If you’ve read this blog recently you will know that I’ve been trying to get over injury and illness. It’s been hard getting back into the routine of running. I have been frustrated by my fitness and my calf can be sore which means I haven’t yet been able to train on consecutive days. I’m only a club level runner, even if I’m that, but as a lot of runners will probably relate, I take myself seriously. Far too seriously. So in coming back from a long period of recovery I decided to try and just enjoy my runs.
During a recent run I discovered my calf felt ok and I was able to run a bit further. I turned off from the route home and headed out to cover a few more miles. I started to think about heading back down the track, charging my GPS watch back up, deciding on strength work I wanted to do. My mind was purely on serious running thoughts. As I reached the top of a bridge over a dual carriageway I happened to look up. A view that I have seen many times took my breath away. Beyond the houses and the local retail park, looking down on the world below were the beautiful hills of the Welsh valleys. A collage of autumn golds and reds glowing in the last ebbs of the evening light. At that moment I was felt like a tiny speck on the landscape and this line from one of my Julia Donaldson’s children’s’ book ‘The Snail and the Whale’ (a firm family favourite) popped into my head:
And she gazed at the sky, the sea, the land,
The waves and the caves and the golden sand,
She gazed and gazed, amazed by it all,
And she said to the whale, “I feel so small.”
Being a runner can be so intense sometimes. We can end up so concerned by race plans, GPS watches, minute miles and the intensity of our runs that we sometimes forget the pure joy of just running. As runners we are in a privileged position to see the world in a way not many other people do. We can cross terrain that a car will never venture through and we can experience the city and it’s twists and turns in a way that some would never dare to. It’s good to train for races and to prepare for challenges but it can be a shame that this can sometimes distract us from the simple joy of running and being out in the elements. So if anyone out there is having a running lull or questioning their love of running I suggest leaving the watch at home. Just run. Look at your surroundings, find things you might not have noticed before. It doesn’t all have to be about the races and the personal bests. Feeling like a little running speck doesn’t have to feel bad.