TITLE: Forming a New Old Habit AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: February 26, 2007 6:00 PM DESC: ----- BODY: I've been frustrated in the last week by my inability to run. After finally recovering from my downtime, I worked in a week of 3-milers, and then flew to Arizona for ChiliPLoP. In Carefree, I was able to run twice, extending my time on the road in an effort to rebuild stamina. While I wasn't quite ready to circle Black's Mountain yet, I was able to enjoy the beautiful terrain of the February desert. The hills made it a bit difficult for me to estimate distance from my times, but I did manage to run for 43 and 41 minutes, respectively. Then came the frustration. After the second of my Carefree runs, I lost a few days to the last day of the conference and the travel home. I'm willing to run under crazy circumstances, but driving home until 3 AM makes it tough to run at 5 AM... Then I caught up on work and sleep for a couple of days. Just as I was ready to run, we were hit by some inclement weather. I've gone on record for running in the cold, but there is one kind of weather that causes me pause: ice. Cold can be addressed with layers -- more and better layers of clothing. But a two-inch layer of ice, glassy and transparent, is a whole different matter. Even the most dedicated runners have to adjust. But I am ready to run again, so it will happen. This morning, I circumvented the ice by running indoors. Sticking with my plan for a slow and steady return, I ran only four miles and did my best to avoid the speed-up that come almost naturally when I am running short laps in the presence of others. Establishing new habits, even ones that used to be old habits, takes time. Running offers a physical reminder of this, via sore muscles and fatigue. But with time, the habit returns to match the desire to run. -----