Monday, January 20, 2014

Running because I can

Running in my favourite shirt, covered in mud and with
a smile on my face.
Thanks to Julie Mortlock at Natural Images Photography
This weekend I started an extra turn on lifes’ wheel. Yep, I had a Birthday. Not a big one; just going a little further into my Racing age-group. In a big change I decided to run on my Birthday.

I have never managed to race on my Birthday before. In Canada, the racing season seemed to end at the end of November and started back at the beginning of January. As you would expect with the Pacific Coast Mountains, any winter races were usually road and with torrential rain. It took a special race to pull this trail-rat out for a winter race.

Last winter –my first back in the UK- I was either knocking hell out of my house, or it was knocking hell out of me. Two months of winter renovation ensured that I spent a spring and summer out of running –or in fact anything involving moving- commission.

It’s been a slow six months and my return to winter running involves local trails and lots of mud. We have been blessed with an exceptional mild winter. There has been rain, but it has been contained to the dark hours; leaving a muddy, but warm and bright day to run in.

I have been enjoying my winter runs and although they are ponderous and not exactly blistering, they have been fun. I am enjoying running again. Only using my body as a guide to how a run instead of a GPS ‘whatever’. There has been no paces, or finishing times – not that I was really constrained by that in the first place.

This weekend, when I was asked what I wanted for my birthday, I wanted nothing more than to have a fun race with my friends, with my little family waiting at the finish. That is what I got. I ran the weekly ‘Conkers Parkrun’, as I wore my favourite kit.  I ran through every puddle, ensuring I was covered in mud, whilst making every volunteer smile. I just enjoyed being with my friends. At the end, in the drizzle, were my husband and son waiting to get inside in the dry for their bacon and sausage sandwiches.

I loved being out there and I had a smile on my face even after I came home.

However, as we were out getting wet and muddy, one-hundred-and-twenty miles away, my Brother-In-Law was being airlifted to hospital after an accident at work.

Not to get into the rather gruesome details; it is safe to say he is lucky to be alive. As I say that he is lucky, it does mean that he is very badly broken and he is currently in ICU after under-going operations and preparing for more.

It meant my –and my sons’ birthday, which is the day after- was tinged with worry and as much love we could ferry down whatever cosmic path we could think of.

Today, I ran again. A very muddy cross-country -or as those over the Atlantic would say, ‘trail’ - run. My friend Nikki, seemed to know what I needed. Instead of our usual three-and-something loop, she took us on random trails and onto muddy slopes and fields. In the end, I ran over six miles and I so needed that.

The run today was more about letting everything go. Just attempting to go primal so that I could lose the sick feeling in my stomach. Admittedly the sick feeling came back as we passed a field of cow’s who frankly had the worst gastroenteritis issues on the planet; the smell was so bad we spent a good ten minutes trying to run past without vomiting. Never before have I been so glad of woolen mittens.

The run was very much needed. Nikki took me over as many hills she could find. She made me run through every field we came across. When we came to a cross-roads, she gave a choice on which direction we could go; knowing that I would always pick the longer route.

It was hard. Yet, I needed it. I needed to feel some pain and discomfort. I needed to hurt a little. I needed to feel like I couldn’t go on, because when you feel you can’t go on, you always find that little well in yourself reminding you that you have to. You can go on.

I needed to feel like I couldn’t go on, because I needed to be reminded that I was running because I can. We all need to be reminded of that; we need to be reminded that there are always people who can’t and that we are indeed very, very lucky.

As mentioned in my first blog post of the year, my aim is to PB for every timed race I do this year. So here is this weeks PB report.

Monday 20th January
Today I PBed at '6.48 miles whilst holding a mitten over my mouth and gagging'. There are some cows out there that serious digestive issues.

Saturday 18th January
PB of 'how muddy can we get Nikki in 3.1 miles'

Wednesday 15th January
3.8 mile timed run with a PB of "woohoo. I didn't stop and I didn't say 'I hate that hill'. 

Monday 13th January
Today's PB was '3.7 miles whilst I panted "Andy, ohhh Andy. Go faster Andy. *Pant* get me sweaty Andy". Nikki, Andy and I were playing innuendo bingo before you ask.

Friday 10th January
Today as part of My Jantastic goal I ran a PB of '1.56 miles whilst my phone thought I was pool-running and didn't track it properly' in 17:58

Thursday 9th January
Raynaulds was bad today, so my timed run was, a PB in the "3.81 miles avoiding the mud patches and standing water" category, with a 47 something. 

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