Friday, December 31, 2010

And I was Content...

It's the end of 2010 and of course a blog wouldn't be complete without the obligatory "end of year" run-down that we all do. However, mine is slightly different... (It's me, it would have to be!)

Today I had to get photo's taken for a new passport. Being a UK ex-pat in Canada, this is not as simple as it may seem. No quick jaunt to the drugstore, I have to drive 30 mins to a specialist photo place that specifically deals in UK Passport photo's.

As I was driving there (and back), alone in the car (a rare occurrence), I had time to reflect not just on this year but maybe further back. It was 10 years ago I last had my passport photo taken and I was thinking on who I was, what I was and how I must have been feeling when those last photo's were taken.

I was in my late 20's. I had been recently married and I had no kids. We owned a house, 2 cars and everything we owned was white, clean, undamaged and from IKEA. I had never been outside the UK for any time longer than one week and I had a technical job in a Network Company which was unusual for a woman and higher paid than I had a right to expect. I was not long out of college, all my friends were male and I had no life experience that really counted. I was 15 pounds heavier, did no real exercise, drank too much and kept such bizarre working hours, I had periods where I didn't see daylight for months. I had plans to visit abroad and perhaps live there, but they were dreams and nothing I really had any idea on how to achieve. I had plans but nothing to base it on.

If you told me 10 years ago the things I would do, where I would go and the life I would have, I would have laughed at you before buying you another drink. Clearly we would be in a pub and you would be drunk but not quite drunk enough.

So here I am, 10 years on; getting another passport photo. This time, I require make-up to hide the tiredness and a little hair colour to mask the greys, but essentially I haven't changed. However, I am not sure I can quite say my life had turned out as I would have planned.

I am still married, (something you always aim for on your wedding day, but not necessarily achieve). Not only am I still married 10 years on, but I still love my husband. I still admire him and appreciate him. I still have to stop and remind myself that I am lucky I have managed to spend my life with this loving, generous and intelligent person. Okay, he pisses me off occassionally, but I am fairly sure there are moments he has to bite his tongue and walk away from me too!

I have not only visited other countries, but I have lived in them. I have seen bears, beavers, racoons, eagles, koalas, kangaroo's, deadly spiders, ibis, gum-trees, mountains full of conifers and strange flowers that look like they have come from a sci-fi flick. Three international moves in 4 years was NEVER on my life plan. Three international moves with Children - okay, now we would have been in cuckoo land. I am not sure I would have had the confidence in myself to contemplate one international move, but in the last two cases, organise them myself.

I have children - something I NEVER expected. Don't get me wrong; family was something I had considered, but I always thought my buggered reproductive system would have negated that, instead of creating a home-run on the first attempt. (I have a feeling that the New Years alcohol is creating a TMI situation here!) :D

Having a child who has his own difficulties would not have been there either. Don't get me wrong I love D to bits, but I don't think there is a parent out there who honestly says to themselves at the moment of conception, "We are going to have a kid who can't handle the world as we see it and we will need to battle for everything to enable him to cope!". Truly, if "A day in the life of a Kindergarten special-needs Kid" was a course in the High School, you would find teenage pregnancies down to an all-time low and a huge rise in condom sales. Constant team-meetings with resource co-ordinators, teaching aides, teachers, principals, Behavioural consultants, Interventionists, Occupational therapists, speech therapists and social care workers was not on my list of things I wanted to do. Do I want to do them now? Hell NO. Will I do them? Of course and I will be glad for anything and everything that is offered to me.

Would I have been happy 10 years ago to know I would have spent 6 years out of the workforce? Not really. A "Stay-at-home Mum" (SAHM), was not a job title I aspired to. It was something that a 1950's woman did, not an educated woman in the 21st century. Saying that - would I change it? No. Don't get me wrong, there are days, nay, weeks where I wish I could. There is only so much you can talk about Pokemon, clean up poop, cook meals and run errands. I am lucky however, that I have the chance to spend time with a child that challenges me in more ways than one. He is smart, funny and too vocal for his own good. If I had to spend my days in a house with a kid that only wanted to watch "spiderman" all day, okay, I may concede, a "SAHM" would not be on my list of career choices. But my kid wants to learn about atoms and space. He makes me watch youtube movies about the "large hadron collider" and viruses. I have had to learn to keep up with him. He challenges me in so many ways I cannot be anything but grateful that he is who he is.

