Monday, 18 January 2010

Back out on the roads

I had a brilliant run on Sunday. For the first time in at least two weeks the sun was shining, the world was back from underneath its snow blanket and there was a possibility of running on roads rather than cross country (I found I couldn't really run on roads in snow). So I joined Ruth, Kevin and Alisdair from the club on their usual sixteen-mile route in Stony. Sixteen miles is actually a bit far to be running at this point in in the year (I should be running closer to thirteen). But since they were doing it, I was swept along and risked it.

For the first time in ages I felt a huge surge of joy to be out running. The first 8 miles were hard, as there was quite a lot of ice and we had to hop about over ice patches to avoid skidding. But I didn't mind a bit of prancing, and it was good to have a slower start. But after that - we really got into our strides. I haven't been able to run fluidly like that for weeks, because I have had to train off-road for Calderdale and run in the snow. These types of training have their own pleasures, but I never get into a constant rhythm. So on Sunday, I felt so inspired. I also felt relief - that I could still run a 'properly long' distance. The route was lovely, along quiet roads in open countryside. Colour had returned to the world - green was everywhere. Twigs on the branches had changed from black against snow and white sky to bright green against blue (I guess it must be a lichen on the twigs). I felt alive. It felt good to be pushing myself. After the run my legs burned, but it felt great.

K drove us back to their house to pick up my bike and we all had a cup of tea. I was so grateful for their encouragement on the run and for letting me come along and I'd like to train with them as much as I can over the next few months. There are few people who can inspire me to run at just sub-8 min miles over that distance. They have such determination, gentle humour and a positive attitude. I look forward to the next one.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

'Covering earth in forgetful snow'

It's not working.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Thoughts on running ... first draft

The most important thing about running (for me) is the way in which it combines the physical with the mental – both in terms of the ‘intellect’ (if that is the right word to describe strategy and focus) and the imagination (visualisation, and dissociation/association from/with the body). This combination of physical and mental is very rewarding and makes you feel like a complete human being.

On the ‘intellect’ side, concentration, focus and accuracy are vital. If you lose your focus on a long race - your goal will slip away. You've got to keep on clocking up the miles at precisely the right tempo. On the ‘imagination’ side, being able to visualise ways to keep you going – for example, imagining the energy of you and your companions combining to carry you forward – is both helpful and somehow in itself exciting. Which brings me to a final point – the social aspect of running. I love running with people and rarely run alone. There’s something primeval about chasing and being chased. It’s slightly edgy, but it’s a buzz. Running as a duo can be fabulous. If you really trust them, some of the required focus can be temporarily offloaded onto your partner when you’re tired, and then you can take over when they need you.

There’s so much more that could be said - perhaps I will keep developing this.