i enjoyed running and racing from a very young age. i can recall observing our elementary track and field day when i was in kindergarten and envisioning myself participating when i made it to the fifth grade (the event was only for fifth and sixth graders).
in fourth grade i was timed in a 600 meter run for the presidential physical fitness test. i recall shocking my physical education instructor with my time. i also remember him getting very upset with me for falling to the ground after crossing the finish line (the importance of "walking off" a run was ingrained in me that day). my p.e. teacher notified our local high school coach, rick kleyman, about my time and my interest in distance running.
with the assistance of rick kleyman, i got involved in junior olympic events and joined a running team called the "overland express runners". rick introduced me to his son dave, and it was with dave that i participated in most of these events during fifth and sixth grade. we usually participated in the 800 meter and i was consistently right behind dave's right shoulder as we finished first and second at most events. one memorable event was the regional junior olympics in stevens point, wisconsin. during this event i was disqualified for repeatedly stepping in the gutter of the track. at the time, i knew nothing about the gutter and its potential to get me disqualified. that was a very traumatic day in my running journey.
from eleven-years-old to thirteen-years-old i enjoyed participating in a variety of local fun runs. i gathered a substantial collection of ribbons and medals, but my favorite was the t-shirts. i loved road race t-shirts. a road race t-shirt and a pair of jeans was my school uniform from fifth grade to seventh grade.
in junior high i found myself shifting my athletic attention to basketball and skateboarding. i stayed in running shape, but took a break from the world of junior olympics and road races.
my return to competitive running took place the first week of high school. my friend jeff had signed up for cross country and was encouraging me to take a break from my skateboard and join the team. my first day was actually the day of a cross country meet. they had a mile run for the sophomores and coach kleyman permitted me to participate. a senior from armstrong (my high school) was suppose to lead the way to show us the course. i ran well and won. i recall the senior complaining that he had not intended to run that fast as he had already completed a 5k that day. i also recall that coach kleyman suggested skateboarding as an effective cross training activity. it was a warm and fuzzy day that revived my running passion.
i continued with cross country and track throughout high school, and during my sophomore year i dropped basketball and joined the cross country ski team. my senior year i had the privilege of being a three sport captain. by my senior year, i specialized in the mile and in cross country skiing. in 1990 i recorded the fifth fastest mile time of the year for a minnesota high schooler. i also won a few cross country ski races by over a minute on the rest of the field (the glory days).
i opted not to participate in college athletics and my last road race was in april of 1991.
in late september of 2008, via reconnecting with old friends on facebook, i was inspired to give running another go. it will be a journey to reshape my body into that of a runner. in may of 2008, i weighed in at 100 pounds more than i weighed at the end of high school. i am presently 30 days into rob-the-runner-2.0 training and have shed 20 pounds. i am being very cautious to remain injury free and have combined my running with roller skiing. rob-the-runner, is officially revived.
rob-the-runner 1.0 personal records
400 meter: 52 seconds (18 years old - 1990)
800 meter: 1:58.6 (18 years old - 1990)
1600: 4:23.8 (18 years old - 1990)
3200: 9:57.5 (18 years old - 1990)
5k: 16:36 (18 years old - 1989)
10k: 36:25.26 (19 years old - 1991 - last road race)