The Pace of my Twenty-Third

A year ago, after I finished twenty-two milesfor the very first time in celebration of my twenty-second birthday, I had no doubt I would be running twenty-three at the end of the next November.  Maybe I could even hit faster mile splits during the second half and run on 3:20 marathon pace.  Well, some things just don't go as planned.  This year, I walked.  Not twenty-three miles, but forty-two minutes.


I drove to a new (for me) access point to the Florida Trail in the Osceola National Forest, left my car on the side of the road, and bounded down the trail. I am not a slow walker, which is likely why long walks still leave me in some pain. What I'm realizing is that I am covering very little distance, and I am still adjusting to that.  Slowing down, well slowing to more than eight fifteen minute miles, is allowing me to truly take in my new home.  Cypress trees are few, pines are plentiful.  So much for the sandy paths that seems to drag my feet downward.  These trails are hard packed, lightly covered with a layer of pine needles.  My legs and hips are quite grateful for that.  Time seems to pass quickly when there is so much to see and learn.


Just as my watch ticked 42:30, I returned to my car parked alongside the quiet road. The wind rustled the needles at the tops of the pines, the sun casting long shadows of the trees on the palmettos below. I am so glad that this is my home. Most twenty-three year olds who I know, just out of college, it seems, would much rather move to large cities and enjoy the busier, faster way of life. Well, I am quite happy with my pace in my small town.


As I ate some good, small town BBQ that I picked up on the way home, I though 23 miles can come later.  I suppose I have 365 days to get it in. 




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