Could I have ever have imagined a time where I would choose someone else over my Mum, Dad and sister? When my Mother died this year, I painfully but gladly chose my son over the rest of my family. I knew that here was the best place for him. I know that is what is meant to happen, but ten years ago, my choice would have been very different.

If it wasn't for my life as a SAHM, then I wouldn't have been able to experience other challenges. To not only be able to have a chance to get fit and healthy, but a chance to promote it. I have learnt (if you can do that) to run. Run with nothing on my feet. I have not only run 13 miles, but I have run 13 miles more than once. I am looking now to run further. I know now that if I had to, I could turn around on a moments notice and run into downtown Vancouver from the suburbs. I look at a map when I have to drive somewhere new and catch myself thinking.. "I could run that.. easy!". I have learnt to swim and as I counted myself a land animal for 37 years, this isn't a small feat. I have contemplated new sports, new events, new distances, for no other reason but "I haven't tried that yet".

I have female friends - again, something I never thought I could do. I not only have female friends, but I have friends all over the world. There aren't that many countries in the world where I do not know someone there, (even if it maybe through current acquaintances) - how amazing is that? Over half of my facebook friends are people I have never met. These are people I know, like and admire; people who I speak to on a daily basis and know me better than I know myself sometimes; yet I have never met them. Ten years ago could I have said that?

So as I was driving back from Fraser Valley I took a moment to actually examine where I was. I was looking at the snowy Coast Mountains, overlooking the agricultural plains and the North American farms that were whizzing past. Driving on the "wrong side" of the road, behind Cadillacs and Dodge Caravans. Seeing the rail-road and the slow moving trains with 50 freight cars being pulled behind. Examining the American-esque roadsigns and evaluating the wooden slatted buildings that housed coffee-shops, burger bars and pancake houses.

I found that when I took a moment to fully immerse myself in that moment, the one word that came to mind was "Content". My life hasn't been what I planned. It's had hurdles that I would not have anticipated. Choices I would not have wanted to make. I have had to make career and life choices that would not be ideal in the mind of a Twenty-something "know-it-all". But as I glanced down at my new passport photo's whilst waiting at the red light, I did at that moment feel content.

Now that is not a bad way to end the year...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thoughtful reflections on broken friendships

*HICK* Yep, before I start this post, I will admit I have had a couple glasses of wine.. So be prepared. There maybe some teary moments and LOT's of spelling and grammatical errors. To all those who love the mistakes, get your red pen ready, you have some marking to do!

Oh, yeah, this ain't running related either, so all those who are only interested in my running "sans shoes", go get a cup of tea and meet me next week..

I have just read a fantastic post by one of my "FaceBook" friends, (a.k.a people I actually like but maybe haven't met - at least not in a long while), about letting go of relationships - in fact friendships. I won't reference her blog post because she is a private person and like me, probably hopes as few people read what she has to say and those that do are like-minded.

She was talking about letting go of "poisonous relationships" and how we need to be true to ourselves. Yep, before you ask, I have had a couple glasses of wine, so forgive me for being deep. It happens occasionally - really it does!

It led me to remembering a number of friendships of mine that have gone "sour" in the past and how sometimes breaking strong relationships can actually make you grow as a person and although is a negative in the beginning, it leads to stronger bonds in the future.

It has only happened a few times and although initially it was painful, I am now grateful for the break.

My first friendship that I broke was with my best friend at the age of 17. Looking back I am not sure how it really happened, (I think it was over a guy and my inability to recoginse social cues). However, it broke me deeply. She was my copy, we stayed over at each others houses, we used to talk to each other till 2AM, either via phone or in person. We were so in-sync we could finish each others sentences. It was almost freaky. Then somehow it went wrong. I remember being heartbroken for the first time in my life and for a little while it destroyed me. I made the decision to distance the friendship. She moved, I found a boyfriend and then we almost forgot each other. It took me years to recover.

Years later after a few emails in-between we finally hook-up on facebook and although the interaction is probably small to what it used to be, it seemed familiar. After, Twenty years, I think we found we haven't moved too far apart. Okay, our life-styles are different; she's married- no kids; I am married with a kooky kid, despite this, I can still see that connection. It's not as in-sync as it used to be, but yep, I think deep down we still think on the same wave-lengths. It's comforting to think that friends are friends no matter what. I like the person she is, I am so glad that we have become friends again. She makes me smile, she is intelligent and she is fun. It's good.

Last year I had to break another deep relationship. Our friendship was forged on being in a strange country, with kids and no family. We moved within a week apart and after a couple of months she was one of my best friends and we clung to each other, like drowning sailors probably cling to the same life-bouy. A couple of years later, my little family made the decision to move to Australia and our friendship, due to distance, began to fade.

