Closer to home by four miles, yet I covered no ground.
Treadmills are wonderful inventions, especially for the mid-Atlantic region where heat and humidity, or bitter cold depending on the season, make outdoor exercise unbearable.
2,582 miles left to go, and I will do them, though many will be on the treadmill because while the dry, warm air of home energized my running, the heavy, moist air of my current locale blunts it.
A lot of bad things started happening when I stopped running. Things I’d never experienced in my 42 years, and never want to experience again.
First was the full-blown panic attack. A really bad day at work caught up with me on the drive home when, on I-95 South, my mind decided that my body should share its misery about that day’s piling-on from management. An invisible fist pressed hard on my sternum, then I got tunnel vision. I gripped the wheel and fought for each breath through a locked jaw, convinced that a heart attack wasn’t out of the question. Twenty miles of interstate lay ahead, yet I couldn’t move my limbs and could barely see. Still don’t remember how I made it home; I must have gone into auto-pilot.
Almost a year later came the lower back. It completely gave out; turned to mush. A pinched nerve kept me close to the floor, in bed, or moving with the speed and grace of someone twice my age for almost two weeks. Pain so intense that the wrong movement could elicit sounds I didn’t know I could make. Never in my life do I want to be that helpless again.
Thus, I will run 2,586 miles, mostly in one to three mile increments, sometimes more. This goal represents the Google Maps-calculated distance from my current locale to my Southern California birthplace, where I feel most at home.
If I can’t make it there literally, then I will make it there figuratively. That’s all the inspiration I need to get running again. I won’t need music or any other distraction during my runs; I’ll just dream about home.
Of course, my hope and prayer is that a new job will bring me home before I reach the 2,586 mile mark. If that happens, then I promise to finish the miles out of joy, vice necessity.