Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations

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Week Seven, Day One: 4 May – May the Fourth be with you!

I was on a massive high all day Friday after successfully completing the 25-minute run. And really tempted to look ahead at the next run immediately, as I was excited to see what it would be. I was confident that, like last week, it would be easier. I had been speculating on just how far 5k is, but had recently discovered that the apps aim is to get you running for 30 minutes. As I had just run 25 minutes, and there was still three weeks to go, then surely it was going to take a step back and build up again…but no. When I looked at the app on Sunday, I saw another 25-minute run. Oh, hell. Well, I knew I could do it and I also knew that my biggest problem was my head; so how could I approach this without the panic which led to my breathing problems last time? These were the thoughts running through my mind as I went to bed on Sunday night. I was trying to work out a strategy until it suddenly dawned on me that if I thought about it too much then I was in danger of making the situation worse, not better, so I stopped!

The morning arrived, dry, calm and cloudy. I took Dog into the garden as my tea was brewing and listened to the dawn chorus which is so lovely at this time of year. I have Alice Merton on my headset, and Dog and I are out by 5.45am. I haven’t seen the sunrise for a while, and I’m not sure if I will again as it is rising earlier each day. I am, however, treated to pink and orange clouds which cheers me, and I make a pact with myself: If the forecast is good, and I wake up before my alarm, (as long as it’s after 4am…there are limits!) then I am going to get up to see the sunrise. Let’s see how that goes shall we…

Sarah Millican says that up until now the program has rewarded me with walks in-between runs, but that has finished now…I let out a groan. From now on it will be nothing but runs, and this is the first of three identical runs this week. So that is it, I am going to have to run for 25 minutes, three times. There will be another consequence to this, and that is that my range of photographs will be even more limited. So far, I have mainly been taking them during the walks in-between the runs, and during my cool-down walk. I tend not to take any in the warm-up walk as I want to warm up, I want to get on, and am focusing on the run ahead. So apologies for the lack of variety from here on in.

I start the run and all is well, somehow my pep talk to myself has paid off. I keep an eye on my pace as it is all too easy to speed up if you are not careful, but I am feeling okay. I look out for Hera but there is no sign of her today. Although not terribly wet, there must be a lot of dew on the ground, because my slow little friends are getting on with their business under foot, and I am having to keep a close eye on the ground. The five minutes in marker comes and all is still good. Having said that, it still feels like a very long way to go, but I am not panicking about it.

Just as I think the half way point must be coming up soon the bell tells me I am right. My post “woohoo I am at the top of the hill” slump is less noticeable today. I keep going and Sarah Millican soon says ‘five minutes to go’, unfortunately she also says ‘you need more oxygen than normal so remember to keep breathing’… This sends me into a tizzy. Oh god, I need more oxygen! Am I breathing enough? How am I breathing?? The panic starts to build and I have to make a real effort to stop thinking about it!

The bridge approaches and I notice something different. I can feel a strength in my legs going up the slope that I have not felt before. Now I am on the last stretch, and then one minute to go, and I speed up. Wow, that was definitely easier than last time, my legs feel a bit wobbly, but nothing like they have before. For the first time I really think that I may be able to reach the 5k goal.

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