Thursday, December 18, 2008

World Run Day: 8th November 2008

I had started running again in July 2007 after stopping for almost 8 years.  I had run for about 6 years before that, and then just stopped.  Now that I had started again I was running, but not very long distances and not very fast either.  It seemed as though I had leaded weights around my ankles.  Running around the parks in Oxford amidst the beautiful lawns and trees was stunning, being passed by fleeting arrows less so.  It was hard to keep going and I kept wondering whatever happened to 'muscle memory'.  Wasn't this supposed to kick in after the first few meters and one's legs would 'magically' remember their swiftness and ease of foot?  No such luck and on those long slow plods all I could think about was winged Hermes!  I then started running on a treadmill to get to the point of running at a decent pace for an hour.  Ah well, the next thing I knew was that I just didn't want to run outside anymore.  It felt awful and also everyone else seemed to be so much faster.  It seemed like a bridge too far for me.  But I knew if I wanted to start improving, I would have to cross this bridge, sooner I hoped rather than later.

Well the opportunity came with a run I saw advertised for 8th November - Annual World Run Day.  You had to commit to running whatever number of miles you wanted and make a donation to a charity of your choice.  You could run at any time, provided the run took place on 8th November.  This seemed like just the thing to get back to running outside.  Naturally I started getting cold feet and kept hoping that on 'race day' there would be an almighty snowstorm and gale force winds with zero visibility.  Sunday 8th November dawned - a stunningly beautiful day with the sun dancing on the river.  As I jogged off towards the river, feeling very self conscious, I told myself just to keep going, I could always stop and walk if I felt too slow and awkward.  I had committed to running 5 miles and I knew that I could definitely do that in an hour.  As I started running alongside the river, together with all those other runners, I suddenly started feeling absurdly happy!  It was such a beautiful day to be out and I felt very thankful that I had had this opportunity to challenge myself and come out for a run.

After running on a treadmill for so long, my legs felt rather jelly-like and my lungs were exploding with the frigid air I was inhaling.  I was also going at a much slower pace than I usually ran on the treadmill and I realised that I had a lot of work to do - OUTSIDE.  That day I overcame a huge hurdle.  For the 6 or so years that I had run, I had always had a regular running partner, Francesco.  Indeed it was thanks to Francesco that I had first taken my baby steps in running.  He was always encouraging and when I ran with him, everything seemed alright.  I had never ever run alone.  I count 8th November as the start of my second running life - the first day that I truly ran alone.  I ran alone mentally and I loved it.  So the snazzy race t-shirt arrived in the post, and next year's race is already what are you waiting for:

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1 comment:

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