It pays you back

Posted on: 15 May 2014

To be honest there have been too many runs recently that have felt like hard work. There has been a sense of dislocation from the process of running and I've been willing the run to end almost as soon as it's begun, it hasn't always been much fun.
But tonight the process paid me back.

It reminded me of when my children were newborn babies. There followed six months of selfless devotion, constant  broken sleep and countless nappies changed. Just when you are at the end of your tether and in an almost zombie like state of sleep deprivation your little baby smiles at you for the very first time. Everything changes, you melt and forget all that's gone before, the world is good again. The bond grows stronger.

After months of putting is the graft without feeling I was getting much out of it tonight I was paid back. It was only 5.5 miles but they flowed with effortless ease. I ran along damp hawthorn lined country lanes heavy with the the scent of elderflower blossom. I felt the easy rhythm and simple even breaths, for the first time in ages it just felt so right. It was running at a 7.20 pace but it felt much slower because I wasn't running hard. The landscape seemed to scroll past me and I felt like I was on a travellator being pulled along. As I entered the final mile the skies darkened to heavy slate grey, thunder rumbled in the far distance but the seven o'clock sun still basted the luminous yellow fields of rape seed and I smiled at the dramatic contrast of sky against field and reflected on the run almost complete.

There are so many runs that require a huge level of effort, the ones that are all about the hard slog. There is a joy of sorts here too if you battle the mind and body and push on through to conclusion. The afterglow is the reward and the process itself often far from pretty but the job has been done. Tonight my mindset was different and I experienced a run that I've learned a bit about in the blogs of Rob, Crooxi and others here,one where there is a freedom and connection with the place you are running through. It's not always about the stats, the splits and the pace ( I have Garmin connect for all that ), sometimes it's not about the relentless hard work, occasionally if we are lucky things fall into place and running gives us something else. A good run has an effortless purity to it, they don't come around very often but they really give you something back.

The York marathon training programme starts this weekend, 21 weeks to the start line again. The new goal has to be a sub 3.25 PB, if I can run more often like I did tonight then it could happen. If it doesn't happen then I just hope that I feel this running freedom a little more often and mix it up with some proper hard work and see where it takes me.


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