Yesterday I ran 8 miles in the rain and gale force wind and I had three startling revelations:
· I stopped enjoying running when I started to think of it as a job and adding it to my 'to do' list rather than my 'I want to do' list
· I stopped enjoying running when I set myself tasks to do whilst notching up the miles: find something exciting for the blog, work through that tricky sub-plot in chapter three, re-decorate my bedroom in my head, analyse that conversation I had with... about ... because it didn't end the way I wanted it to (fill in the blanks)
· Waiting half an hour in the freezing cold to be picked up makes you pretty cross- no matter how zen you feel after a run of many revelations!*
(* Husband responsible for collection. 'Forgot!' How very dare he!)
Give this girl pink spandex and a fanny pack! Me yesterday!
When I look back at my blogs, I can pinpoint almost exactly when I fell out of love with running: it was after the reindeer 10K. With no races to motivate me to run outside and terrible December weather, I hit the gym. I hated running in the gym. Really, HATED it! I hated it so much that I had to force myself to go... and in doing so I was forcing myself to run. So I started to associate running with boredom... Hey-presto! Terrible psychological association number two! (Number one was associating lycra with running, sadly this association refuses to be broken and I have been damaged for life.)
Do you want to know my foolproof method for achieving such fantastic, deep rooted, life affirming introspection? Run in horrible weather. I don't mean slightly horrible weather- a bit of wind and light drizzle. I mean torrential rain: droplets the size of your fists and force 8 winds that up-root hundred year old trees and blow old ladies into the canal. Because, if you focus on anything else except for the actual process of running, you will join the old lady in the canal! You must keep all your wits about you, your senses intact. In doing so, you have to tell the chattering monkey, the annoying whiny voice that goes on and on to shut the chuff up! And just run.
I did this. I focussed on breathing- I had to, the wind kept stealing my oxygen! I counted my footsteps. I felt the stinging cold whipping my face. I watched the world flying around me- plastic bags, random newspapers, tree branches. I laughed at birds trying to fly into the wind (then realised that they were probably laughing at me too!) I switched off. And before I knew it, I had run seven miles.
I have to say at this point that I did get a few weird looks from passers by when I was in my 'zen' like state of tranquillity. I think that when I relaxed my eyes, they may have crossed a little bit. Also, I think my tongue may have been hanging out... I tend to do that when I'm concentrating.
Despite pedestrians looking at me like I had arrived on the sunshine bus, I really had a very nice time. I have resolved to use running as my free time, the thing I do to get a bit of peace and quiet and what is a hectic life. And suddenly I feel better. Hurrah!