About three months ago I wrote this post about running and staying on track and setting my sights on a 4.4 mile route. It felt ambitious enough to regularly make that four mile run.
We have the luxury of living on a long, well-maintained path that wends and winds through the city, so I pushed on a bit further, and a bit further, with rewards of seeing what was there: a hill draped with pine boughs, a glade veering away from the road by a wide stand of trees. A bit further the path runs by a string of ponds populated with ducks and geese and egrets. Past that there’s a golf course, and a detour into a more rugged path bordered by trees on both sides. I once saw a fox, and understand deer also haunt those woods.
So instead of running four miles regularly, I’ve made my regular routes between six and eight miles. I recently did ten — the last mile wasn’t pretty (I was getting a blister), but it was better than my previous attempt, over ten years ago, an organized run around a lake. I ended up straggling across at a walk while the volunteers cheered me on for not quitting. Sigh. (For all practical purposes, I *had* quit, but I still had to get around the lake so I could get to my car.)
Even though I was pretty out of shape at the beginning of the summer, and my knees are ten years older than they were, I’m a better long distance runner now than I was then. I used to sprint on ahead, trying to get it over with, and ran myself ragged. If I was in an organized race I wanted to keep up with the top notch athletes at the front and not only failed at that, failed to even finish runs I did regularly. Now I just set out and am in no hurry to finish. I’m like that river in Winnie the Pooh, knowing that everybody gets there and there is no hurry. I find I can run further than I thought, if I just keep going, at my own pace, motivated only by what I might see along the way.