I ran three miles today. This may not seem like a big deal to you hardcore runners out there, and it shouldn’t be to me considering I used to run that distance four or five times a week with a longer six-miler on the weekend. But almost a year ago I had back surgery and had stopped running several months prior to that, so it’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve done any kind of running. I spent that time, instead, smoking cigars. Two weeks ago I’d finally had enough and was ready to face my fear: that running might hurt so badly that I would have to admit to myself that I could never do it again. That hasn’t been the case. Just the opposite, in fact, as I feel better than I have in a long, long time. I started up again slowly, by walking, then running a mile, then two and today was my first three, which is a milestone for me. I’ve got my eye on a couple of 5ks coming up and am thinking about the St. Jude Half Marathon at the end of this year, but it’s still way too early to talk about that.
I know this isn’t much, a three-mile run. It’s not like I’m Lance Armstrong (though I’d rather have more disk taken out than, you know, what he had to let go) or Prefontaine, but maybe, if I keep working, I can be that 80-year-old man I see coming out of the gym every morning on the way to work. Thanks to sheer determination, the 18 ibuprofen tablets I chew every day, and realizing I was going to need to do something to give me the edge against The Quartet and their energy, I’m back running … for now.