Mike Moran: Finally hitting the pavement again
It only took about 16 years for these feet to hit the pavement.
The last time I went for a run was freshman year in college. I had grand illusions of staying in shape, keeping my body fit enough to stay a sub-5 minute miler.
College got in the way. Not books. That took up a lot time. My remaining free time was spent working or closing every bar in Boston.
Once I stopped running I never picked it up again. I golfed more and walked with my wife. Then I had kids. And this year the truth surfaced. I’m not in shape. I haven’t been in shape. My kids run circles around me. They know it. I know it.
In February, I had my physical. The truth was in the numbers. My body mass index number was just over 20, the same number of pounds my doctor told me to lose. It was the second straight year we had this conversation: I tell him I’m going to get in shape. He says OK, knowing very well a year later he’s going to hear my “It’s the winter time and I just got done with the holidays” excuse for not getting in shape.
I tell him to move my physical to August and he’ll see a difference. He doesn’t buy it and that’s when I decided to start running. I bought shoes and until Friday they remained as clean as they were sitting on the rack.
I don’t know what gave me the motivation to take those first few jogs Friday night. I get the urge a few times every year but never follow through. I get it after covering the western Massachusetts cross country championships. I get it after watching the Boston Marathon. I get it after watching the season ending track and field championships.
Each time the shoes remained clean.
This time, the motivation was myself. I was off Friday night. It was a nice, cool evening and I just said ‘time to go.’
I decided to run two miles. I was going to take it easy so how difficult could it be?
I headed down my street and it was like riding a bike, until a half-mile in when I had to remember to breathe. At three-quarters a mile I had a side stitch on my left side. I guess my three-pack wasn’t cutting it so I slowed a bit.
At a mile my lungs were heavy but I was OK. I had quit smoking almost six years ago so that was probably just my lungs reminding me of what I did to them.
At a mile-plus I was still upright with loose arms, but my right ankle, the one I busted in high school playing basketball, was sore and my left calf was flaring.
With less than a half-mile to go I had to stop. I almost “lost it.” Five seconds later I was moving and with every muscle in my lower half hurting, I finished.
Two miles done. Two miles in the book. My cool-down walk felt like a cool-down wobble. My legs were jello, but it was worth it.
My body will pay for it in the morning, but the plan is for my feet to hit the pavement Saturday night.
Mike Moran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.