Not sure what has started me reminiscing on this recently.
Sometime around age 6 my mother started dropping me off downtown at lunch-time. Dad cut out of work and we'd run together. I think the reason was a combination of my being the first-born-son; my being a sensitive kid without an athletic bone in my body; and Dad's needing to get back in shape. Dad, bless him, never missed a chance to tell me I was "a natural runner." He could not have been more wrong, but the idea became part of my self-identity.
Sometime in that first year I ran my first 10K. Back in those days, in Anchorage, it was 10K or nothing. Nobody was running shorter and if anybody was running longer I didn't know about it. Within a year or two my brother S__ and sister S__ started joining us. In contrast with me they were naturally athletic. Among other trivial statistics, sister S__ was faster over the 10K distance, at that age, than had been a family friend who went on to become a four-time Olympic skier, and brother S__ had one race written up in Runner's World as a notable effort for a six-year-old. (53' and change, if I remember correctly.) In contrast, I was just a skinny kid who was able to run but not able to run fast.
We raced the Pepsi 10K every year. There were others, but I don't recall their names. It seems as if we ran about three 10Ks every summer or thereabouts. One time the local high school, Robert Service (which we all attended several years later), hosted a race. It started at the school, proceeded down the bike trail along Abbott Road, turned right -- North -- to follow Lake Otis, and ended at Campbell Creek Park. I crossed the line in 43' and change. Wow, was I disappointed to learn that the course had been badly measured, and the race was actually about 5 1/2 miles. I don't clearly recall how fast I actually was and the internet, which knows everything else about me, does not reach back that far. Something around 48' sounds about right. Sister S__, I know, was at least a couple of minutes faster.
Dad succeeded in getting his fitness back. I was about 11, and he 41, when he took me along the Powerline Trail all the way to Powerline Pass and back, approximately a 16-miler in Chugach State Park. I have not done that run since. I really should when I go home this summer.
Life proceeded to get in the way. I never really quit running; I would guess not a year of my life has gone by that I did not run at least a few times. I was on my school cross country and track teams, but I found it easier to be a goofball and to lose than to try hard and nonetheless to lose. But I did not quit even after my parents stopped having any say. I remember, for example, getting home from watching Forrest Gump with my buddy P__ one summer in college and going out for a late-evening six-miler. (In an Anchorage summer it is not at all unpleasant to be on the blacktop at 11 p.m.) I remember more than once drinking too much and running myself sober.
In college and law school I seemed to run primarily when I was unhappy. I ran while clerking in Boise because I was lonely. After moving to DC I ran to be social; my house-mate J__ talked me in to my first marathon, my first ironman, and my first 50-miler. Other people chat well over beer. I chat much better over sweat.
Off shortly to see if I can replicate Ted's 18-miler. It's a little chilly and windy and the flurries are coming down occasionally, which is probably ideal.
UPDATE: Oh my goodness. No specifics, but I do find lists of races being run in Anchorage in those days. The Clinkerdagger 10K was another regular one. (Clinkerdagger, Bickerstaff and Pett's -- or Clink's for short -- was a local restaurant of some note.