Looking back helps me look ahead

A year (and two years) ago at this time, my longest run since I started running again in 2004 had been 4 miles. I was among those people who ran, but never did more than 3 miles at a time and only ran 5K races. I thought anything beyond that was just crazy. Three years ago at this time I was really just starting off and enjoying getting ready for my wedding. Four years ago, running was something I used to do, as I weighed nearly 220 pounds. I have to look back at where I've been over the years to help me put the rest of this year into perspective. As a teen, I was just in shape by default. I played football on the street in the neighborhood; I road my bike miles and miles without thinking; I played basketball nearly every day from November through March; I "ran" track a few different times. Simply put, like I say now that I "just do it," I did it back then. Then came college in which every year I gained weight here and there. I can blame in on the pizza and beer all I want, but honestly, it was more about what I didn't do. I gradually stopped doing the things that kept me in shape without thinking about it. It's as simple as that. After college, that trend continued. It took getting married for me to take a hard look at myself and have that urge to change my ways that led to 200-plus pounds.

So 2004 was the year of change for me, and for two and a half years I kept that same routine of running a few times a week. I've now come to think of 2006 of being even a bigger year of change when it comes to running. Like I said earlier, a year ago at this time my "long run" really wasn't that long. In the past year, 4 miles has become more of the norm, I've ran a 5 miler, three 10Ks, a 10 miler and two half marathons. Each time out I feel better and my race pace has gradually improved. But now comes that true test of preparing for the November marathon. Now that I have taken a look back at my running days (or lack thereof), it's time to look ahead and get focused.