I’ve had a series of injuries over the last couple of years that have stopped me running, which has been unexpectedly annoying. I never expected to even like running, much less love it. My sister is a runner, and I was quite happy to leave it to her. I admired her strength and fortitude while privately questioning her sanity (sorry Jane!).
But my husband kept quietly suggesting it might improve my cycling… build my strength… and I am a morning person, so leaping out first thing and getting those endorphins is kind of attractive. I love the morning air, the morning light, the peaceful morning streets.
I can’t quite remember how I started, but I got hooked really fast. And, in typical fashion, I injured myself really fast too. My running career has been a cycle of running hard, injuring myself, and collapsing sulkily on the couch until the injuries heal. To be honest, it got a little old. And so did I. At 47 I have a lot in common with the Dad in Fowl Language.
So after the latest round of injuries, when my physio said I should try run/walking at 1 minute intervals, I sulked for a bit longer, and eventually gave it a try. I left the house sulky, grumpy, and convinced this was going to be the least satisfying run in the history of sullen running. And something odd happened.
I loved it.
My asthma has flared up this winter, after a nasty virus, but run/walking meant it was more manageable. I was out for longer, ran/walked further, and felt better. I wasn’t sore the next day. I started small (another challenge), built up a little, and still no sore bits! I’m only 3 runs in, you understand, so I make no promises or bold pronouncements, but it fascinated me that it felt so good.
I used to feel like every time I slowed to a walk was a personal failure. It meant I wasn’t fit enough, wasn’t strong enough, wasn’t tough enough. But somehow following physio instructions gave me permission to run in a way that feels vastly better, is much more sustainable, and with any luck might not lead to me hitting the wall.
My new job feels a bit like an endless run without any signposts or fitness trackers. There’s a long, long way to go and very little indication of tangible progress. So few moments where I can go “Tada!”. When I was teaching I had “tada!” moments every day. Every time I explained something and saw the “aha!” light in someone’s eyes. Every time someone submitted an amazing assignment. Every time a class discussion took off and flew.
Building a charity, working on changing the face of education – that’s no short term game. There are occasional “tada” moments, but mostly there’s one foot in front of the other, one day at a time. It would be easy to start running and try not to stop. To keep running until I hit that old familiar wall. But that won’t get me to the finish line (if there is one!).
So I’m trying to take weekends. To garden. To read. To breathe. And to run/walk in life as well as in exercise.
I can’t guarantee no injuries. There are always doorways and random furniture keen to leap out at the likes of me. But there’s sunshine, and flowers, and more to life than work, even for obsessives like me.