Thursday, 19 July 2012

Goodbyes suck

There will be a lot of goodbyes said before this summer is over. Friends, colleagues, places. This morning I had to say goodbye to my parents, who are returning home after having stayed with us for two weeks. Two weeks?! It felt more like two hours. It's always sad saying goodbye to them, because it's usually many months before we meet again, but this morning it was sadder than usual, because I knew it was the first goodbye of many.

After dropping them off at the airport, I felt unmotivated. Not even the prospect of running made me want to get out the door. The weather had taken a turn for the worse once more. I tidied up (as if that would cheer me up), did today's plank challenge (3x basic plank and side plank with my arms on the balance board for as long as I could) and I finally found the energy to stop procrastinating, change into my running clothes and head to the woods.

On the way there, I saw a young fox in someone's garden. It looked at me curiously for a second, then decided I was dangerous and disappeared behind some bushes. The ground in the woods was soaked and I didn't feel like running barefoot. Wait, that's a lie. I did feel like running barefoot, but I didn't want to have to drag myself down to the lake to wash off the mud afterwards. On a sunny day, the idea of cooling my feet in the lake after a run is tempting. On a rainy day, less so. I ran around the lake in my insoles, taking walking breaks every two minutes. No flow, no real enjoyment, just going through the motions. Somehow looking at your watch all the time to make sure you don't run more than you're supposed to takes away the fun of it.

Then I left the lake and headed towards the horse track. Even though I was mindful for the sound of approaching hooves, I immediately felt much more at peace with myself. I didn't see a single person in the lush forest. The ground was soft, and there was no gravel as far as the eye could see. I was wishing I could run barefoot but there was no place to wash off before I got home, and I didn't fancy walking up the stairs to our flat (or walking around the flat for that matter) in muddy feet. Despite my feet being shod, my steps were light and I picked up speed. My allotted time for today was to be 26 minutes and a glance at my watch told me I would be running further than last time.

I left the woods and the horse track and headed home. With seconds left, I saw that I was only a hundred metres away from 5 km. I kept running, the twisted logic in my head dictating that if I run fast, then I can cover more distance. Get more value for my money, so to speak. Makes sense, right? Only what I was forgetting was that the effort was greater, and thus the strain on my knee might be too. I stopped after passing the 5 km limit and listened for any complaints from the knee. So far so good.

The flow was still escaping me, and so was the endorphin kick. On an intellectual level, I celebrated this small victory, but on an emotional level it had little impact. Sometimes not even running can cure the blues.

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