I’m almost to the point where I can say “just three miles” again.
After an excellent running year in 2010, last year was an abject disappointment. I had a bout with bronchitis in the early spring, followed by back problems (herniated disc) that kept my mileage way down all summer. I went to physical therapy for what seems like forever, and the back, although much improved, continued to give me problems well into the fall. By then, it was too late to make a real effort to get back into shape for the best racing season, so I just kind of coasted through the rest of the year.
I entered five races in 2011. I actually ran in only one of them. Of the other four, I walked in two with my wife, and the other two I just didn’t show up for, having entered far enough in advance that I had irrationally been optimistic I’d be in shape by race day.
This year has gotten off to a slow start, but, little by little, it’s starting to pick up steam. I’ve set low goals for myself: just get myself into something of a running routine again, get into some semblance of shape, lose a few pounds. I’m not thinking about races right now, just concentrating on building up a base, and working on enjoying it.
I’m working on putting together a string of running at least every other day. I’m up to two weeks now. Hopefully, by this summer, that will seem like a laughable milestone, but for now, I’m just putting on the layers of running clothes and getting out there in the early morning dark, three miles at a shot, four times a week. Having been a “runner” off and on for almost 30 years now, I tell myself, “just three miles,” and that doesn’t sound so bad. And I can tell I’m making progress, because “just three miles” definitely seems less daunting to me now than it did a couple of weeks ago. I’ll run a little farther on the weekends, and eventually build up those weekend runs to at least 10 miles, hopefully. But for now, I’m content to move slowly—just to keep moving, actually.