Truth be told, this title should be “first run since 2016” (other than a very brief indoor run at the gym a few weeks ago), but I had hoped to give the false impression that I was some kind of avid runner and somehow fate and misfortune had prevented me from putting in my beloved road work until now. I don’t enjoy running, in fact, I dislike it intensely. I also dread the crisp snap of a latex glove and the ensuing prostate exam just as much as I do running, but I have come to accept that both are good for me at this point in my life and therefore necessary.

I can’t go to the gym, just like everyone else on the planet, literally, and the home gym thing is great but it feels too much like not enough. A run though, filling my lungs with robust Las Vegas air as the desert weeds and rocks and tan-colored houses zoom past, is exhilarating. At a time when nothing is normal, running feels normal.

And so I committed last night, when ideas for tomorrow are always the best, to get up at the crack of dawn and take my dusty old New Balance sneakers out for some exercise. I left the house, my family gathered in giddy anticipation, with the fanfare and well wishes of a man going to the moon. Filled with pride and emotions running high, I leaped into action setting a blistering pace…for the first 50 yards.

The run was actually as much walk as it was run. Throughout the odyssey my knees protested vehemently, my lungs were on fire and my heart almost burst from my chest. It was the longest and most arduous .7 of a mile I have ever run.

I returned just as the fond farewell had subsided and moved its way back into the house. In fact they had just settled in front of the TV again and there I was, pale and breathless with not much of a story to tell. The kids didn’t understand. Ana patted my shoulder in her best mothering way, and made me a pancake. I was humbled.

But I did it. And it only gets better from here.