1979 to 1982 – Running in St. Ignace

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:

1979 to 1982 — St. Ignace, Michigan

Over my summer leave I ran maybe 5 times, I was too busy getting out having way too much fun and sun before my next duty station – it was the graduation summer that I never had. Transitioning back into the Coast Guard was going to be tough or was it?

I’m on the one without gold on my sleeve getting my Associates Degree. By the time this photo was taken I had become quite the Chunky monkey.

I arrived at the Marine Inspection Office – St Ignace July 1979 and had been on 45 days leave. Needless to say, I was still in civilian mode when I arrived, but that was okay, because of all my duty station St Ignace was the closest to me being a civilian during my Coast Guard career. Getting to wear civilian clothes, working in a small office in the Town’s Municipal Building made it seem as though the Coast Guard was miles away.

The first year in St. Ignace, I really didn’t run that consistently, it was more about meeting people, learning the area, a new job and it is where I met my first wife that summer. All I know is there was lots of bars, let me repeat lots of bars, eating at the Big Boy restaurant, not a lot of exercising and gaining back all of the weight that I worked so hard to get rid of those previous years.

When I saw a photo of me in uniform that first winter, I decided it was time to get my ass back on the roads and do something about the flubber that had come back in a bad way. Yes, I smartened up again. Stopped the boozing and began to run and I ran a lot. My boss was a runner and he was very supportive of my running.

Mail Order Running Catalogs

The next spring was when I discovered mail order catalogs and Moss Brown Inc. of Georgetown and ordering online using a credit card. It made it sooooo easy to simply call them up and place an order for that new pair of Shoes that appeared in Runner’s World or Running Times. All I know is that Moss Brown and a few other companies did get a lot of money sent their way and my started me on my weakness for new running shoes.

I went through several different shoes while there (some very good, some horrible), but the one pair I remember most was going down to Petoskey, MI and finding a brand new pair of Nike Equinox at a bike shop that carried running shoes, that I had been reading about in my Runners World and just had to have a pair.

The store didn’t have any 7.5 or 8.0, so I settled on a very tight pair of size 7.0 and hated the shoe, they blistered the hell out of my right foot (even back then my right foot bothered me), but I ran in them anyway because I didn’t have any others (my then wife had gotten rid of all my old ones before we left that day).

I know that I only ran about 50 miles in them before I went out and bought a new pair of Saucony Jazz, which didn’t work all that well for me either. So I ended up getting a pair of Brooks shoes (not sure if it was the Villanova, Tempos or what they were), that I just loved and ran in those for a long time.

Than I got a pair of Etonic Streetfighter’s if I remember correctly, between the Brooks and the Etonics, I was pretty happy with my running shoes for a while.

I was in St. Ignace until 1982 and I never ran a road race there, but I had several weeks where I was running 50-60 miles a week and reading all the running magazines I could get my hands on. I always pretended that I was training for Boston.

The biggest memories I have of running in St. Ignace are finally making it to the top of the hill beside the town office without stopping. It was a real tough uphill run for me. However, the course that I ran the most and no doubt was my favorite course was the 3.0 mile loop around the old trail out to the Airport, even back then I liked to run trails, I just didn’t know how much.

St. Ignace is where I learned that I do love to run long distances, even if I was and still not all that good at it.