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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dark, Cold and Perfect

Under 50 degrees, wear gloves.

It’s the first of many lessons I have to re-learn in the coming weeks. About five miles into my run this morning, I noticed the pain on the back of the hands. Nothing severe, and certainly nothing that would cause any long-term damage, but enough to be annoying, and enough to remind me that spring isn’t here yet. It’s close, but not yet.

I won’t spend a lot of time talking about rededicating myself to the sport of running. I’ve written that so many times, I could probably copy and paste the whole thing. Suffice to say that I’m trying again, and with my 30th birthday a mere 249 days away, now’s the time to act. If there’s any chance of my qualifying for Boston before that day, the groundwork has to be laid right away. Now, my drive to qualify may be more financially prohibitive than physically so, but that’s no reason to give up. And even if I don’t do it by then, I’ve still got races to run.

For today, it wasn’t about qualifying. It wasn’t about a mileage total or a build-up. I’m not signed up for any races right now, and I haven’t published any new goals. Today, I simply wanted to go for a run.

It was dark and quiet when I left the house. Not cold enough for sleeves, but cold enough to create the rule I mentioned above. (I think 40 degrees will be my sleeve threshold.) I had my newest shoes on, which I don’t think I’ve taken over 5 miles before. I took a deep breath, started the watch, and headed off at an easy pace. I felt good, but I didn’t want to risk burnout. I haven’t run that much recently, and while I can usually tick off 8 miles without too much agony, I was not about to take unnecessary chances. It was way too early to call for a ride home if I was wrong.

At 2.5, I let myself engage a little. When I hit the downhill at 4, I allowed gravity to help, and with 2.5 to go, I pushed, ever so slightly. Nothing dramatic. Nothing amazing. Nowhere near my best time for the course, but solid.

And perfect.

My record-keeping has been shoddy at best the last few months, but that’s because I haven’t had much mileage to be proud of. I did a quick update of my spreadsheet and just sat staring at today’s number. It felt great. Every step felt right.

And tomorrow, I get to do it again.

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