On our decision to move back to Vancouver, I think the relationship began to be strained. She was never happy in Canada and the thought that we would make a decision to actually come-back was abhorrent. Initially I think this wasn't an issue, but after she made a visit back to the UK, I think my decision to choose my little family over my parents in the UK rubbed a nerve. Coupled with issues with my Son that I think she felt was my fault instead of the Autism he was later diagnosed with, our relationship failed. I am not sure she truly believed D had mild Autism and that his behaviour was due to my parenting.

I had weeks, months even, of not understanding her behaviour. Times where I would double-check what I was doing because I believed it was my fault I was upsetting her, although now I think it's because of my decisions. I would be in tears because I couldn't understand how I had turned into this un-sympathetic monster she had portrayed.

Eventually, I couldn't handle the upset and strife, especially with everything else that was going on. I knew that there was nothing I could say or do that would make anything right in her eye's, so I backed off. We didn't have play-dates or meet-ups. We didn't get together and all telephone conversations were strained.

She left in the Summer to go back to the UK, which is what she wanted all along. I have to admit at the end I was relieved. I haven't had much contact since. In the last 6 months since she has left, D has come on leaps and bounds. He goes to school, he controls himself and he is free to be himself. Is it because I am a better parent? Has my parenting style changed? Nope, I have just not had the negative influence to doubt myself. I got him the help he needed. I have just begun to believe in myself - that I knew what I was doing. It turns out, I did.

Am I now sad that my recent BFF relationship failed? No. Seeing the decisions I have made outside of her influence, I am grateful I stood up to be myself. That I went the way of what I thought was best for my family. Even now, despite losing my Mother, despite being so far-away from my family, I know that my Son is doing so much better here than he ever would have done in the UK. It hurts, but I know in the long run, going against her opinions has meant my son will have a better life.

I am hoping that in the future our friendship will go back; not to being as close as it was; but to a point where we can be happy for each other and we respect the differences in our parenting. I am not sure it will happen, but I hope.

On looking back on those friendships I am grateful for many things. I am grateful for Friendships that are broken, but through time are re-forged. I am grateful for the friends I have. Those that love me and accept the decisions I make. They may not agree with them, but their advice is constructive, not destructive. I am grateful for friendships that are made with no real physical presence. Sometimes those that get to know us best are those that see us when we rant and rave in the internet-ether. There are no judgements.

Ultimately I am glad that I managed to stand firm in my decisions. That I trusted my little family and I made decisions best for them. To see my little family grow and thrive because they are themselves is the greatest present I could have. I know I realised this early on, but I am glad to be reminded that, being myself, openly and accepting my critics, is ultimately the best thing I can do for myself and those I love. It's the best lesson I can teach my Son.

Yep, a very thoughtful post - normal, nonchalant, wonton rudeness will commence again next week!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Forgive me Barefooters, for I have sinned..

(Not quite my actual boots; my boots are funkier, sexier, cooler, but regardless they turned on me!)

It has been months, maybe years since I last wore shoes with a heel. I have been good, I have ensured I have only trodden on the path of no heel-toe drop. Not one inch of increased height have I succumbed to...

Until, that is, last week. I am not sure how it happened. I looked at my flat, no heel winter boots. They were warm, waterproof, black, shiny; they were comfortable and a style I am always attracted to. However, despite the warmth and comfort, I realised they are boring. I no longer found excitement in them.

So as I wondered around the Mall; dazzled by the Christmas lights and blinded by decorations, I saw THEM. They were furry, they were funky, they weren't waterproof, they weren't sensible and they were seriously fun. They also had a heel height of about 2 inches. I was lulled. Two inches, I mean, what is two inches in this modern society? A society that forgives people who wear 6 inch heels that look knitting needles. A society that believes you are abnormal if you don't keep your feet in cotton wool and stuffing as you run a few miles. Cute and sexy sells - that is what we are brought up with... It's easy to see why I would be enticed...

I am a barefooter - A couple of inches should be nothing. My feet are strong! But for a few moments, I was weak in soul; I wasn't thinking and before I knew it, I had purchased them.

*Hang head in shame*

The thrill of wearing them was immense. I felt cute and sexy. I didn't feel like a freak who could only wear shoes that looked like they belonged to my grandmother. Okay, I looked like a 4 year old who was putting on her mother shoes. I tottered around, thinking I was the coolest thing since umm... lime green popsicals. I walked with a wiggle (admittedly it was more from a lack of balance). I couldn't run; everytime I tried I looked like a drunken duck. Heck, I could barely walk, but still they were new and shiny..

