My old training diaries, full of now antique, frequently hilarious, and occasionally appalling obsessive detail on distance, time, effort, weather, weight, pulse, and mood, are peppered with occasional days marked simply, VS2. This was my common notation during recovery from an illness or a minor injury (or in one case a memorable celebratory binge), and it meant Very Short and Very Slow. Bookmark running. Show-the-flag running. Don’t-get-out-of-the-habit running.

I’m now engaged in some Get-back-in-the-habit running which, needless to say, is VS2. It’s also turning out to be unusually satisfying. I am definitely and definitively not training for anything, even some sort of creaking elderly “special mile.” I’m not trying to get faster or go farther. I’m just out fairly early in the morning gently moving around this rather pretty town.

A few years ago, the great Gerry Lindgren, not much older than me but a boyhood hero all the same, was quoted as saying something along the lines of “I have a four-minute brain and a seven-minute body,” and admitted he was always getting hurt. My brain never had to get used to four-minute miles, but like many aging runners I’ve suffered a milder version of the same syndrome (I think it actually has more to do with rhythm or leg turnover than speed per se). For now, though, VS2 is just fine, and as I wrote last time, I’m happy keeping track of tunes instead of times. Yesterday was girls’ name day: “Peggy Sue” and “Maybelline”. This morning, the Shuffle started with “Stand By Me” and finished me off with “Just One Look”. I’ll keep you posted on tunes. Times? Just figure VS.

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