At the End of October

Here I am at the end of October. At my age and with my starting over at running, I have made many considerable changes to how I go about things. One of those is that I am not running every day. Even more shocking, there will be times when I skip two days without running.

And that’s okay!

Just like embracing a slower pace, there is no need for me to run every day, or at least six days a week to accomplish what it is I want to accomplish. And there is no need to push myself, risking injury. Besides, old bones need more time to recover than they used to.

So here we are on October 31, Halloween, and no running today. As I have now officially closed my first month of running after more than a dozen years, I can look back on what I have accomplished and feel pretty good about it. Yes, I am slow. No, there is nothing about my running that resembles anything that a great runner looks like as they spring their way down the road.

And that’s okay, too!

As John Bingham once wrote, “I am a runner because I run.”

My goal was eight miles for my last run of the month, yesterday, heading a couple of hours after church on a Sunday afternoon. I felt good. There was no lingering pain, and I felt rested. The longest run of my first month back at running was 7.2 miles, so 8 seemed reasonable.

The area that I ran pushed me to the edge of town, up against the desert. It was quiet and comfortable, and with my iPod and playlist, I was waddling (or Penguining) along just fine to REM, The Cars, Wang Chung, Duran Duran, and others. I was, following the advice of Wang Chung, having fun (as in Everybody Have Fun Tonight), though my run was a party of one.

I thought for a time that I might be getting some company on my run. There is nothing like a sign warning about rattlesnakes to get your eyes scouring the ground and your mind consumed with them.

Fortunately, the party remained a party of one. No rattlesnakes or coyotes this day.

But eight miles never happened in October (and that’s okay, too.) Though the temperature was comfortable, as the sun fell in the west and began to beat me again on the side of my face, and shoulder, I began to sap whatever endurance, and stamina, I had left, and my run ended at six miles. Switching my Garmin to a walking exercise, I lumbered my way home the rest of the way, grabbing bottled water at a corner market on the way.

So while there has been nothing pretty or awesome about my restarted running experience, I ran. And my total for my first month back in October, was a smidgen over 46 miles. When you add in that my first run back from the brink was on October 6, I’d say, “Not too bad for an old fat man.”