2022 has been blazing past me. My psychological struggles with my running, which began in early 2021, continued. 2020 was an excellent year for my training. My employer kept me home most of the year. I was in great shape when I returned to work in November 2020. Coming off a year of often working out twice a day, my weight was in the low 140s, and my body fat percentage was below 15%. But I didn't fare well re-entering the world. We were at 100% mask use most of 2021 and have been most of 2022. The absurd argument about masks and freedom raged everywhere. The recent Ukraine invasion underscores America as the land of the entitled. With Ukrainians fighting for their very political, if not actual, lives, America's argument about mask freedoms is an international embarrassment. A nation of people who put their convenience and comfort ahead of the lives of even a few of their fellow citizens will never be great again.

The stress of work, the stress of the national political scene, and the oppressiveness of the pandemic all conjoined to erode my sense of purpose and focus. I found it increasingly difficult to hit my running miles, though my strength training remained strong. I became inconsistent with my mileage. The three running-related injuries I experienced in 2020 are unprecedented. I typically am forced to lay off running approximately every three years. Two layoffs were related to a mysterious pain across my right calf muscle. The pain is sharp, only occurs while running, and appears with little or no warning. The downtime is six to eight weeks. And nothing seemed to explain its source adequately.

Inexcusably, I gained ten pounds from November 2020 through May 2022. The reason is simple. Running thirty to forty miles burns a lot of calories. Twenty-mile weeks or being injured burn a lot less. I probably spent a third of 2021 not running because of injuries. When I don't run, my daily structure begins to crumble. I missed weight workouts and did not compensate for the decreased calorie consumption. Ten pounds of fat was the inevitable result. Quite honestly, some of that excess comes from ethanol.

In April 2022, the mysterious calf pain returned. This time my research found at least one article that seemed to explain its origin: micro-tears in the muscle. This time, the injury cost me five weeks of training. I think the sporadic training makes me more susceptible to injury.

Appropriately, my return to running occurred with one tentative run in the week of May 16, almost at the year's halfway mark. The first half of the year was inconsistent as I continued to lack the focus to build miles. I have half a year to redeem 2022. This week, I am pulling back to rest my tissues for a continued build over the next six months.

Life is a statement of who you are. I feel at age 70 breathing down my back. "Never, never, never give up."