However, I have begun to learn my lesson. After a week, I have felt the pains that is associated when you go against your nature. I have felt the aches in my legs, the pains in my feet, the blisters on my toes. I carried on - the only person I was hurting was me.. no-one would know. No-one else would be suffer the bunions...

Today, though, I have come to realise, that I am not born to live this wonton life of heels. Over the last couple of days, I have felt the pain in my heel bones that I thought had heeled. The nagging fracture strains I developed the last time I accepted the lies and fables told by the shoe industry. Initially I tried to blame it on the change in the weather, but I can't deny it any longer. It's the shoes. My beloved new boots that promised sexiness have turned against me. They didn't love me, they just wanted to hurt me.

So fellow barefooters, please forgive me for my transgression. I have learnt my lesson; I have come to realise the errors in my ways. I have been brought back into the fold and adhere to the ways of the barefooter. No heel-toe drop, no thick soles, no funky heels.

I shall gladly pay my penance, please tell me what I can do to somehow repay the disappointment you must feel. My only condition; it doesn't involve anything to do with Barefoot Ken Bob Thongs. I am not sure, despite the severity of my faults, that I have the mental fortitude for that!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Education and Anonymity

My Facebook friend and fellow barefoot/minimalist runner, Jason Rollibard from the "Barefoot Running University", wrote an interesting blog, which I reading this morning over my usual bowl of Cheerios and tea. (Yep the Paleo Diet is gong great, thanks... *cough*) Don't get me wrong this isn't the ONLY interesting article Jason has ever written, Jason ALWAYS writes interesting articles. Phew.. did I get away with that? :D

Jason is a "leading" light in the Barefoot running community. He was one of the "Guru's" I sought advice from when I decided to dump the conventional running shoes well over 18 months ago and without his advice (and other's like TJ, Victor and a whole host of others from Runner's World on-line), I would have started my minimalist running career with more pain and greater disappointment than most. He quite rightly has gone one to be quite famous in a geeky/nerdy kind of way. Okay, that sounded better in my head than it did as I was typing it.. ;)

So I was contemplating the article as I was tearing salami for the pizza I was making. Only Jason can tell you, if this is a comforting thought. Is thinking of his article as I deliberately destroyed sausage meat which was destined to be cooked in a hot oven for 20 mins a comforting thought? I can see the restraining order with my name on it, being prepared as I finish this sentence.

His blog post was about his new working relationship with Merrell and the conflict of interest it creates. As he was explaining both his interest in Merrell and his conflict, I could both empathise and in some ways rejoice that I am not in his position.

His take on the educational aspect of his new role with Merrell is welcome news to my ears. For a long time I have been concerned about the sudden, perhaps even fad-like interest in Minimal/Barefoot running. I am glad that there is more awareness and acceptance, but I do get worried that people will just take off their shoes and run without realising that when you do take off 2+ inches from the heel of your running shoes, you have to re-learn the art of running. It's not an easy or pain-free transition for most. A lot of the injuries caused by Barefoot running that are cited by the professionals, I am sure are caused by un-informed runners doing "too-much-too-soon". Anything that promotes the education of
"How to run Barefoot or Minimalist" has to to be a good thing in my book. Whenever I am asked about how to run in Minimalist shoes or Barefoot, the two sentences I say are; "Go slowly" and "Read before you do". I know that's not going to stop people watching me and thinking it is easy to do. After a while running with little or nothing on your feet is easy; but initially, trust me it's painful, literally!

I am trying to get this across in my own little ways. Wether it's via BRS, or the random questions I get via the running club or those in the coffee shop. In Canada we are a little behind the trend in the US, so this gives me time to contemplate my responses to the inevitable questions. If Jason and his fellow counterparts from the Barefoot running community can make my life easier in the long run, then "hail to ya!".. Go for it; I like the easy life! (Not something I should put on my CV probably).

The second part of his post about the conflict of interest his job with Merrell causes, made me very grateful. He was unsure about how his new relationship would conflict with his other role of testing new minimal shoes that come onto the market; especially in this case the new Merrell minimal shoes due in the Spring. Why am I grateful? I am a nobody and I rejoice in this.

