mile Run a couple of times. For these distances, I could run a mile in less than 8 minutes, corresponding to 1 km in less than 5 minutes. At that time, the world record for the 10 km was 27:15, corresponding to an average of 2:44 for 1 km. This means nobody in the world could run twice as fast as me!

Somewhere around 1980-1983, I developed knee pain and was referred to a podiatrist. He prescribed orthotics to correct over-pronation, which puts strain on the knee.

In 1983, I planned to run the Mount Washington Road Race (also known as the “Run to the Clouds”, and with the slogan “Only one hill!”). The distance is only 7.6 miles, but the climb is 4,650 feet. The average grade is 12%, and ends with a 22% “wall”. I prepared as well as I could on the hills west of Frederick, MD. Unfortunately, when we got to New Hampshire, my knees didn’t want to run. The weather on the summit wasn’t very good anyway. We took Chris to Storybook Land, and had a good time. The race organization sent me a t-shirt even though I hadn’t gone to the start of the race.

In 1984, I felt ready to try again. This time my knees felt better and the weather was beautiful, and I ran while Susan and Chris whiled away the hours in the gift shop near the foot of the mountain. I finished in 523rd place with a time of 2:00:31. The results are no longer online, but the certificate is below. The winning time was 1:01:13, so nobody ran twice as fast as me!

Shortly after the 1984 “Run to the Clouds”, my knees were worse (coincidence?) and I went to the local sports medicine specialists. They tested me, and called my condition chondromalacia patellae, which indicates the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap is damaged. The pain made running no fun, and I soon stopped.

One benefit of running was that I could pretty much eat anything I wanted. When I stopped, it took a while to adjust my appetite, and I gained a few pounds.

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