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Saturday, May 5, 2007

Beginnings: Hitting the Track Again After All These Years

I joined a running club this week. A track club, really. I don't know its official name, but American track great Jim Spivey coaches it. It might not have an official name. I don't care. It was great to be on the track again.

I used to run. A lot. At one point, I had reach 100 miles a week, and was biking four days a week 13 miles each way to practice. I was 17 or 18 then, and now I'm 40.

What Has Changed?
For starters, 22 years. Then, I gained 37+ lbs. I'm just under 140 now, but, in my day, I was a lean (some say gaunt) 107 lbs. I have lost a few since poking close to 145. Not one ounce gained is muscle. Add to that at least one bout with severe bronchitis. All of this affects my ability to run fast.

A big change too, is I have no clear goal about why I am running. Then, at 17, I had dreams beyond my abilities.

Vaguely, I want to run under 20:00 for a 5K. It is embarrassing to not know if it is possible after having run many in the low 16s. Still, it is a nice number, and guys my age run 19-something all the time. However, if I hit a road race today, this morning, I suspect I would be lucky to get 27:00. That is nothing to be ashamed of, mind you. I know that. Ultimately, the great benefit is health.

Running, at its core level, will offer me a cleaner body. Muscles will be tone. Stress will be released. A myriad of other physiological benefits will be gained. Mentally, beyond stress, there is the excitement of racing.

That excitement already exists, even at my slow pace.

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