There are Mindful runs and then there are the other sort...

Mindful running is that beautiful moment of connection between body, mind and environment... You breathe, rotate your feet and absorb the outdoors in a flowing experience which is the closest I've ever had to a religious experience (and I'm an aggressive atheist).

You seem to just be one, gliding through time and space; your watch is forgotten, your target pace is forgotten, your body tells you what's right and that's what it does.

Sometimes this feeling lasts an entire run, sometimes it's fleeting like sunshine on a cloudy day...

And, for me at least, its as rare as hens teeth.

Thursday was the other extreme, an as valuable extreme for other reasons...

The sun set and I was still at my desk, a bad day of dealing with idiots and nincompoops, playing political games I wish others had grown out of, and generally being a grump.

The time came, the laptop went off and almost on cue the first rain of the day hit the windows.  The kit went on, and I went out.

The wind blew me sideways, and I persevered,  bending into the wind like a boat tacking around a headland.  Then the rain came, seeming designed to rip the hairs from my legs, tears formed in my eyes as I swung around a corner and a sidewind sent straight into my face.  And still I plowed on, feeling every step, every flap of my waterproofs, the seep of rainwater up my arms...

And I turn again, buffeted from the other side, the weather worsens, hail hits my sides...  I start to enjoy knowing that this isn't a run, its a battle.  I could walk back now, but then the elements win.  The hood goes up, over the baseball cap wedged down to try and protect my eyes, and on I go.

The wind swings into my face again, and tries to push me backwards... I scream into its maw, words almost incoherent even to me through the howling, but in there there are the words "these are the runs marathons are made of".  I turn up the last hill, a bete noir of many a runner in Bootle, Miller's Bridge... The wind shifts to keep into my face, my hood is now down, baseball cap clasped in hand, me versus the weather and the hill... The traffic lights are with me, so straight up, the first rise conquered, it shallows off and a final fury of the wind pushes back... another scream, vaguely aware that friends and colleagues may be driving past and just how mad I may seem, and it's over... downhill and the wind eases, heart racing, mouth somewhere between grimace and huge grin I know that the battle is over, and this time I won.

There was no gliding, no floating, just battle worn grit.  It was only a 5km, and I've run so much further, and in worse weather, but right now, it was just right.

I may be my heaviest for five years, and I may be out of shape and stamina, but by hell I'm still a runner.

TTFN

Paul

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