Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Once more unto the.....

Despite an attempt to soundtrack my life with a musical score by Paul Simon (Mainly Graceland, obvs, but also Rhythm of the Saints), the bubbling over of positivity and motivation is fails to last more than a few minutes, and I'm finding it really hard to actually begin running again...

I've had the odd run since the winter, but nothing that resembles any kind of regular commitment. When I'm into a running schedule, there's nothing easier then getting up and outside, in the mornings, when I'm home from work, lazy sundays, whenever. When I haven't been running, the excuses are plentiful: my knee, my self-conciousness, my hair, I'll somehow manage to convince myself that a 5 km run can be equated by half an hour of cleaning my kitchen. I've drawn up a training scheme, the first part of which begins officially in May but I'd like to be running 2-3 times a week before I start that. However, at the moment I feel massively fatigued. I've had a couple of busy weeks but I still feel that I'm more tired than I should be - especially as the springtime is usually when I feel at my very best.

I'm possibly being a little hard on myself as I was in loco parentis of two (sometimes three) dogs last week and consequently walked over 25+ km in the space of a week, which is not to be sniffed at. However, walking is one thing (and one thing that seems to result in inordinate tiredness....), actually running is another, and my mind appears to be interpreting for my body, and making it sound like a teenager: "Guuuuuuuuh.... I'm TOO TIRED!". It does literally feel like my legs are full of concrete whenever I entertain the notion of popping out. And even when that's not the case, all those other excuses pop up. It doesn't matter how much I tell myself how good I will feel afterwards, or promise myself ice cream, or how certain I am of how ineffably easier it will be to continue than it was to start. Basically, I need something to force me to get out and pound the path around Roath Lake. Happily, there is brightness on today's rainy horizon: Wednesday is my day to walk Spud the collie, who needs to lead, loves running and won't take the piss out of me when I stopped jogging halfway round the route. So this evening, come rain come shine, I will be, in all my bright pink-faced glory, panting my way with a stony expression, past the swans, geese, ducks and pedalos to a new, bright future, the main difference of which is that it contains me running more frequently. Rome wasn't built in a day, people.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Exploring places that I think I know

So it's been a unpromising couple of weeks. And by unpromising I mean: I have not been for one run. I have managed a couple of walks though - this is my only achievement in the running stakes.

However I do have a reasonably good excuse that isn't (directly) related to excessive chocolate intake - I was hosting a week-long tour of Americans (two of them). I met John whilst I was travelling in China (where he was working as a school teacher) with two of my friends, and we all four of us spent many nights up together sharing stories about the significantly different places that we had grown up. I was lucky enough to go and visit him in South Carolina last year, and the favour was returned (by whom I am unsure). I had raved about how beautiful the countryside and the coast of Wales are, and I was pretty chuffed that even my descriptions hadn't prepared the two of them for some of the most breath-taking and dramatic scenery that the UK has to offer, if not the world. It's a bit of an assumption that we as a country do not have particularly amazing beaches, and if your UK beach trips have been limited to the South Coast, this is understandable. But in fact, we (not just Wales) have a wealth of amazing beaches of various types with stunning vistas, quirky wildlife and fantastic surf - I guess it's just the weather that limits enjoyment. Our trip took in Gower, the Brecon Beacons, honey ice cream in Aberaeron, Southern Snowdonia (including the cottage where Led Zeppelin wrote a number of their songs, Bron-Yr-Aur), North Wales, the Midlands, Cardiff, Bath and London. Going on an adventure in my own locality was one of the best decisions I've made recently, and the chance to get to see everything that I know so well through new eyes was an opportunity that came as a complete surprise, and reminded me how proud I am of all the places I am from specifically, and from the country I am from in general. Nothing like a little sunshine (and pouring rain and snow flurries) to help one see things in a more positive light.

This may not be a great revelation to everyone else, but it's a reassuring one to me. Paradoxically, it seems to me, that whilst the world is getting ever smaller, your own areas are actually much much bigger that most people might realise. There's a massive wealth of things to discover practically on your doorstep, from the best bread in the city to real-life wildlife displays (red kits, hawks attacking crows, lambing, wild horses scratching behind their ears, and the most massive pig you've ever seen in your entire life) to a B&B that's been in the same family for 500 years.

So that's me for today, I'm off to plan my now-cemented desire to take a long weekend cycling around Northumberland this summer. The next post will hopefully be about how I'm channelling this optimism, via lots of Paul Simon, into tackling my training regime, which is now extant, with gusto.

Enjoy where you live!

No matter how many times I walk it, I still love Garn Goch: