Yesterday I woke up to find that one of my eyes wouldn’t open. Something had bitten me in the night (bed bugs feature heavily in my Google history at the moment) and I’d suffered some kind of allergic reaction which had made my face swell up. I looked like a cross between Caliban and the Elephant Man.
Thankfully, I do most of my work on the phone, so no-one else had to look at me, apart from my poor son. Although I wasn’t technically ill, I looked and felt terrible and the antihistamines weren’t working. Feeling very sorry for myself I took to the sofa as soon as I could with rubbish TV and a large bar of Green and Blacks Caramel (well, it was a rest day).
My face didn’t look or feel much better this morning and running was really the last thing I wanted to do.
I told myself…
The leaves underfoot will be slippery – I’ll fall and break a leg.
I’ll get hit by a falling bough.
Small children will burst into tears when they see my face.
Hey, I’ve graduated. I don’t even have to do this if I don’t feel like it.
And, magically, that was the bit that worked. I don’t have to do this. If I get tired and want to walk for a while I can. If I want to stop and admire the view, I can. If I don’t feel like swimming in the pond at the end of the run, I don’t have to.
I’m running because I want to. Because when I finish I’ll feel great. Because whatever else I do today there will be a secret little glow of happiness and pride knowing that I've been for a run and a swim.
I found Handel’s Messiah on my Blackberry and ran round the heath singing along to the gloriously uplifting music.
Walking back from the Ladies’ Pond an hour or so later feeling warm and elated, a very faint sun glowed through the clouds and there were jet trails across a patch of blue sky. These are the things I'll remember next time the sofa beckons.