Monday, April 18, 2016


I started jogging in 1971. The running craze was in its infancy and I had no idea what I was doing. I wore old jeans, ragged shirts and tennis shoes. But our lab/shepherd pup, Lily, needed exercise.

We started small, circled the block. As Lily grew, we added more blocks. By the time she was grown, our route looped up through Hendricks Park – a pretty steep climb.

Years later I measured it: Almost three miles of up and down. Not bad for an ex-smoker.

I ran my first race in 1975. My pace – right at eight minutes – could be considered running. I bought running shoes. I bought running clothes. I subscribed to Runner Magazine. I hung out with other runners.

Thus began years of fun runs: Butte to Butte, Blue Heron, Strawberry Mountain Half-Marathon, Portland’s Cascade Runoff, and many more. I never tried a full marathon, never wanted to spend the required time training.

And my pace didn’t slow much until about ten years ago. I stopped calling myself a runner then. I became a jogger again. Still, it was heartening to hear that even famous runners slow down with age. The point is to keep going.

But now, in my eighth decade, I’ve stopped even calling myself a jogger. I can’t hold my initial pace, though sometimes I still believe it’s possible. Honestly, I can’t hold any pace for even those three miles Lily and I used to do.

I call it wogging: I jog, I walk, I jog some more, thankful to be upright.