Monday, June 13, 2011

The Mile

For as long as I can remember I have hated the mile run. Specifically I hated the mile run in gym class when I was younger, 6th and 7th grades to be exact. In 6th grade I made the jump to middle school where we had multiple teachers instead of one main teacher. Gym was no longer fun and games. We actually had to do stuff. Long gone were the days of scooter boards, may poles, hula hoops, the multi colored parachute where you bounced a ball around, Jump Rope for Life, etc. Enter the days of what most overweight kids would call Hell. Mile Days, obstacle course days, having to actually change into gym clothes (and of course I was never lucky enough to land 6th period gym...2nd period both years.) Mrs. Berkler was my 6th grade gym teacher and our mile day was on Tuesdays. I actually liked her, even though she made us record our weekly mile time in our standard issue Ramona Middle School planner. I think my best mile time was about 10:30 that year.

In 7th grade I continued the tradition with gym class during 2nd period, however mile day was moved to Wednesday. I think I cared even less about PE that year because I really didn't like my new PE teacher Mr. Smith. I don't think I ever ran a mile faster than the 10:30 I ran the year before, but I did manage to jump over the wall on the obstacle course, so I viewed that should count for something right?

Ramona Middle School had a 5 minute mile club and a 6 minute mile club.  At the time that wasn't even an aspiration of mine and I thought it was sort of ridiculous. Who would anyone want to run that fast? And then if you did run that fast you got a mile club t-shirt that you could wear instead of the mandatory grey t-shirt with a green box for your name. Not a prize I view as worthy of the effort.

I never made any sort of mile club at Ramona Middle School. And honestly I never thought I would, ever. I hated running and when you are 11 and hate something as much as I hated running, the 5 and 6 minute mile club seemed kind of ridiculous. And honestly, they still kind of do. I think if proper running techniques had been taught instead of "DO THIS" or else you fail mentality, more kids may have enjoyed PE. It took me 17 years to run a timed mile under 7 minutes.

This past Tuesday I ran a timed mile in 6:59. Barely making the 6 minute mile club. I accomplished something I never though I would ever do. Recently it has seemed more attainable, but it has always been just out of reach. Now that I have done it once, I know that the real club isn't the 5 or 6 mile club, but it is the Club of Runners. I have never seen so much support and congratulations as I did last Tuesday from runners and non-runners alike. I was pretty shocked. For all you runners our there, keep doing your thing. Set goals for yourself and as hard as it is not to, compare yourself to no one. We are all running different races.


And in case you have never seen Freaks and Geeks, it is by far one of my favorite TV shows. This gym class scene is a favorite of mine. (My 6th and 7th grade gym uniform looked a lot like the one in the video, except we didn't have ringer tee's.)