When I had a layoff from running in August and September, I despaired about ever getting back to a decent speed. It took so long for me to get comfortable at a 10 minute mile pace, and even over the summer when I was running I felt like I had lost it.

But it turns out that running more improves my running more. I’ve gone from a maybe once a week run to a three to four times a week run, focusing on different types of running. I’ve got a 4 mile run that includes a steep, hilly section. I’ve got a 2 mile quickie run. A 5 mile long run that I’m thinking about extending to 6 – I just need to map out a good route that adds a mile to my existing loop. And any of those runs can be modified by the addition of the 20 pound weight vest.

And then there’s the Run Club, which lets me run with other runners and forces me to expand my lung capacity by talking and running at the same time. Running with that group has already shown dividends. I recorded a sub-10 minute mile on my 5 mile loop last Sunday after only two meetings, and I’m totally willing to attribute that to running with people who are faster than me.

But even though they are faster, I’m not comparing myself to them. I’m not competing. I’m trying to better myself, yes, but the goal isn’t some vague kind of winning. The goal is to improve myself and discover exactly what the best me can do.

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