It’s the last line, by Paul Newman, in “The Color of Money.”
I actually said this during this morning’s run in Salisbury, Connecticut. My wife and I stayed at a B&B in town, and I went out for a run in the morning. It was a bit chilly. I had been seduced by our recent warmer weather, and did not bring gloves. No matter. An extra pair of running socks would do.
5 miles. Felt so-so going out on a decent road, Route 41, heading up to Massachusetts, although I turned well south of the border. It began simply enough as I headed north and I felt a bit tired and struggled. But my Garmin got me through mile 1 at 7:12. This is beautiful country, in a valley between mountains (or hills to some) in the southern part of the Berkshires and you pass fields that expose the mountains. But I don’t much notice my surroundings, just the road ahead.
Mile 2 wasn’t much faster — 7:02 — but I started to feel strong and relaxed. I also felt I was going up, but not dramatically, with some downhill breaks. But a decent down hill right before the turn-around at 2.5, and heading back. Not a long run, but I’m still building up. What I thought would be a decent hill on the way south felt like nothing. Then I start going downhill on a stretch of road that didn’t feel like an uphill at all, or only marginally so. And it feels pretty steep. Mile 3 at 6:48, including a hill, and I realize that I ran up most of the way coming out but hardly noticed.
Now I’m along for the ride. Feel relaxed but cruise. 6:33. Pick it up into town. 6:26. Add a little more and finished at 5.1.
Why the enthusiasm? I’ve always prided myself as a good uphill runner. I lose ground coming down, but never on the way up. But recently, going back to the summer, I began to struggle a bit, which began a cycle of doubting that I’d get that confidence again. Today, for the first time in too long, I knew I had it. Relaxed even stride and up we go. I’m not talking about brutal, change-your-stride hills. Just long gradual ones. Piece of cake.
I feel — who knows what will happen tomorrow — that I’ve turned a corner in my coming back. And I’m starting to believe that I actually can come back.