Your struggle today is your story tomorrow

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Week Eight, Day Two: 14 May 2020

After my awful last run I felt curiously excited about this one. I put this down to having come up with an idea that meant I would not have to run past the bridge and then back on myself. I figured that, if I added an extra bit at the beginning, then I could still finish before the road. I even worked out a small circular route which means I am now doing a figure of eight.

I wake before my alarm and get straight up. The weather station in my kitchen (which is connected to a sensor at the bottom of the garden) tells me it is 1° outside and when I take Dog out there is a frost on the ground and the sky is clear and light, heralding a beautiful sunrise. As I drink my tea I check the time of the sunrise, it’s at 5.14am; great, I have time, so I finish my tea, do my stretches, and get ready to leave the house. I don’t think I have mentioned the Apps emojis before now; when you are about to start each run you are asked to say how you feel by tapping on an emoji. There are 5 of them; Very unhappy, Unhappy, Neutral, Happy and Very happy. You then tap one again at the end to say how you feel after the run. Up until now, before each run I have either rated myself as Very unhappy, Unhappy or Neutral but today I click the Happy emoji which is extraordinary considering how I felt on the last run.

Dog and I leave the house at 5.13am, one minute before sunrise, with The Red Hot Chilli Peppers on the headset. I turn in a different direction than usual to do the 5-minute warm up walk. At this stage I am feeling anxious, this is because I have changed my routine. I am such a creature of habit that any change makes me anxious. I know this is very common because there are a huge number of books dedicated to change theory. I believe that not only is change inevitable but essential for the wellbeing of the individual, group, organisation and society as a whole, but that doesn’t mean that it have to like it! So I recognise what is causing my anxiety, and try to let it be. This is another thing I have learnt from mindfulness (or am trying to); that it is not always a good idea to try to banish uncomfortable feelings, if you can sit with them then they will actually go away quicker and easier. This seems to work and my anxiety doesn’t turn into panic.

My small loop is nearly at an end when Sarah Millican tells me to start to run. I try not to think about the task ahead and just settle into my pace. I am pleasantly surprised when the 5-minute marker comes, and again when there is a 10-minute marker – only 4 minutes to half way.

I look for Hera, as I do every day, but I think that she must have either changed her hunting ground or has gone to bed before I am out. I get the halfway marker and Sara says ‘well done you have reached halfway’ and I reply ‘yes’, she then says ‘you might want to consider changing your pace’ and, instead of swearing, I calmly say ‘no’.

Over the next stretch my motivation has a couple of wobbles, there is such a long way to go and my right ankle is niggling. It’s only a small pain, not enough to make me want to stop, but it is annoying. Then comes the five minute to go marker, and I am some way from the bridge and a crazy thought comes into my head; I don’t want it to be over before the bridge…what??? As the bridge gets closer I start to reconsider that thought. As I turn towards it I think there can’t be far to go, so I dig deep and keep my pace up as I climb to the top. Then down the other side, and into the last stretch which seems to go on forever (time is such an odd thing). I miss having that 1-minute to go marker. But eventually Sara says ‘well done you can slow down now’. Legs are a bit wobbly and breathing hard but not uncomfortable and I settle into my cool down walk.

When I get home I hit the happy face on the app for the first time.

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