The first mile is always the hardest, it’s like my body isn’t quite sure what’s going on and my muscles are all a little too stiff and my pace feels janky and I feel stupidly self-concious and focused on tugging at my clothes since everything seems to be heading towards an unflattering, uncomfortable location.

Then at some point my core tightens and I sort of lift up and re-arrange myself. My shoulders pull back, my arms move smoothly, my legs feel strong and good. I find a rhythm and work within it. My breath made of steady deep breaths: I leave uniform plumes of cold-air smoke. Music is playing in my ears and I am thinking of nothing and everything. I am in a powerful current that’s moving through me and I am moving through it and the world is flashing by like some great colorful swirl and my heart is straining at my chest with pure joy.

And . . . then there’s a hill or a side cramp or a growing ache in my knees or ankles or I simply for whatever reason fall out of that wonderful pocket and once again become all too aware of my pounding feet, the distance I’ve still got to go, the fact that my stupid waistband won’t stay put and my ponytail’s coming undone.

I think everyone can agree running feels good when you’re done, but I never really believed that it could feel good while you’re doing it. Now I know: it can. Even if it’s only for a short while, between the awkward warmup and the tired ending. Man, I wish I could bottle it and pour you a glass.

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