I have always increased my mileage one mile at a time. If the most I had run before was eight miles, I increased to nine. After 14 (once) would come 15.
This is so slow. I feel as if for months I have been running in place. Furthermore, five loops around the Academy track is a perfect 16 miles.
The temperature was at freezing when I started. By the time I finished kids were running bare-chested. I still gave myself indiscriminate permission to walk, in deference to the groin-hip-sacrum area, where various parts of the mechanism still relate to each other as if they have been only recently fitted together. My splits were disheartening, so after two rounds I gave up on timing myself. I did not look at the watch anymore, but I saw the sun shifting, the shadows shrinking.
After three loops I had enough, but I had planned for five and done four the week before, so I felt obliged to engage on the fourth. After four loops I had more than enough, but there were still five on the schedule, and only one more to go. So I sighed and started crawling again.
16 miles. 3 h 18 minutes. In the simplistic vein I have adopted from the beginning to rationalize the incomprehensibility of these distances, I am telling myself: only ten more to go.
Seriously, that first day a year ago, when - panting and clueless - I finished my very first mile, that's what I told myself: only 25 more to go.