There’s something stuck in my head about running six miles. I’ll do it a few times a week. There are many six-mile loops to choose from. But there’s also something about having that simple, trusty out-and-back that requires no thought. Amidst a lot of change in a short amount of time, there’s something to be said for that little comfort in routine. Running won’t change; I’ll have that!
If I’m wearing a watch or listening to something, that means I pay almost no attention to the details of my run. I notice trees, squint in the sunshine, and stop a lot to take photos, but I hardly ever make note of mile markers or the time it takes to get from point A to point B. This doesn’t bother me until it’s something I need to know. Like, OK I’ll meet Sam by the Key Bridge tomorrow morning. And then I’m wondering, how long does it usually take me to run to there?? Almost every single run I do from our condo includes the Key Bridge. This shouldn’t be that hard.
On Sunday I took it back to my HR-training days and forced a SLOW, EASY run. These are relative terms, let’s not forget that. These runs are good for me, I know that. It’s good for my aerobic base, good for my ego (to shut the F up), and good for my recovery. It’s an opportunity to tune in and pay attention. It’s a reminder that, sometimes, miles are miles and I should be glad I can run them.
This will be my go-to run, I thought. I will go out for exactly three miles, turn around, and run it back. The precise turn-around point is a covered pothole on the Mount Vernon trail, next to a lamppost. I took note of these details, so that I can turn to this run whenever I need to, with or without the watch. I will slowly jog myself right to that pothole, and then head back. This route ends with a hill, which will become easier to run but for now, it’s a walk. (Katie taught me well.) Yesterday, these six miles took me one hour and thirty seconds to complete.
A lot of things changed in my little world last week, so I gave myself this. Six miles: simple, slow, and stable. Right the pothole and back along familiar ground.