I know, I'm a snail 😎
5.00am - check the weather app. The demons that hound me are still staggering around their Bacchanalia and have mercifully not thrown anything too extreme this morning. It's clear and 26 degrees with a strong-ish breeze. Ideally I would have taken an extra rest day for various reasons but decide to strike while the iron is not so hot.
The park opens at 6.00am and I arrive at 6.01. There are a few people already around... I pass a couple who are walking backwards while slapping their thighs. The loud slapping sound echoes ominously. I offer a friendly 'joh-sun!' to the man and he smiles awkwardly. The woman looks the other way. Snubbed. I shuffle on, unperturbed, used to this reaction.
I'm pretty cranky this morning so I spend the first 10 minutes of the run listing all the things I am grateful for. Not just all the good stuff, the challenging stuff as well. Grateful I can't sleep because it's easier to get up when you're already awake. Grateful for my frozen shoulder because I wouldn't have started running if that hadn't happened. Grateful to live in a warm climate because... ummm, because I don't like being cold? It is a bit hard to come up with a reason for that when trying to run in the heat. But the morning is so beautiful, with the sun just coming up over the buildings, that it's not too hard to feel grateful just to be alive in this moment.
The path I'm on merges into another and I end up alongside another slow jogger. We snail race for the longest time. All I can hear are the birds, the gentle padding of our feet and my laboured breath. His breathing is remarkably quiet. He puts on a burst of speed and very slowly pulls away over the next few minutes. 🐌 🐌 I turn onto the waterfront promenade and revel in the sound of the waves hitting the rocks. Being close to water soothes my soul and puts the world to rights. I prefer to run without music or podcast; I haven't listened to Laura since the interval runs ended in W6R2. I'm happy to potter along, shuffling to the beat of my own drum.
Seventeen minutes in and it's a sweat-fest, causing a rather loud armpit slap that Miranda Hart would envy. I self-consciously tuck my shirt closer under my arm as I pass the couple again, now walking barefoot on large pebbles in the garden. I wonder if they prefer hot coals? I pass the vending machine and eye off the cold drinks, just out of reach for the moment. 'I'm coming back for you,' I yell/gasp/threaten as I jog on for the last minutes of the programme.
I finish the 30 minutes and I think my speed actually picks up as I start the cool down walk. Straight back to get a cold drink and I wander around the park for another 20 minutes or so, loving the quiet, watching all the activity out on the water, the sun reflecting off the buildings on the island, all the people doing their exercises (the couple are now frozen in time/space holding onto a fence and leaning backwards, their bodies making upside down J-shapes.)
I think of all the folk doing C25K, not just on this forum but all around the world (and who don't necessarily write overly-lengthy volumes such as this over a measly 30-minute jog). All of us, working hard to become healthier, stronger, fitter. I am proud to be part of this global community. Bit by bit, week by week, stride by stride, we're all committed to reaching our goal, whatever it is and whatever our motivation to get there. I'm so pleased to have reached this milestone, which, really, is just the beginning.