14:35 ... 13:25 ... 12:48 ...
The numbers tick down like an esoteric version of the space launch countdown. The trails become easier with each passing week. From month to month, as the mileage increases, those numbers keep falling.
A month ago on this same portion of the Buckeye Trail, my pace had taken a step back, but this time it was a full two minutes faster per mile, despite the return to late summer heat and tacking on 10 more minutes of running.
Yes, a funny thing happens when you run consistently. It's a lesson that you'd probably forget if your running resembled anything like mine over the past couple years, where my mileage topped out at 532 in 2011 and 376 last year. By contrast, my mileage in 2009 was more than those two years combined, by more than 60 miles.
Remembering the soaring feeling that running can evoke has led to a resurgence this month. My running clothes have been riding shotgun in my car almost everyday. It's much easier to go for a run after work when my gear is always right there. Just set a course and go.