Grow through what you go through

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Week Six, Day Two: 29 April

Following my new regime of checking the app the evening before, I open it wondering how difficult it was going to be, dreading that it would be another 20-minute run. I was pleasantly surprised to find that was not the case. What I saw was 2 x 10-minute runs with a walk in-between, my thoughts ran straight to ‘10 minutes, that’s not too bad’ so I barely gave it another thought until the morning of the run.

For the first time in ages I was in a deep sleep when my alarm went off, and therefore reluctant to get up…but I did. Just before I was about to leave the house I thought ‘I wonder how long the walk between the runs is?’ the answer…3-minutes. Hold on…that means it is a 20-minute run with a short walk in the middle…and the butterflies started to flap their wings.

Today’s schedule: 5-minute warm up walk, 10-minute run, 3-minute walk, 10-minute run, 5-minute cool down walk.

It has been raining for the last 24 hours, and although it had just stopped as I left the house, it is still very wet underfoot. The day is grey and there is not even a hint of the sunrise. I have Alabama 3 on my headset, and Dog and I set off on the warm up walk. There is very little wildlife about (unlike me, they have very sensibly stayed in bed). There is one exception, the very wet ground is ideal for gastropod molluscs, more commonly known as snails. This caused me a bit of a problem. I believe that every living creature has as much right to live as I do (except mosquitoes – well everyone has their limits – but having said that even mosquitoes are a vital part of the food chain so should not be killed indiscriminately, only when they are getting fat on my blood!). So, if I inadvertently step on a snail it upsets me! I know that most people would think that daft, but I that is just the way I am made. So instead of enjoying my surroundings (although grey and dull, the foliage has become the lush, vibrant green of spring), I had to watch the ground to avoid seriously ruining the day of my small, slimy friends, and consequently my own. This resulted in the occasional last minute leap to the side!

I have managed to sort out the shuffle on my phone – sort of! I keep pressing buttons and then testing it until it stops shuffling. There seems no rhyme nor reason to this, well there probably is but I haven’t worked it out yet. So I start the first run listening to Alabama 3 and, in hindsight, the tempo was probably too fast. I realised, when my breathing became more difficult, that my pace had increased with the music. The first 5 minutes of the first run felt like a very long time, but the second five minutes seemed to go past quickly. The 3-minute walk got my breathing back under control but, as always, the time to run came all too quickly. The second run was much harder, there was a walker ahead of me so I diverted out into the field to go round them which was very wet and unpleasant. I speeded up to get past and Dog misbehaved by jumping up at them to say “hello” so I had to use valuable breath to chastise her and apologise to the walker. This sent my breathing close to panic mode. I had to really slow my pace until I had it back under control. I kept going, but it seemed an age before the half way mark and then the last five minutes were interminable (adjective- endless or apparently endless (often used hyperbolically)) – Hyperbole (noun – exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally). I got over the bridge, and it still went on and on, before I heard whose very welcome words ‘You can slow down to a walk now’. My breathing was hard, and my legs had turned once more to jelly. I had done it but it was sooo hard. During my cool down walk Sarah Millican said, after congratulating me, that she would now be talking me through some longer runs. ‘Nooooo’ escaped my lips, even as she was assuring me that I would be able to do it. Although I hadn’t fully formed the thought, after the 20-minute run last week and then the gentler start to this week, my subconscious had started to believe that I could reach the 5K goal. That thought has been completely squashed today. However, that’s not going to stop me getting back out there in two days’ time to give the next run a go.

If you are thinking of doing something similar take care to stay safe.

To do this I am:

  • Keeping social distancing. I aim to get out by 6.30am (I am a lark not an owl), so there are very few people around, and if I do meet them I stay 2 meters away.
  • I have my phone with me, and someone knows where I am going and when I am due back.
  • And, of course, I have Dog with me.
Top tips to keep you safe and well during this strange time.
  • Keep to the self-isolating and social distancing rules.
  • Keep in contact with friends, family, and, of course, Restore.
  • Find a routine and stick to it (I can’t emphasize enough how important this is)
  • Every day do something for your physical and mental well-being. On the days I am not running I go out for a walk. I am also doing a 21-day meditation challenge with 2 friends. This benefits my well-being as well as keeping me connected every day. There are plenty of meditation apps out there, but if that isn’t your thing then find something that nurtures your soul. This can be as simple as listening to the birds sing or gazing up at the stars.
  • Set yourself a challenge. This could be big or small, it’s entirely up to you.

These are just a few ideas and there are plenty more out there. The Restore website has a directory of useful and trusted websites with information, tips and ideas, here.

The Reluctant Jogger and Dog