Sunday is my favourite run day, and yesterday morning was no exception. Running clothes laid out as always, the night before. Running shoes ready; off road shoes, as a field and lane and track ramble was planned. I don’t always plan. But this was to be longer run, with a little burst of something speedier in the centre 😊
I am being a tad careful still, as I am still taking things gently, after my time on the IC. I have a little regime of warming up, inside and then out for a brisk warm up walk, and I am walking for a bit longer currently…just to make sure everything feels okay!
Out into the morning, and into that Sunday silence that echoes. Closed curtains, sleeper seclusion, and daylight exclusion… a day of rest… and, still, that, almost eerie silence. The sky this morning…slightly sullen, the faint brightness of the earlier hour extinguished by a seamless grey cover. The faintest chill as I headed out up towards the big roundabout on the hill. No seagulls atop the tall lights this morning, and I turned to continue my warm up walk, and as I passed the Primary School I started to run.
As ever, I am taking it easy and making sure my legs are warmed and ready to go, round the Crescent and back out onto the hill to the village. The greyness of the morning served as a perfect backdrop to the end-of-summer gardens… the bedding plants, far from faded and bedraggled, despite lack of sunshine and a wealth of regular rainstorms… Begonias, Pelargoniums, Petunias, Cineraria and Hydrangeas, a profusion of small bedding plants. every colour under the sun, ordered and soldier straight-lined. No sound except my breathing and my feet on the pavement. Taking my own advice… slow and steady, landing lightly and rounding my heels…down the hill and through, behind the station, by the river and out onto the main road through the village, clumps of small purple elderberries hanging, from twiggy branches, heavy-laden over the water. Ducks nesting under the small bridge and the road to the village empty. It was taking a while to get going this morning…a busy week and a busy Saturday… so, maintaining the pace… into the village and up the hill…past the church; no bell as yet calling the faithful to prayer… and a little spurt as I headed up towards the other Primary school.
At the start of C25K, I often struggled up this hill… it makes me smile now, every time I run up it. Then at the top of the hill, turn through and along behind the school. The playground empty, apart from the wooden play Galleon…moored in the corner, anchored to an asphalt sea. I paused here, the chill of the early start, had given way to a brooding humidity… and I needed to wipe my forehead. A newcomer on the grass, outside one of the classrooms, atop a tree stump, a large carved wooden Owl. staring, glassy-eyed at me, across the yard.
As I ran on along by the Hawthorn hedge behind the school, I thought of days bringing my own children to this school… days long past now; happy thoughts, but as some of you who have known me for a while, know, mingled with the merest trace of sadness. A big breath and a quickening of pace now… the gentle start over, I felt I wanted to up my game and a speedy burst was the order of the day… Through the small estate and out onto Old Road… the sky now, unforgiving in its greyness and the first spots of rain beginning to fall, along past the hedges, black berry-brambled and thick tangled… the tree still full leafed, but with the tell-tale brown shadows, at the edge of the leaves…the large branched trees lean over the road here; the scene of a ghostly encounter in the winter if my Graduation and as I ran, faster now, that memory was with me… the oppressive atmosphere, under the trees, really humid now, as I tried to relax my hands, shoulders and face and focus on the hedgerows and the way ahead.
Hedgerows still green and full, but in not too long a time maybe, bedecked and bejewelled with those fat, red-glistening haws and hips and, goodness, maybe touched also, by the first early frosts. To the end of the road with a steady even step now… my happy pace... the legs strong, around the corner and into the more open space, easier to breathe here. It has been a while, but a quote from Wordsworth, the lines from a poem learned by heart for a level, many years ago, just popped into my head,
“…. Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your Teacher.”
Out, up past the Steam Railway, gates now open and the Dragons stirring, noisily, under the watchful eyes of their keepers. Round to the Bridle Path and back down the hill towards the field gate. Into the big field now, the crop has been, finally, harvested, and despite the rain, falling now in a gentle mizzle, the track through, is firm enough for me to keep up my pace. Pausing at the stile and the crossing over the Steam Railway line, I listen… just the muffled metal voiced engines, no bird song or dog bark, not traffic no voices. I have stopped many times on my running journey at this point, sometimes breathless, sometimes exhilarated, too hot, too cold, in darkness and in sunlight. It is one of the places where I feel part of something immense…a tiny, tiny part, but a part nonetheless. Over the track now… this is where I feel I can run for ever… my legs just take control... everything else just follows…running off road does require care, and even though I feel I could run this route blindfold, I am mindful of the hidden dips and curves and small ankle-turning holes.
The IC is not where I wish to be.
My calf muscle is fully healed now, of that I am certain, and I make the far lane in good time and as I run down back towards the station I am aware that I am very warm and quite damp. I have had a wonderful run. Pausing, once again, under the massive Horse Chestnut trees, I spot a green spiky globe shape… I pick it up and pop it into my belt… it is the answer to a problem, that has been troubling me for a while 😊
I have been struggling this last week or so, to try to find a way to try to help folk overcome some of the very real issues which are bothering them. I feel that there have been too many posts about, fear, apprehension, dread and worry…about runs! My own running rambles have taken a back seat, as I have attempted, as have a whole lot of others in the forum family, to reassure folk and encourage them. This journey is supposed to be an enjoyable one, not an endurance test. I have said many times, it is not about speed, or distance or comparison. It is about running. We all have our reasons for running, but I cannot help feeling, that running with apprehension or fear, should not be included in those reasons.
So please, try, those of you who are struggling, to replace the apprehension with excitement… lose the worry and find the wonder…dismiss the dread and discover the delight…and know that, like the secret hidden inside a conker shell… it is all there…the strength inside yourself.
You can do this…know it, believe it, enjoy it 😊