Sunday, 17 August 2014

The bad runs are sometimes the best

Foret de Soignes, Brussels
The road felt like sludge, my legs hated every second of it. I stared into the faces of confused shoppers, they were judging me, I could tell. It had taken me almost five weeks to realize the start of my running route was a sneaky incline for almost a mile, and it hurt.

My heart banged angrily in my chest, and my lungs tried to suck in as much oxygen as possible. It felt miserable. My watch mocked me, as my pace refused to quicken. I must be going faster than that, I thought, desperately wanting to just stop and go home.

No, I thought, I have a whole day off. I am running eight miles, if I like it or not.

It is hard to explain why we keep going through the bad runs. To a non-runner, it seems completely baffling why someone would choose to keep going when their body is screaming for them to stop.

I reached the park and had to walk, it was barely two miles in and I was walking. This is ridiculous, I thought. I have run a marathon and I can’t even manage two miles. My heart continued to beat hard, menacingly, my lungs ached. Other runners zipped by; I couldn’t look them in the eye.

The sky above me threatened rain. Not again, I thought, I had run three times this week already and got caught in at least two thunderstorms. This is why people think runners are crazy, we run in freezing cold thunderstorms.

I trudged on, picking up my pace. Around me, nature took over, the busy shoppers from before had melted away. It was just me, the trail and the trees. I calmed down, the stress of before began to disappear. My legs felt less like lead.

I began to slowly enjoy myself, making rash decisions to turn corners into new bits of forest. My legs getting me lost in the greenery, I felt almost smug as I past people walking – walking, I thought, that’s nothing. Look at me, I am running!

I turned a corner and stumbled upon a circus tent, right there, on the edge of the forest. I smiled; this is what non-runners will never understand – the feeling of uncovering a new treasure.

My heart was no longer beating fast, my lungs had become a normal rhythm, it was just me, and the thud of my trainers as I twisted round each corner. I reached hills and scaled them with ease.

When miles ago, I was gasping for breath, suddenly here I felt free and easy. The human body is a crazy thing.

Checking my watch, it was time to go back. To leave the haven for another day. I ran back onto the shopping street, away from the serene-ness of the forest. No longer were people judging me, I ran fast down the streets towards my home.

Thinking only about when I could do this again.


Achievements this week:

32 miles in a week
Fastest ever mile 8:30
Fatest ever 5k: 28 min 52 (and it probably would have been faster if I hadn't stopped to throw a ball back to some kids)
Day seven smoke free

Photo by Vincent Brassinne.


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