It’s Never Too Late To Live Your Legacy

Lockdown has made more opportunity for running these days. My favorite place is the Rice University track. Since I’m an old guy, there are tons of empty parking lots on campus that I run through that work well for social distancing. I run about 5 miles every other day and hit the gym for weights on off-days. I can’t say which I enjoy more, but probably running would win in a contest.

Would you believe that aside from sports and military I had never run just for running until discovering Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper’s Aerobics guides. At age 33 in 1970, I read his book and that started my next life. People really thought that was really weird, running just to be running, but I also was trying to quit smoking at the time, which at one point there was a self-ultimatum – run or smoke. I was not improving and made the decision to stick with running and quit smoking. I finally got up to about a 6 minute mile and was aiming for a 5, and still trying (Hah! I’d be glad to do a 12 minute mile these days).

Pretty soon I have got to ramp up for the 2021 Half Marathon, so will probably shift to Memorial Park depending on how crowded that is, and if it is too crowded, I will just do more circles around Rice.

How I got to the Aramco Houston Half Marathon was just a lark as I had never run one, and in 2009 at the age 72, I finally decided to run a marathon. But, when I got down to training, it was taking too much time. So I opted for the half marathon and have been running it ever since.

I was totally surprised at my first Houston half. I have to say that running all those years alone and/or with friends, doing relay marathons, 5 & 10Ks, never prepared my thinking for anything like this. On my first steps out of the gate, the runners were met with a melee of spectators and supporters that lined the streets, no, they FILLED the streets of downtown Houston and it was that way all the way to the finish line. Bands, Cheerleaders, DJ”s, Drill Teams, Organizations, and thousands of people all along the way. And talk about organization, water stations, relief stations and aid stations about every 2 miles. I mean Houston was shut down and focused on this event like it was the only thing happening in the world. At the end of the day I felt like I gained 20,000 new friends.

In my ancient years, I finally found the perfect running shoe. Misuno WaveKnit R-2, a recommendation by my good friends at our local Fleet Feet. And believe me, I have tried them all, not to mention numerous home remedies for old feet. They did not pay me to say this, but if it helps one other older person it would be a good mention. I actually look forward to running just so I can put on those shoes.

I don’t know about inspiring other runners, but every potential runner should give the Houston full or half marathon a chance at least once. They will feel like they’ve run in the Olympics and the whole World is celebrating.

Longer than I intended, I got on a good road.

P.S. I will tell you what’s fun about this event. One year (sorry, cannot recall which year), it was blazing blue cold (even in Texas). Runners were lining up and freezing. When the start fired off, it began to rain, like the worst Norther downpour and wind ever. Here is the punch line. About 100 yards out, everyone was soaked. But guess what? Everyone started singing and cheering like our home team just made a major upset. Talk about being inspired. That was awesome. I will never forget it.

Blog written by Legacy Runner – Herman Vacca (83)