I’ve been working out regularly for the last twelve years and I consider myself to be in pretty good shape. I had a bit of a setback last year because of my foot surgery, but since then I’ve been working at getting back to where I was. It was months before I could walk at all and my surgeon advised against running. Once I began walking I noticed that I couldn’t walk as fast on the treadmill as I had in the past. My normal treadmill walking pace was 4.0 to 4.2 miles per hour. After my surgery I had to turn it down to 3.5 and have just recently graduated to 3.8. When walking outside, I have not worried about mileage or pace – just walking. Now I am signed up for a 10k next month and a couple of half-marathons over the following months, so today I pulled my Garmin Forerunner out of the drawer for the first time in a year. I leashed-up the big dog and headed out for a 5-mile walk. In the past my outside training and racing (I don’t really race anyone, just myself) pace for walking was 12-13 minute miles. I was shocked today when I had to push like crazy to get my first mile in at a 15 minute-per-mile pace! I felt like I’d forgotten how to walk. My foot flapped down with each step, I couldn’t remember how to get the heel-toe-push-off movement going. I felt like a big oaf! Finally, somewhere around 2.5 miles, my feet started moving with a nice rolling motion, my body naturally leaned forward a bit and my arms started pumping. I could feel the change and it felt good! I finished my five miles in 1:14 – one minute under an overall 15 minute-per-mile pace. Not as fast as I’ve been in the past, but I don’t think this is the beginning of an age-related decline in pace – I’m not yet to that point. I know I’m still able to improve my pace. I’ll be back out there tomorrow and I expect my body to cooperate well before 2.5 miles! I will however, leave the running for another day…or week…or month.