The first half of the 1980's was filled with running indifference. I trained haphazardly, I raced sporadically, with the feeling that the clock was ticking on my running career. I was in a running rut.
Professionally, as a television news producer, my life was hitting on all four cylinders. But my hours were all over the map and I was frequently asked to work weekends. Because of my complete lack of self discipline, training on a consistent manner was impossible.
Outside of one shot at the Hospital Hill half marathon, a 10K the following year with a marathon in 1982, the only other race I recall running during that period was a 5K in Lawrence, probably the first or second Maupintour 5K in 1981 or 82 and a 10K in 1984 when I was very out of shape. I know there were other races during that period, but I didn't keep a training log until 1986.
Something about that 10K in the fall of 1984, where I ran about 45 minutes, probably sparked me to some serious training. I had my eye on the Kansas City Marathon. I have checked the records. There is no date or results on line for the 1985 Kansas City Marathon. Fortunately my friends from the University of Kansas, the Mad Dogs, list the race as having happened on May 12th.
The course for this edition was used only once. It was a double loop course which started on the Country Club Plaza and took runners all the way out Brush Creek to the V.A. Hospital to the east. It was hilly but not overly so for a Kansas City race.
Boy, did it ever. I rolled through the first loop with nary a problem. I hit the half marathon in 1:31 and felt great. I must have looked too great because the girlfriend figured there was no need to go to the 18 mile mark.
I knew by mile 17 that it wasn't going to be my day. I didn't want to destroy my legs running a three hour plus marathon. I hit 18 miles and no girlfriend. Same at mile 19 and mile 20. I was one unhappy camper as I made my way through the streets and hit the finish in 3:11. I was beat all to hell and knew there must be a better way to running a marathon.
Fortunately, my training continued and improved. I managed to run a sub 30 minute 8K in Eugene, Oregon the following month. I would run through the summer and spring but it wasn't until December that I would come across a man who knew the secret to running a decent marathon.