I'm currently training to run in the Air Force Marathon (the half-marathon version, to be precise). My running buddy Steve and I have a training schedule which gradually increases our mileage until the big day (Sept 20th!), and last Friday, we ran 6 miles for the first time.
It was awful.
The weather was hot, humid and painful. We hit the three mile mark and we both wanted to just lay down and cry. I don't recall ever feeling quite that bad during or after a run.
But today we ran 6 miles again and it was amazing. The temperature was a slightly-chilly 60 degrees, and when we hit the half-way point, we just looked at each other and said "Really? Already?" When we finished, we both felt like we could have gone on quite a bit further if necessary. In fact, I think we both were a bit giddy, it felt so good.
Now, I realize it was probably mostly because of the temperature, but I'd like to think we're making some progress in our fitness level. Also, doing 6 miles for the first time is quite a different experience than doing it a second time. Running is so very psychological.
I mention this because lately I'd been thinking about all this running as a way to keep healthy
and avoid being decrepit as I get older. It was very much about the future benefits of today's exercise. But today I was reminded that running has benefits and joys in the here and now.