Last week I was down in Nebraska visiting the parents in my old stomping grounds of Norfolk--a small town in the Northeast corner of the state. Norfolk is the birth of my recreational and competitive running. I went to a small Lutheran high school there and my junior year my dad (who happened to be the principal) informed me that I would not, in fact, be allowed to work every night of the week--not if I wanted to use his car to get there.
A three mile round trip seemed like a long way to walk to work at a gas station, so I resigned myself to the idea that I'd have to work only a couple of times a week. With basketball season over I wasn't sure what I was going to do with all my free time. In hindsight I probably should have done a little homework but that's neither here nor there--though it did probably cost me thousands of dollars in lost scholarship money.
So, with some extra free time on my hands I decided to go out for track. I'd ran around the track in junior high a couple of times and it didn't seem too hard. Also, I really liked the new track coach. My school had about 100 students so making the team wasn't really a problem.
Back then I had a wiry frame of 6' and 135 lbs. Finding clothes that fit was a nightmare but my track coach thought I'd be a good fit for the 2 mile. And then, in the year 2000, I began the wonderful hobby of running around to nowhere in particular.
Being back in Norfolk, running around town, and getting to go fishing with my dad and my old track coach got me a little nostalgic about running. Sometimes while I'm running I wonder what kind of a runner I would have been if I'd started running before age 17 or if I didn't stop training seriously for several years after two seasons in college track. But those thoughts are best entertained in a forthcoming post.
The trip to Nebraska was great. I got to spend some quality time with my brother-in-law, see an old friend, hang out with both my sisters and two nieces, and get some work done for my parents. I also got to see Coach Tom Osborne speak at an event hosted by a business whose owners are friends with my parents.
I used to have a blog about fishing, so in honor of that blog and my former high school track coach, I thought I'd throw up a picture of my biggest fish this summer--a blue catfish caught while fishing for bass in a puddle of a farm pond in Northeast Nebraska. In this shot you can see it trying to chew my fingers off as Coach Rathke looks on.