I can’t believe I started running when I was 40 years old, and now I’m 48. Where does the time go? It was 8 years ago today that I started on this adventure.

After a slow and easy winter, I got back to running in April.

Knowing I’d be slow, running on flat ground didn’t sound appealing, so I went for the hills.

Being out of breath and slow just ain’t a fun time. That’s why I started seeking hills to climb, knowing that I’d be slow, but at least I was climbing a mountain, you know?

I always remember the old running adage, “Hills are speedwork in disguise.” I wasn’t looking for speed; I was looking for strength and fitness. Every step up a hill was a single leg press, and every step down was a forward lunge.

Since starting on April 19th I’m down 12.5lbs, and I am definitely stronger and fitter. I’ve put in 75 hours on mostly trails, covered 283 miles, and climbed 36,800′ in elevation (about 7 miles).

Mind you, I’m mostly power hiking the hills, but you gotta walk before you can run. And when I do run, I’m finally able to nail a 12 minute mile pace, which is definitely an improvement from a few months ago when I’d run 14-15 minute miles. A few more months, I’m sure I’ll be able to hit a 10:30 minute mile pace.

The fun part has been how good it’s felt, which is why I keep doing it. It feels good going up a “mountain,” you know? I’ve gone up a trail called Leg Destroyer a few times. Some runs I’ve climbed 1,400′.

It’s been fun getting back in the flow, building up a base again, and making every run an adventure. I might not be doing epic 100 mile challenges just yet, but like I said earlier, gotta walk before you can run.