I understand their humiliation; I have re-joined their ranks a dozen times. After 16 weeks recovering from a fractured foot, I am once again a new runner. It starts before the first step out the door – waistband too tight, lycra threatening to burst. My GPS watch takes forever looking for satellites and then asks me if I’m in a different state. Great, techno sarcasm.
The run begins. Every ounce of my body conspires with gravity to slow me down. I’m barely moving, but breathing is difficult. I imagine faces behind every window, watching, judging. The first mile takes forever, and I can’t imagine stringing 26, ten, or even five of these together.
The sun breaks the horizon. The effort to breathe eases and my steps flow more naturally. My shoulders relax and I straighten a bit. I become lost in a stream of consciousness that includes memory, planning, poetry and rock music.
Nothing worth anything is easy, but the difficulty is usually in starting. I’m now 14 runs and 68 miles past the first sentence of this piece, and each builds on the success of the one before. The lycra is easing, the GPS doesn’t gripe, and those imagined faces are beginning to smile.