So, I’ve been running a lot lately, which (partly) explains my sporadic posting. I’m not really a runner. I have set myself a lot of goals in my life, but never physical ones. Physical exercise is not really my thing, and it’s making me pretty exhausted a lot of the time. Still, even though it is hard, tiring, sometimes quite monotonous, and there’s the whole thing of fitting it in to your already packed schedule, there is a strange compulsion in me to run at this stage of my life. I can honestly say I never really felt like running much before. I used to be one of those people who looked on at those red-faced joggers with pity. But now, as I approach the end of my 3rd decade, I am one of them. I get it. It feels like something I absolutely must do.
I like the way it makes me feel. Aside from the health benefits, I like the way my body finds a gentle bobbing rhythm, and when you hit that sweet spot it sometimes becomes something quite effortless. I like the fact that I can pretend like I’m running away, but then I always come back home (and usually in a better mood). I like that running gives me space to listen, to think, and process. I like feeling my heart pump harder and louder. I like that it makes me sweat. I like having run; the way my legs feel tight and fizzy (and that post-run shower feels oh so good). I like that my children and husband cheerfully wave me off with pride every Sunday morning. I like my muddy, slightly battered running shoes – I feel every hard-earned mile in their soles.
I will never understand though, why some days it feels like I’m wafting along on a gentle breeze, admiring the scenery and smiling serenely at dog walkers, whilst on others my face is a scowl of concentration, I can’t smile for puffing, and my feet seem to jar with the pavement. On those days every single kilometre I chase is a hard slog. I have been surprised too about how many emotions are stirred up when I run. Sometimes I find myself crying.
In April I shall be attempting to run the London Marathon. A thought which fills me with terror and excitement in equal measure. I hope I shall continue to run after that, if I feel the need.
But for now, onwards, and forwards feels like a good direction to be going in.
Edited to say: I shall be running in support of The Lily Foundation, a charity which funds research into mitochondrial disease; a metabolic disorder for which there is no cure. If you are interested to learn more about mitochondrial disease and how mitochondria affect our body please watch this informative video.
© words and images Emily Hughes, 2015