Luckily I don't have the issue that I am world-class athlete or someone who is an innovator in new, (or in this case old) techniques. No-one is interested in my opinion on a commercial level. I was talking to another friend of mine, Jesse Scott, the other day about how great it was to be one of the "people in the back of the crowd". Jesse, however, despite what he may think, won't be one of the unknowns; he is such a fantastic runner that I would be surprised if he stays un-noticed for long. Yet, at the moment, we are both enjoying our little slice of anonymity. It is great that what we say isn't analysised or reflected on. We can be the fool and "pull funny faces" behind those more worthy of attention without anyone realising. We can be goofy, silly and say the most outrageous remarks without having to contemplate who is listening. We know that whoever is listening to us, has the same mentality as us. It's fantastic!

I have always maintained that I would rather buy my own clothes/shoes/gadgets/whatever and be able to say what they were really like without having to think carefully about what I was going to say or how it would be interpreted. Even from my day's in IT, I revelled in the freedom of being able to say, "No offence, BUT...", before providing a diatribe worthy of.. well, someone more eloquent than me. I don't do "political conversation"; probably the reason I was kept in the "back-room" and given limited interaction with customers..:)

I am glad I have a little bit of cyber-space where I can rant and rage against whoever I feel like. I like that the people who read this probably have the same ideology as me, so won't get offended. I find it comforting that nothing I say will be taken as offensive. After re-reading this I am not sure if most of my readers will not be offended. Think like me!?! Okay, I can see why some people might be offended.. :) I would be offended too, if I wasn't me and I hadn't had two glasses of wine. *hick*; you could call me anything now and I wouldn't mind.

So in reflection; education.. GOOOOOD, infamy... BAD!... :) Not that everything I do or say is infamous, but let's just say that it's probably a good thing my part of cyberspace is very, very small. :D Carry on the good work Jason, just ensure you send me the links to the relevant articles - searching for them seems like hard work to me! ;)

Monday, December 6, 2010

My new Winter Running BFF!

So let me introduce you to my new winter running friends. They are warm and soft. They love to run the trails and despite a few little teething troubles, we have worked through our issues and now I honestly think we have a solid friendship going. My friends are called the "Smithie's". All will become apparent soon.

I needed something for the winter. The Five Fingers have a fatal flaw in their design. Separated toes. They sap the warmth out of your feet before you even start. If they get wet they are even worse. If this makes no sense then just ask yourself, "Which is warmer, gloves or mittens?" Mittens will always win. Closed-toe shoes will always be warmer than the VFF's.

So my first attempt at creating a pair of minimalist winter running shoes was a little bit of a fail. Okay, a huge fail. They were based on an old pair of tan converse trainers I had and I nicknamed them the "Tennant's". (All those from the geek squad are killing themselves laughing now - Angie.. I know who you are!). Like I mentioned they were a fail and after a very unsuccessful first outing they were abandoned quicker than a smelly doggie-doo into the garbage bin.

So my second attempt revolved around a cheap pair of aqua-socks I picked up from our local MEC store. (It's an outdoor equipment store similar to REI if you are south-side of the parallel). I ran a few run's in them and knew that as far as warmth went, these shoes were onto a winner. I rejoiced, I danced, I laughed at the feeling I had in my toes - something I haven't been used to for a while in my VFF's. As for durability, well, I admit.. it wasn't great. The socks were made out of neoprene so after about 15 miles they were getting trashed quite badly. This, however, did not have me disheartened. There was a reason I was the "fix-it Queen" when I worked in IT. NO, it wasn't the "bodge-it-together Queen", although with me it's very hard to differentiate those two.

So back to MEC for some barge cement. I also raided my son's sand table and picked up a plate of sand. I lathered the bottom of the aqua-sock in barge cement and then as the cement was drying dipped it in Sand. This was for traction. I was going to be running some wet trails and I wanted a little extra traction. They are surprisingly grippy, although I don't expect that to last too long. On roads the sand will last longer.

After a few run's I also used the worn sand as an indication as to place an extra layer of Barge cement/sand mixture. Mainly on the midfoot area. It's not so much for cushioning, but as I run gravel trails, there will always be more wear in these area's. If I was running on asphalt I probably would find that the wear would be minimal.

As you can see they collapse pretty well on themselves. They aren't perfect, but hey, they are a pair of wetsuit socks and some glue - have some patience please :D. The ground-feel wasn't fantastic initially, but as the neoprene begins to collapse on the sole, the ground feel is getting better. Despite this, they are still remarkably warm. The whole glove vs. mittens ethos. Closed toe will ALWAYS be warmer.

