I'm not a fast runner. I've only done two marathons and they're both in the 4 hour area. There was a time when running hurt my back too much and took a 10-year break, but I'd like to think that while I'm not a fast runner, I've been a runner since 1st grade.
In first and second grade, I rode the bus to school. I lived in Oak Lawn and school was 10 miles/16km to the north. I used to get ready early and then race the bus. I'd walk in the direction from which the bus would come. When I'd see the bus, I'd turn and sprint back to my house and wait to be picked up. I always tried to get further.. sometimes I'd jog a bit in the direction of the bus, but that was dangerous... I had to make it back to be picked up. Great fun! My dad loved it. I'm glad I was a kid in the days before back injuring heavy backpacks were the norm.
After second grade, we started to carpool. My dad drove in the morning and someone else drove in the afternoon. Those years were even better for the feet. If I got ready in time, I would leave my bag for my dad, then I'd take off running in the direction my dad would take to get to school. When my dad was ready, he'd get his own briefcase, my books and then drive to pick me up. Should I be a bit miffed that no one questioned this man who was going after a running child? This child who keeps escaping from her kidnapper's dungeon every morning around 7:15? Some days I was feeling good and we were on time, so I could run some more and dad would just drive beside me and my running Mary-Jane shoes. I think they might have been Buster Browns. ... either way, not the hip shoes kids are wearing now, but they were good enough. I remember thinking, "I have this." I wasn't a rich kid. I wasn't popular. I wasn't cute... well, I was in 1st grade, but then I got front teeth and had my hair chopped off and jolie laide was my life. But I had this. I could run. I couldn't run faster than the other girls, but I could run longer than them. I had this!
I'm a runner, because of my dad. When I started running again, only my dad remembered that I stopped because of my back. I think it saddened him to see me stop; He is overjoyed that I've started again, married a runner, and have finished to marathons. I think he thinks of the little awkward girl in the dress running to school.