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



15 Comments on “onwards

  1. I see we are roughly the same age, as I am also approaching the big f-word. I too run, well really jog. I relate very much to your post. I have run all my life, though it was compulsory, daily, and externally-driven early on — and now it is self-directed for all the reasons you write. I detest running in groups, though, and I must run in nature. I can hear the inner dialogue that I think also comes with beginning to meditate, and yes the mind is against me on those days my body is a sore, heavy bag. And then there is utter solitude. And the birds. At its best, it clears the way for art-making. (If there were only more time).

    Thanks for your post!

    • Hi Summer – I relate to everything you write! I also prefer running alone; the solitude has become essential to me. It’s definitely a cleansing process also, and improves my focus. But yes, time is always an issue!

  2. God do I understand what you mean about the emotions and why some days I could ‘almost’ run for ever and some days it feels like I have lead in my shoes. Good luck in April, I know you will be great x

    • Yes there is. I am enjoying it most of the time, but like every challenge there are always the difficult moments! Thanks for your good wishes!

  3. Best wishes on your marathon. It’s wonderful that you have comitted to running and that you are so present with your body and heart and mind. I am a veteran power walker and hiker and experience many of the same feelings, but by now mostly clarity, peace and creative inspiration. Let readers know how you do in April. Keep at it!

  4. This is such an endearing post, you really made me smile in the first paragraph, and oh how lovely, your family waving you off at the door..! It’s so odd isn’t it the emotions that trying something new to us can bring. I’m taking flute lessons at the moment and really going back to basics and learning slowly – can’t tell you how much comes up to the surface with the effort of dedication, the good and the bad! I think as we grow older we start to get a feeling that we want to challenge things more deeply somehow…Hope to see a pic of you in April! (and take care of your knees!! :)) x

    • I know, they really do that! Yesterday my daughter wrote me a poem for mother’s day and how she was proud of me for ‘never giving up on my running’ – I had no idea it would have such an impact on them but I think it’s good for her to see me striving for goals. Now I want to do it more for them really than anything – my biggest supporters! Good luck with the flute lessons – I’ve been thinking about taking up the piano again also, but realistically I might have to put that on the back-burner for a little while!

  5. Good for you! I love your description of the “on”days and the draggy days. So true. I never could get going (pun intended) with running. My speed is a stationary bike while binging movies, but I so admire your commitment. I also admire the image. It captures the feelings of running so well!

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