I did find I had to wear socks underneath; the injinini toe-socks are the best. There is a lot of movement within the aqua-sock and as I was running trails I was finding the aqua-socks were rubbing the top part of my foot a lot and causing blisters. There is no way of tightening the shoe, so preventing the rubbing is the next best thing. As for warmth, a thin pair of socks and the shoes were warm enough to deal with -6C/21F temps. They are great in the damp and seemed to keep my feet warm despite torrential freezing rain.

Cost fantastic. A pair of Terra Plana's or Sockwa's are anything between $60-$160. These were a princely sum of $22. You heard me! $22!! Twelve dollars for the shoes and Ten dollars for the glue!

So, my fellow runners, let me introduce the "Smithie's". As to the name, well if you are a Doctor Who fan then you would have guessed that they are named after the 11th Doctor; Matt Smith. The "Tennant's" were named after David Tennant; the 10th Doctor. He wore tan converse trainers whilst wearing a suit. Nerdy I know. Let's hope they last, because I don't really want to have to deal with either 1) a new Doctor, or 2) a new naming convention. I suppose he is a "Time Lord", perhaps the Mark III's will be the "Ecclestones" - Nah, sounds like a fruit cake! No, wait, that's me..:D

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Going Primal

So my running regime lately has been as erratic as the weather. Snow one minute, warm sunshine, then rain, then cold. The last few months have been so changeable that I haven't yet manage to sort out a running routine. My plans for running once a day have been scuppered by colds, kids and general grown-up stuff that has left me frustrated and frankly a little pee'd off.

Okay, so I am not the worlds most regimented athlete. (I am not even an athlete, so I have struck a dead-end with that already!) I do have a tendency to want to skip the run and hit the coffee shop instead. I mean, it's Vancouver and I don't know of one person in the Northern hemisphere who doesn't want to hole up somewhere warm and just forget the terrible weather outside. Even so,my running funk is now going beyond the occasional skipped run to an expanding waistline and a fridge empty of chocolate. I would like to say we have had an invasion of carb-hungry, cocoa withdrawn, junkie Christmas elves, but we all know they don't visit this time of year. Santa keeps them locked up at the North Pole rehab centre so they don't cause a scene with the kiddies. After all that business last year with the candy canes I don't blame him!

So this week I made a change to the whole training routine. No itinerary, no times, no distance. I was going to put on my hacked wetsuit aqua-socks and hit the trails. I was going to run as fast as I could for as long as I wanted. There would be no ipods, no watches, nothing. Just me, my crappy lungs, my spindly legs and my appalling dress sense.

The whole experience has left me realising I have had the whole training plan all wrong. I always maintained that I was only going to run when I wanted, but frankly needing to fill in so many miles a week just forced me to NOT do it. Now I don't even have a mileage plan. I have NO plan. In fact I am going so minimal in my running that fairly soon I probably will be leaving my feet at home because they are just an un-necessary addition that just ruins the whole experience!

So I have managed 3 trail runs this week. Each run was 5 miles and above and all in times I would never have tried for before. I literally did run as fast as I could. I would take the longer paths just because I could. I did hill-repeats because I felt like it. It was glorious, just feeling the continual motion of my legs, hearing my feet crunch the gravel, feeling my heart racing and feeling my lungs and muscles burning. I could feel the blood rushing around my body. Glory in the way all of my muscles connected with each other. Rejoice in endorphins reaching every cell. I had forgotten that running could be like this.

As I raced along, skipping over tree-roots and down the washed out banks, my mind cleared. I wasn't thinking of school meetings or therapists schedules. I wasn't singing along to music or playing air-drums. I went to another place. In fact I went primal. There was no conscious thought in what I was doing; it was like I had been transported thousands of years into the the past and I was hunting. I was chasing down other runners on the trail. Not to be quicker than them but just to catch them. Although I was wearing a pink skirt, winter leggings and a florescent jacket, I might as well have been carrying a spear for the way I felt. Lucky I wasn't carrying a spear, I would probably be up on a manslaughter charge about now!

There are times as runners we forget why we do this. We get lost in all of the schedules and goals. We monitor pace-times, gradients, distances and calorie expenditure, but we forget. Running isn't about being able to eat the 2nd chunk of chocolate from the fridge, it's connecting with our animal selves. We are creatures that are designed to hunt and chase. Until we realise and accept that, we can't experience the true enjoyment of the "hobby" we do. Oh and being able to have that second chunk of dairy-milk chocolate without the guilt, that's pretty good too.