My High School Mile


I measured the distance from my high school to the apartment house where I lived with my Dad. It’s a little more than one mile. I walked to school every day and ran home every day my junior year. But I only ran the straightaway down Shroyer Road. I walked the last one-tenth because I needed to catch my breath.

The school bell rang every day at exactly 2:55pm. There was a city bus waiting just on the other side of Dorothy Lane. The driver was always early on his route at that time of day so he had to wait until exactly 3:00pm before he could proceed so he could stay on the advertised bus schedule. I ran out of class when the bell rang, down the hall to my locker to throw my books inside, and then proceeded to run down the street in a dash that would make any sprinter proud to see. I was hell bent to beat that bus down that road.

I always had a head start on the bus driver and he would reel me in near the finish. Sometimes I won the race and sometimes he did. After a few months he began honking his horn at my finish line at Hadley, 2 beeps when I won and 1 when he did.

This was my first effort at putting speed work into my distance running. Little did I know at the time that it would provide me with the multiple gears that I possess today, or in terms that runners understand, development of the fast-twitch muscles. I still race things that I see, like the flashing “don’t walk” sign. I get a kick out of saying, “don’t walk, run” after I make it across the street before the traffic light turns red.