Einstein tells us that the faster you go, the slower time goes for everyone else; if, say, you got on the Millenium Falcon and did the Kessel Run in less than, say, 12 parsecs, you'd age nary a moment, while those poor young schmucks that you left back on Tattooine would be collecting their Imperial Social Security checks and bitching about those damn Jawas on their lawns when you returned.
I was thinking about Einstein yesterday as I was running down the Pacific Beach boardwalk. This was a somewhat auspicious occasion; the first real run (i.e., one that involved actual forward momentum and not a treadmill) I'd taken in months, the time I'd run on the Pacific Beach boardwalk in...wow. Years. Although I wasn't moving at my old Barry Allen-esque clip, it was still respectable, all things considered: two miles in 20 minutes. And I actually enjoyed myself; got a taste of that Runner's High, and wasn't in agony upon finishing. (No pain today, either.)
Along the way, I felt time slow around me. The boardwalk was as it was those years ago. There were the frentic skateboarders, and the guys on their laconic fat-tired Beach Cruisers. Surfers with boards tucked under their arms squinted at the horizon. The deck at Lahaina's was packed with late afternoon drinkers, waiting to toast the sunset. It even smelled the same; the scent of the ocean mixed with stale beer, cigarette smoke, and suntan oil. Same as it ever was, a moveable feast that never really moved.
It was a good start; I've a ways to go before I'm back at the level that I was five years ago. If I get back to that level at all. It occured to me, on the drive home, that back then I was more of a running obsessive than an enthusiast; five to seven miles a day, sometimes more, five days a week, sometimes more. Of course I know why - back then I had a lot to burn, a whole bunch of angst, anger, and regret. That's pretty much gone; yesterday felt like I wasn't running from anything.