I stepped out with my old familiar shoes and heavy sweatshirt. It was 37 degrees this morning, and I was a good 10 months overdue for my appointment with the road.
I hit the start button on my watch and start to jog. Immediately I’m greeted with the fresh bite of cold air rushing through my nose and I breathe. It feels so cleansing and I’ve missed that sensation for a long time. Equally missed, though not always eagerly missed, is my arms and legs telling me that we’re dusting off a lot of cobwebs around here.
Things aren’t feeling as rusty as I remember them a while ago. I’m on a familiar path, so it helps me to gauge distance and speed. I enjoy feeling the temperature shifts due to the various rise and falls in terrain. It is still early enough that cars aren’t on the road, so I can enjoy the quiet.
Wow, I’m a mile into it already. I’m feeling good! It isn’t the “let’s run 10 miles” good, but if I ask myself we need to keep pushing hard to make those hills, my body says “check”. My pace is half that of my “golden years” but that doesn’t matter. If anything, I’ve learned that I need to work back into these things slowly. Having kept the slow pace will give me the energy to finish the run.
Here it is. The final 3/4ths of a mile and this is where the climb begins. It’s amazing at how the instant I start running uphill, my entire body starts to yell at me. This is always the critical point. The body screams “that’s it, call it a day!” and the mind screams “just a little bit further, you can do this!” and your will is caught somewhere in between. Oddly enough, this is where I mentally stumbled across The Girl from Ipanema a few years back. The temp of the song is relaxing enough to keep my legs loose, but fast enough to keep them moving at a good pace.
The half mile uphill becomes grueling. The lungs are now telling me (rather loudly) that they are far out of shape for the volume of oxygen the rest of my body is demanding. But we still have our mental rhythm, we have our breathing patterns in check, and the will is strong. Eventually we crest the top of the hill, and stretch out through the final downhill and straightaway home. There is no “kick” to the finish line today, but there is a triumphant and strong finish.
There are no records broken today. But there is the first step of confidence built in myself for the next time I approach that hill. Most importantly, there is the joy of meeting an old friend excitement for the next run on Wednesday.