Back To The Pavement

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I have to admit, I’ve been neglecting my running. It’s really not my fault though. You see, during the late spring and summer, my bike calls to me and begs to be taken out regularly. Knowing that cold weather is just around the corner (and my riding days limited), I can’t resist going out for a ride as often as I can. As a result, my running mileage suffers.
The great thing about running is that no matter how long you’ve taken off or had an irregular schedule, you’re never more than 4 weeks away from being back on track. Sure, the next four weeks are going to be filled with sore calves, ice baths and lots of Gatorade, but man does it feel good to be back out there.
When I headed out this morning at dusk and breathed in the brisk air, my heart skipped a beat at the thought of spending this beautiful morning at the track. I headed out with anticipation. I was hoping that I would have the track to myself. I wasn’t disappointed.
I went through the ritual of setting up my drink station and stretching my cold, tired muscles and then I was off. In my world, the first mile is always uncomfortable. My muscles are just starting to warm up, my lungs are getting used to sucking in deep breaths of air and my body is just protesting in general. However, I knew that this discomfort was temporary.
I was doing one-mile intervals this morning (run one mile, walk 1/4 mile) and by the third one, I had found my rhythm. Pardon the train reference (I’ve been spending too much time watching Thomas), I felt like an engine chugging around the track. Everything was regular and predictable – the length of my stride, the rhythm of my breathing, the easy swing of my arms. This is what I was waiting for.
By my last interval, I was tired, spent and glad that I had come out on this foggy morning. I’m still a ways away from an effortless 10-miler, but each journey starts with a single step and each mile with a single lap.
I may be rusty, but I’m well on my way.
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