1977 to May 1979 – Cape Cod and Bat Out of Hell

This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Even though some of you may have already read previous versions of this post. Since I have started writing on Aging Runnah exclusively, I have decided to clean-up and re-publish my forty plus years of running series here on Aging Runnah. There were a few rough spots, things left out and I thought it would be nice to share this old fart’s story of running over the years – yeah the story of how I became the runner I am today.

To make things simpler I have broken these posts into somewhat chronological order, based on where I have lived and run. Some places will have their own posts, others will be combined sometimes I will even break out a particularly important event in my running into its own post.

This post will be about the years:

1977 to May 1979 – Cape Cod

My next place to run was Cape Cod Air Station and there I started running again pretty regularly.

I was running in Brooks (I think the model was the Vantage), only this time I started to run longer distances and found that I while I wasn’t all that great at it, it did help me get skinny again.

One of the thing about living in the barracks at AirSTA Cape Cod was the only damn hill in the areas was coming back into the Air Station itself, so I always had to run up that damn hill to get back to base. Good training but I hated it. Although I hated that hill, it was nice for doing repeats and I lost most of the weight that I had gained onboard the SPAR, that first year at the Air Station.

The most memorable run I had was that first year there during November, I was supposed to be a tough runner, so I always wore only shorts and a t-shirt, no matter what the weather was (stooopid me). That day, as usual I was running in shorts and a t-shirt, the weather was probably in the 30’s with 30 mile an hour winds whipping off the runways and I went for a 5 mile run.

Needless to say, I was frozen when I got back and they took me over to the infirmary because I looked like I was going to die. A certain part of my anatomy was very frozen and had to be checked out by the on call physician to see if I had done any damage. It took a loooong time to live that one down.

The female HM’s were particularly brutal.

The CO at the time was an ultra-marathoner (which was very uncommon for back then) and after the next days briefings, I got a call to walk down the hall to his office. This wasn’t unusual since I did a lot of work for him and the XO. When I got to the office he asked me to sit down and he gave me some tips and advice on running in cold weather. I learned to run with a plastic bag inserted in my shorts or better in wind pants and he kindly advised me that I continued being a macho runner would lead to a very short running career. After that I got Bill Rodgers running wind suit and used it effectively in cold or nasty weather for many years.

When I moved off base and lived in Falmouth, I would drive down and run along the ocean drive to Woods Hole, not realizing it was part of the Falmouth Road Race course (unfortunately, I never ran it though), I just enjoyed the views both scenery and girls that would be walking/running there.

I lived on Tanglewood Dr in Falmouth and if you went all the way to the end of the road, it turned to an old woods road that came out on a series of cranberry bogs, that is where I did a lot of my running back then. Not much traffic out there which was a problem during the summers on Cape Cod.

Shorty cut-off shorts and tube socks – I was sooooo cool!

As usual I got hurt while playing basketball and ended up on crutches what seemed like most of the summer of ’78, actually only 3 weeks and I took the cast off, not the Doctors. The start of my not being to good with Dr.’s Orders – which in the military they really get pissed about and they let me know they were not happy with me.

After that I did run more, but never got into the local road racing scene down there, which is something that I regret.

So the summer of ’78 wasn’t a great running summer and while I kept running most of that fall and into the winter, when I met young lady who was living up in Worcester. I was spending time trying to get to know her a lot better, so running became less important to me. Things didn’t work out between us and I used running to help move past what had happened.

I did run my first 5K road race in Falmouth on January 1, 1979, as a New Year’s resolution that I was going to run more and do some road racing, lose a the weight I had gained. Unfortunately, the race was an utter fiasco, I was hung over, out of shape, overdressed, almost didn’t finish and finished last (DFL).

However my first enlistment was up in June and Rick, Bobby and I were gonna get out of Coast Guard. All three of us had out short-timers chains/calendars and we had made plans to go hiking up in the White Mountains with another guy – Kim.

So I was working out and running was a big part of the preparation for this hiking adventure, that whole spring. It ended up that Bobby and I re-enlisted at the last minute, the job market was not too great at that time for me (no degree), so when the detailer offered me a sweet new duty station in St. Ignace, Michigan and a nice re-enlistment bonus – I took it.

We did the hike, but didn’t do as much as we had planned, other priorities split us apart and we cut the hike short.

I left Cape Cod that May and took 45 days leave from the military, got tanned, did some haying for a local farmer and became a beach bum,

Gramp, Mikey and me

I also fell in love with a girl from up in Dexter, we spent the last couple of weeks of my leave getting to know each other a bit better. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t come with me and I drove off into the sunset for Michigan. Listening to Meatloaf’s – Bat Out of Hell cassette tape in my Brandy Spanky New Subaru Brat.