Today, I ran 7 miles.

I haven’t run that far since my marathon, in May 2011. Actually, I take that back. Last fall when I decided to start half-ass training for a half-marathon (note to self: half only applies to the distance, not the dedication of training!), I forced myself to do 10 miles as a “wake-up call” of sorts, which was not the best of strategies. Last fall I tried to do too much, too soon, and I failed. I ended up hurting myself and making it nearly impossible to even run a little bit.

Over the winter I gradually started running a little more, but not without pain in my knee. I finally switched shoes (back to my old, standard Asics) and was suddenly able to run without pain. But I still couldn’t run a lot.

I started one mile at a time. Literally, the first few weeks, months even, I only ran a mile at a time. I took things slowly until I was sure that my knee pain wasn’t going to creep back up on me, and as it stayed in check, I started to add a little more distance here and there. I took it as an opportunity to work on my pace, running shorter distances at a faster tempo. By April I was running two miles at a time, and by May I could actually keep up with my boyfriend (comfortably, too!) for two miles at his pace (his slow pace, probably, but nonetheless!).

Before I knew it I was going three miles. Then one day, even four! That four miles was so epic for me, and I ran it at a pace that I’d never achieved before above one mile.

At that point I made the decision to pick a marathon this fall and start training for it. If I really wanted to get serious about getting better (I did), I needed a serious plan to stick to. I put together an 18-week program and gave myself PLENTY of time to build up my distance, SLOWLY.

I’ve been keeping most of my runs during the week nice and short (not above three miles), working on my pace. Saturdays (or Sundays) are reserved for my long, slow distance run. Today, that was seven miles, and I did it comfortably in 80+ degree weather.

I guess my point to all this is, a couple of months ago I felt like I would NEVER be able to get back to where I once was as a runner. Even when I started training for the marathon, I still had my doubts. Running four or five miles I thought to myself, I am never going to get there. But with persistence and dedication and most importantly, PATIENCE, I am slowly (but surely) getting there. One day at a time, one run at a time.

By the way, I got new shoes so I am no longer running in my two year old, beat-to-death Asics. They are the new Saucony Kinvara 3 which, so far, are phenomenal (*fingers crossed*).