Our life is made of of routines, standards constants. When I started running again 10 years ago my standard run was a 3.2 mile loop around a nearby neighborhood. Some days I would do the loop twice or add onto the loop but when I review my log books from back then I repeatedly see 3.2, 3.2 , 3.2. When you come around the corner and see the car there and you know that you don't have to run anymore it is really tough to keep going, so you stop and write down 3.2.
Then I moved to the other end of the city, only 2 miles from a National park. My new standard became a 5.1 mile loop. I love loops because once your 2 miles in, there isn't really any turning back. I'd park my car and run my old standby, the Surrender Road 5.1 mile loop. This became my new minimum, my new standard. Oh there were lots of days that I'd run more, but the go to favorite, the workhouse run, became the 5.1 loop. No more 3.2's, I had advanced past that meager distance, I wasn't a beginner anymore, I was a 5.1er.
Several weeks ago I started run from my home to the park, running my 5.1 loop and then home again. It was cleaner, simpler, easier. No cars no mess, just out the door and start running. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow. Some days I'd add on the French loop for 3 more miles but manly just the run to the Park and then my old friend the 5.1 loop.
I reviewed my schedule this morning and noticed that there weren't anymore 5.1's in my log but a bunch of 9's and 12's. The 2 miles from my house to the park and then the 2 miles back streched my runs to 9 miles. I still get to see my old friend everyday but after I get a good warm up. My relationship with 5.1 was always casual and the first mile or 2 were always slow and easy. Now I have a feeling that we are going to get serious a lot more often.