I know running makes me feel better – it always has – so why, (when I have gained so much time through not commuting, wondering what to wear, go for lunch, say, do, be..) do I sometimes find it a challenge just to get out there and run? I seemed to manage before the pandemic when I had less time and fewer distractions. Sometimes, it’s like I’m running away from running. The truth is, it was never time, or lack of it, that affected my running health. It was, as all runners really know, about what’s in the head.
Does anyone else feel like they’re in a noir film right now? A dystopian YA novel? One of the effects of this winter lockdown is that my routines have blurred (getting dark at 4pm hasn’t helped) and it can feel I’m in a time/space warp. Working at home – albeit in a job I love – is just not the same as being around real people. Mornings blur into afternoons blur into evenings blur into dream-filled nights. How to stay sane? Running has always been my meditation, my switch-off. I choose to run without earphones, I run to the rhythms of nature: birds, trees, wind, Sirius’s paws in puddles. Perhaps mostly I run to the silence of my own rages – the seemingly endless pandemic, my darling mum whom I’m prevented from seeing, my incredible trainee teachers who are propping up our children with no real recognition, the grief of those I love who’ve lost family to Covid-19, the fact I can’t touch my friends, the insanity of our lives.
it could be all a bit hopeless. Sometimes it feels that way.
But as every runner knows, deep, deep down in that crazy cavern of our souls, the effort we put in now, perhaps especially now – those early starts, freezing evening runs, saying no to 2nd wine we crave (and frankly deserve), are the most important. Maybe one day we’ll see them as the most memorable. By instilling some routine and determination in our upside-down days for the hope of better things to come… we can expect a great tomorrow: a Parkrun PB, a coveted marathon medal, running together in our clubs again (yes I mean you @epsomallsorts) .. as well as the payback of feeling a whole lot better Right here, Right now with the runner’s high – something the pandemic, with its sour misery, has thus been unable to kill.
It’s what makes us who we are – strong, vibrant, so so fallible but determined survivors. We’re not all heroes like the key workers (although many runners are also key workers, thank God!) but we are runners and will run through this pandemic to a better future – and a better us.
Stay strong, running friends.
maybe one day, we’ll see these runs as the most memorable