Good Morning.

Some runs feel better than others – on a good run occasionally  you feel like your legs are carrying you so fast that you might be flying. Which from the back of the pack might not be that fast, but hey I’m never going to be Kenyan.

This morning – in week one back at running, I had one of those runs. I knocked over excuses to get my ass out of bed and into my sneakers to take on the road. I went through my new running warm up schedule which is guaranteed to make even the most confident runners feel like a uncoordinated baby giraffe. A few bounds up and down the street and finally I’m off on my run.

Today was a run on my regular route the princess loop. As I shuffled on the bike path I could feel the sun rise on my back, and glanced down the street to see the city covered in a think fog. Then down at the park a local border collie paced me for a while around the oval running up to circle around me a few times before heading back to his owner and back to me for a few more circles as if to say – you can do this!

Then halfway through my run, something took over my legs and strangely I picked up the pace for a strong finish on my 8km loop. That’s the stuff of the flying runs. And for a moment in your post run huff and puff you feel a little bit like a superhero, certainly makes for a good morning!. 

Time away from the track.

Time away from the track has been wonderful but the challenge with time off training, is that now you’re out of the habit.

Just so you know, “morning people” are a myth. Getting up early doesn’t come easily for anyone and once out of the habit – neither does doing the work. Our modern world is a minefield of do’s and do not’s with a thousand reasons to stay in bed, hit the snooze button, remain inactive, skip the oats option and substitue it for sugary muffin goodness.

By the faults of our own human-ness the easy road is convenience and convenience is king.

Running? Only fitness freaks go running or those contestants on the biggest looser.

But how easily will we loose our way – a little bit older, a little bit rounder, a whole new list of excuses to stay in bed. I came across an article in the New York Times recently that rejoiced the fact that obesity rates in children aged 2-5 years old had dropped 43% in the past decade.

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Which begets the question how do 2-5 year olds have obesity in the first place? As an adult if you want to eat an sit yourself down long enough to reach obesity then you have negotiated a long decision matrix to get there. Looking at 5 year olds, I have to ask where have we all gone wrong? How do our youngest start in the first few years of life with obesity, which means they are five times more likely to be overweight or obese adults.

My advice for grown ups is the get out of bed, put your feet on the floor and do the work. In a few weeks time you might even catch yourself telling your friends that you are a “morning person”.

Back to the trails.

 

Trails

It’s been a while since I’ve been on the road and the best thing about having a break is definitely making the comeback. On the road back to the top, your likely to find that you fall in love with things along the way all over again. Like those cities that you re-visit and everything was just so – maybe because you are on vacation in a far away city but more likely because you had actually taken some time back for yourself.

A work colleague aptly described to me that my running time was “Zen time”. And I guess that he is right – running for me personally is both a social event (god knows women on the run can talk!) and also time away from the stress of the world. From time to time non-running friends have asked me what I think about when I go running?  Sometimes it’s everything but a lot of the time once I really get into a run, rather than think about things – I focus more on being present, in the moment.

Being in that moment, in each stride along the trails, hearing the gravel roll under my foot fall and feeling the sun filter through the tree’s – that will always bring me back here for time on my own and time shared with others on my own two feet.

 

 

Notes from the asphalt

It’s been a while since I have written here about my adventures & light bulb moments on the roadside. I have taken a step back from it in the past few months and focused on adult things like work – tell you what, this is so boring! I’m ready to quit my job and try my hand at joining the circus. Let’s pack a bag and digress. Are you really wondering who would have more fun?

I’ve been running around getting into the worlds most embarrassing moments (of course), why by awkward when you can laugh about it I say. But I’ve missed pack running.

Pack running is where the “chat” is far more important than the distance you might clock up or the direction you are facing when the wind blows west – running is all about the chat. Who want’s to run faster anyway? – we’ve got things to talk about. It’s these conversations that have kept me running over the years, the people I have collected from the asphalt that have allowed me to explore the world from many perspectives, with folks that I would have never met in my ordinary day-to-day life.

Recently I’ve been re-joined on the continent with one of my oldest running pals. Running with someone is really awkwardly like a relationship you never really intended on having. For starters – running around in the dark with someone is the perfect setting to take your deepest darkest secrets and set them free. With this particular friend we’ve grown up running, if you tell anyone – I will have to kill you.

So when we take to the road – we laugh uncontrollably if one of us has mistakenly run out the door with their shirt on backwards or inside-out and for the most part we cut to the chase. I have one of the most upfront relationships with my running pals, because it’s always been that way. Nowhere to hide, sweating & waging battles of truth or dare along the way, naturally this hasn’t always been comfortable: but it has always been true or, ridiculously funny.

As the dawn breaks – irrespective of the city we might find ourselves in (at that moment), one hassles the other to get out of bed for a run. And there’s nothing like old friends to get you to pick up the pace & tell it to you straight, carrying you forward into the light of day.

Thanks for the miles girlfriend.

Ps. I think Africa is a dumb idea – I don’t think we’d ever be able to keep up with the Kenyans.

All that we have.

As people we can get caught up in giving away our energy to worrying about the things that we don’t have, rather than appreciating all that we have.

And when it comes to training there are countless excuses that (if you let them) conveniently pop up – when it’s cold outside, when it’s raining, when it’s Wednesday and you prefer to start on Monday’s. Often we cheat ourselves, putting obstacles in our own path, because we are scared, we don’t feel ready, or lack the confidence to step forward into action.

Today on my run, I was overtaken by a paraplegic cycling. As I observed his efforts powering forward with both his arms moving into the day – I was overwhelmed by a sense that I didn’t have any excuses. Of sound mind and of able body there was little in the way of my path to the things I wanted to achieve, I am so lucky.

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Not about running?

Have you ever felt like you are a part of a secret society?

Sometimes running is not about the miles at all. And in fact sometimes on the run, your mind could not be further away from the running. And often going for a run (especially for us gals) is really another excuse, to get our chat on. I know that to those huff and puff newbies out there – being able to talk whilst shuffling seems impossible – but it will happen to you too.

So whilst we might tell ourselves we run to be fitter and faster and fit in more cheesecake, the truth is sometimes we (secretly) run for the chat. And in this modern world where you can tweet, txt, stalk book or email at the last minute that you are missing in action. It’s quite amazing that I still make times to run with my pals and they actually turn up. And after a few minutes on the road the floor is open to discuss anything and everything that comes to mind. 

On the road my sneakers will not hide even though nothing is sacred & no taboo topic remains untouched. I could tell you about the myriad of wonderful things I have learnt whilst putting away the miles in a pack of runners before sunrise, but you do know that if I told you, I would have to kill you.

The rule applies that we talk about on the run, stays on the run. 

So lace up your sneakers and get your chat on, you know you want to.