Types of lightning-An Epiphany of Inspiration

Last week I was trying to get in some late track work.  I had found a track about a mile away from me and I need to get some 1600 speed work in.  My speed is atrocious and it needs work. 

Either way I headed outside to find that it was raining.  This is a good thing for the most part.  It had been pretty hot lately and I hate the heat.  The rain would help keep me cooled off.  About a mile of warm up to the track and I was ready.  I put in another lap to get my bearing.  I haven’t been on a track in several months and it is just a different formula.

Halfway through that first easy lap came the first bolt of lightning.  The otherwise dark sky was filled with an almost blinding light.  It was okay.  The lightning was a few miles off and my attitude is bring it on.  I have been through worse.  Or so I thought.  This of course was the brain talking again.

I hit the start/finish line and was off at a blistering 9 minute per mile pace.  A few more bolts of lightning during the first lap and things were okay.  The rain was not heavy and I was feeling real good.  I missed speed work alot.  The second lap was more of the same with a little more frequency of the electrical discharge.  On the third lap I started thinking of the types of lightning.  This was mostly cloud to cloud lighting but I just started thinking more about it and then it hit me.  I started thinking about my grandfather.

My Grandpa, John Hannon, was a retired Meteorologist/weather observer and pilot from the Air Force.  At one point he had explained to me the types of lighting as well as other meteorological phenomenon.  We used to sit and talk for hours at the kitchen table.  It was about anything.  The man had so many stories.  There were times in the Air Force in Turkey or Korea or in the US.  Like when he met Chuck Yeager, who evidently is a poor navigator.  IFR means I Follow Roads.  We would talk about the stuff my mother and uncle would do when they were kids/adolescents.  One time he said my mom was not a morning person.  Really, I thought those death rays coming from her eyes were her poor vision.  He had told me about operation Red Wing, the ozone hole, the U2, the republican party, goat cheese and the list goes on.

The story of the moment was the one were he was at the University of Iowa under a program run by the Army Air Corps for future meteorologists.  There was a need for weather observers.  Well, this was a regimented curriculum where he described 4 years of math, chemistry and physics packed into a year and a half.  On top of it was run by the Army so he was at the very least enlisted if not commissioned during his education.  He had told me of a time that his company commander had gotten into an argument/wager with another company commander.  His company commander was certain that it did not matter what was eaten before running that it would not affect the runner.  Thus started the bet.  My grandfather and the rest of his company woke up the next morning and had a big breakfast with pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs, milk.  The works.  The other company had some modest eats and hydration.  Then they proceeded to there morning run for a race.  A 5k. 

At this point in the story you can guess who won.  The other company right.  I thought that was the case.  I had made a similar mistake with some pizza before a cross country race.  What a disaster.  So I had asked how he and his company did. 

“We won” he said. 

After about a mile everybody just pulled off to the edge of the course and threw up there innards and proceeded to dust the competition.  What an amazing feet.  I was stunned.  But after a while I learned to just listen and learn. 

Well, I finished my 1600 and the lightning was getting a little heavier.  I started my 800 of easy running before I tackled another mile.  The lightning was getting real close now and I had decided to call it a day when I heard the crack before I saw the lighting and it felt real warm and tingly on my back.  So I started heading back.  Not really a cool down more like a random scurry like across the sands of Dune.

I think about all of the running inspirations in my life like my sister who has several NYC marathons under her belt and my father who’s running of the Marine Corps Marathon many years ago made me want to run marathons as well.  But last week my Grandpa was my highest inspiration.  He loved running as I do.  We shared so much. 

I miss you alot.