Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Small Accomplishment

In an era of constant contact, Facebook, Twitter, smartphones, etc. we seem to celebrate major accomplishments.  And consider almost every accomplishment as significant. What I sometimes forget is that it takes several small victories to achieve a big accomplishment. 

Now this may start off like a previous post on running, but it looks at a different aspect of running. In fact, this blog post could apply to numerous hobbies and other activities. This blog is about a small victory I achieved today.

First, some background (and you should not be surprised).  I decided to lose weight 18 months ago. No fad diet, just watching what I ate, the quantity, and exercising. It is amazing when you actually measure a single serving (this could also be called how I learned to really love vegetable).  The exercise was primarily a spinning class. This may surprise people, but I cannot tell you how many pounds I lost, but my waist line is 6-8 inches smaller. This is not meant to impress or brag. I tell you this because it plays into my small accomplishment.

For a long time I wanted to run. When I was a student at Texas Christian University and living in Fort Worth, TX I used to run and I really enjoyed it (yes it was a long time ago). Fast forward to 2010 – after a 15 year hiatus I tried to run but could not get around the block.  It was that hard and painful.

And now we are at today (more or less). Since I moved to Prince William County, VA I decided to try running again.  That was eight weeks ago.  My son and wife told me the only equipment I absolutely needed was good shoes, which I purchased.  And I am glad I listened to them.

Before I go too far into this, I need to set the background on my running regiment.  (Yes, I know it is taking many paragraphs, but eventually I will get to today’s victory). As noted in an earlier post, I have a trail I like to run in the Manassas Battlefield Park.  It is well marked, easy to follow, and diverse. Most people would say I have a somewhat moderate paced jog.  I run as far as I can and then walk. If I can run again, I do.  Sometimes I can and sometimes I cannot.   

My first run eight weeks ago was very short and difficult.  I almost gave up, but I was not in pain. What I realized is that I could run again.  And I bought the new running shoes.  That was a small win.  So each time I tried to go farther.  

(Hang on, we are almost to the point).  Two weeks ago I found a stopwatch. So I decided to see how long I could run right out of the gate. My first timed run was 6 minutes.  It was less distance than I had previously run.  The second timed run was 7:20 minutes.  My third timed run was over 8 minutes.  Today I ran 11:35, my best timed run and best run ever. I know it was my best because it was also the farthest I have ever gone.

Now I know most of you can run much farther than I can. But be warned, I am catching up.

For me running farther and longer each time is a small accomplishment.  We all have our own ways to measure personal progress.  Even when I do not go as far as I did on the previous run I know the next run I could go even farther.  This is somewhat of a change. It is easy to get discouraged, but I view this as a journey. Some days are better than others. 

That is why this blog is titled “A Small Accomplishment.”  It could have been also called a series of small accomplishments.  With these small victories I am stumped as to what my significant accomplishment will be.  No matter, I will eventually think of it. After all, it is just part of the running experience on the trail.


November 27, 2011.  A very good day, I posted my best run time. It was 14:06 minutes.  It was a Sunday and I was not sure I wanted to run, but I was glad that I did.   It is a journey and one I am enjoying.

December 20, 2011. I was on vacation in my hometown of Midland, TX.  My best run time, it was 19:40.  Of course part of the reason was I could not find the car.

December 22, 2011. Still on vacation in Midland, TX.  My track is the Midland Community College campus.  My best run time to date:  21:44. And yes, I did know where my car was parked.

January 1, 2012.  I ran on my favorite trail in the Manassas Battlefield Park and posted my best time to date: 24:21.  It is a great and refreshing way to start the new year.

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