I'm visiting my parents in Connecticut, who still live in the house where I grew up. As I run on roads where I rode the bus in middle school or go past the house of my best friend in 5th grade, I've thought about how I've changed since those days. As I've mentioned a few times here, I was an athletic late-bloomer, not uncovering my inner jock until I started rowing in college. Before that I was a reader, not a runner or a rower.
Just as I no longer have bifocal glasses (to correct a lazy eye) or waist-length hair, I'm no longer inactive. But this morning on my 8.25-mile run, I suddenly realized how we continue evolving. It's not just that we're different from our teenage selves or who we were in our 20s, but even who we were last year or when we were training for our last big race. Despite turning another year older last week, I can still push the "reset" button and be pleased with the results.
Sometimes it's subtle changes: My long-run pace used to be 9:30-9:45. During this marathon training, I now hit 9:15-9:25 on long runs (yesteday on a hilly, 60-degree 18-miler, I averaged 9:23-minute miles). Other times it's more noticeable: My tempo pace is now an unwavering 8:15-8:25, whereas for my 2007 marathon, I struggled to get it down to 8:50. And I also have a different attitude toward hills: Instead of dreading them, I now get a thrill out of climbing them.
New challenges produce new attitudes and new skills. It's exciting to look back and see how far I've come--and how far I can still go.