On Wednesday of this week, I set out for a 5-mile run in the small town where I grew up. I don't live there anymore, but I thought it would offer a nice change of scenery and add some excitement to my running routine. The run ended up making me feel a little nostalgic and a little prouder of how far I've come with my running.
When I was younger, I would usually run the same route each time. ...This was back in the days when I had no real long distance running ability. During this time, I would try to run as far as I could without stopping, but these escapades usually disintegrated into me running a block, then walking a block because I simply had no endurance. I would get back from these excursions, stumble through the door, and collapse on the couch in an attempt to catch my breath. I certainly was not the most poised runner back in the day. ...actually I wasn't even really a runner.
On Wednesday, I decided to set out on this same route. This was partially due to a longing for the familiar, partially because I wanted to feel a bit nostalgic, and partially because I wanted to get a sense of the improvements I've made since my early days as a semi-occasional runner. I thought this would be the perfect way to gauge my progress since I would remember exactly where I would used to have to stop and catch my breath along the route.
The thought that I would compare my current running ability to that of my past ability was almost laughable by the time I finished the first part of the course. When I reached the point in the course where I used to have to stop, I had just barely begun. I didn't even feel winded. Of course, I knew I had made great improvements even before I took on this run; I mean, I used to be able to run a block at most and now I can run 5 miles! But, it seemed so much more real to actually see how much farther I can run now and judge this distance based on landmarks like familiar houses and streets.
By the time I reached the 4-mile mark, it seemed like I had been down every road in town. For the last mile, I circled back over streets that I'd already been down. Much to the discredit of this already tiny town, my ability to run farther has made it seem even smaller!
While I set out to do 5 miles, I opted to run 5 1/2 instead. This was mostly because I felt guilty for walking for a few seconds before the 5-mile mark. I also wanted to ensure that I'd be prepared for the practice 10K that my running club has scheduled for tomorrow night. ...I convinced myself that if I didn't run this extra half-mile, I wouldn't be able to run the 10K... Oh, the crazy things my brain comes up with sometimes. But, who knows, maybe that half-mile did do something to make me just that much more prepared. ...hopefully it did!