To escape fear, you have to go through it not around it

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Week Nine, Day Two: 21 May

I wake at 4.06am, but instead of getting up as I promised myself I would, I think I will just lie here for 20 minutes and then get up. The next thing I know the alarm is going off. I can see from my bathroom window that it is going to be a glorious sunrise; there are beautiful pink streaks running across this sky, but I also know that I am going to miss it. Drat it, why didn’t I get up! I drink my tea and look for something to listen to and come across ABBA, brilliant! I have loved ABBA ever since I was a child and my parents used to play their songs in the car when we were going on holiday.

Another warm day, my weather station says 12°, and so I leave my long sleeved hoodie behind and start my warm up walk at 5.33am. There have been no butterflies this morning, I am not even thinking about the run as I enjoy the glorious morning and listening to ABBA. At the last minute I remember to give myself a pep talk…Give yourself time to settle into your pace and Don’t Panic (Those immortal words that are written on the front of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

The first few minutes of the run are a bit difficult. Adding this new loop onto my run means that I start to run on the road, so Dog is still on the lead. It’s funny, but when she is off the lead she walks to heel but when on the lead she is always at full stretch, not exactly pulling, but almost. Anyway, this makes it harder for me to settle but once I let her off then I find my stride.

The first part of the off road run takes me through trees, and for some reason today I can feel like I am running through threads of cobweb which is a little disconcerting. But I am soon out into the open air and it is a beautiful morning. The 5-minute marker has gone and I am feeling okay, however there is another difficulty. There are tiny little white insects flying around in groups at head height and it is really difficult not to breath them in! The 10-minute marker goes and I still feel okay. I can feel a marked difference from last time. Don’t get me wrong, it still feels like there is a long way to go, but I don’t feel panicked by it.

I am using geographical markers around the run to help me focus on smaller chunks rather than the whole thing. Just before the half way marker ABBA start singing ‘Waterloo’. I smile to myself as I remember how I felt before that first 20-minute run and now look at me, doing 30 for the second time.

My ankle isn’t too bad but then I twist it slightly on an uneven piece of ground and it starts to hurt again. I decide not to get stressed about it, I have run though it before and so I do my best to ignore it. Then comes the 20-minute marker, and all is still okay. I turn towards the bridge and feel good, this is the beginning of the end. The 5-minute marker goes just before I get to the bridge, and again I power up it. These last five minutes are tough, I think I might have increased my pace to the music again but, at last, there is the ‘60 seconds to go’ and I know it is all but done. I don’t speed up, which makes me think I must have been going faster anyway, and then it is over. My legs are very wobbly and even ache a bit. In fact, I really want to stop for a moment but know that it is important to keep walking; I should do by now, Sara Millican has told me so 26 times!

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