I’ve rekindled an old love affair
I have a strange relationship with running. I love the idea of running outside in a beautiful place, just me and my thoughts, running, running, running through the trees, breathing in fresh air, brushing leaves with my hands.
In reality, I run for two minutes, can hardly breathe and have to stop – puffing, panting and gasping for water. Oh, and I usually get a stitch as well.
But once you get through that pain barrier and into that zone place that athletic types always talk about, the torture turns to pleasure. Your stride gets easier, the movement flows. You look at what’s around you instead of looking at your feet. You stop thinking ‘Why am I putting myself through this?’ and start actually enjoying yourself. You feel as if you could go on forever. When you stop, you feel amazing: alert, refreshed, energised… alive.
Two years ago, I did the Race For Life. I’d walked it in the past, but this time was determined to run the whole thing in a decent time. I followed the training plan religiously. I’d get up really early on a Saturday morning and jog around Roath Park Lake, dodging between the swans and geese, watching the water sparkle with the reflection of the just-woken-up sun, smiling at other early-risers walking their dogs, riding their bikes or just pondering life from a park bench.
It was beautiful. After the race, I had grand plans of doing a 10k, then maybe building up to a half marathon. After the race, I didn’t run again.
Then last year I went on probably my favourite holiday ever – just me and Mr Meep, tootling around Ireland in a campervan. Every morning, I’d get my running gear on and explore whatever beautiful place we’d parked up at the night before. I ran around a lake in County Longford, on deserted beaches on the wild West Coast, along the seafront in Galway Bay. By the time I got back, Mr Meep had whizzed up a delicious breakfast and we’d sit in the sunshine soaking up the views. Running was one of things that made the holiday so special.
I got back home fitter and full of enthusiasm for something that combines lots of my favourite things: being outside, thinking, endorphins, time to myself. My running shoes have been at the bottom of my wardrobe ever since.
Two weeks ago, I dusted them off and headed for Bute Park with Blod. I loved it. The passion has been reignited. I wonder how long it will last?