A beautiful start to the day. Early morning. A time for reflection and renewal. The perfect time for yoga and meditation.
Well that’s the plan.
The reality was somewhat different. A creaking, stiff body. A sleep deprived mind and a cat. Yes that cat. The big boy. The biggest cat on the Vets’s books. Yoga is too much of a temptation for him. Great for him. Not so great for yoga practice. Not the greatest photos. Too dark. Cat way too close. Trying to hide my exposed short covered legs….
Temporary farmers field lake is still going strong and still delivering. Kind of want it all year round. Wonder if my hosepipe will reach that far….
I’m not sure it will.
I was doing my morning torture ritual. Set the alarm to go off while it’s still dark. Exercise and then let the real torture begin. Yoga. Trying to follow the helpful and really nice instructions.
“To extend this pose why don’t you just take those knees just a bit lower…”
I’m not sure they will.
“This is a scrumptious hip opener why don’t you just hold it for another 10 seconds…”
I’m not sure I have the will.
“Try to breathe in through your nose to the count of 7 and then breathe slowly out to the count of 8.”
I’m not sure my lungs will.
“Now try to touch the ground with the outside of your left knee while twisting your body as far you can to the right.”
I’m convinced it will not do that without rupturing my spine.
“While keeping your right leg off the ground cradle your left thigh with both arms, start to rock.”
If you count going into catatonic shock as rocking, then I can…
Don’t worry. No need for the panic room. It’s the other baking…..
Sometimes it’s hard to drag the body out of the warm bed and into the baking hot Yorkshire winter weather. I know what’s likely to greet me when I do finally get to the back room and my exercise bike.
It’s potentially colder in this room than it is outside. And it’s certainly cold outside.
I remember the days of jumping on the bike in pretty short shorts and a thin running top. At present it’s 97 layers, gloves and two wooly hats. I’ve got that many layers in that I have to peddle for at least a minute before my very outside legging layer starts to move.
Today the water and energy drinks have been replaced with hot chocolate and a hot water bottle.
So I was on my exercise bike and feeling like I was in an icy snow hole. What I couldn’t make me mind up about was….
Was the iced up windows annoyingly blocking the view of the outside world
Was the iced up window forming a useful barrier, blocking out the reality of the outside world.
In the end I decided it was a bit of both.
This time last year exercise was so easy. Didn’t need to think about it. Chuck some kettlebells about and then go running in the hills. Happy days.
Then the pandemic happened. Anxiety and fears of my son brought the walls up. Suddenly we were housebound. Running stopped.
So now it’s chucking a kettlebell about and things like yoga. It’s not easy anymore. Not just running in the direction of my nose anymore. Need to think about things. Lots of things…
- Are the feet, hips and shoulders in line,
- Imagine the feet sinking into the ground, a great base,
- Am I correctly rooted,
- Is the back straight,
- Am I controlling my breathing,
- Am I extending that hip opener,
- Is this an up dog or a down dog,
- Is my neck extended,
- Have I just done a clockwise or anticlockwise circle with my knee,
- Which is my left leg again,
- Is that my knee clicking,
- How am I going to get out of this knot,
- Have I done my 3 minutes in the tree pose yet,
- Remember to lower my back one vertebrae at a time,
- Do I bring my feet together, hip wide or wider,
- What on earth is a virabhadrasana II,
- Is my bum tensed,
- Don’t forget to say namaste….
If the thinking was bad enough what about the pain. Never again will I ever moan about a muddy hill climb. The agony of a delicious hip opener. The dizziness of my head being below my buttocks. The shooting pain from holding my entire and not insignificant weight on just two dodgy old wrists for a torturous crow. The brain shakes that come from yet another extended plank. That soul destroying feeling that hits you when after suffering 5 minutes of a triangle pose you here the words ‘and now for the left side’.
So yes I really do miss the good old days of just running.
This will be where I go for my one permitted trip out of the house. The farmers field at the back of the garden. One bit of outside exercise is now permitted by the Government. So that’s taking the dog for his morning constitutional. A few laps round the deserted field.
But look at those puddles. How tempting are they. So want to channel my inner Peppa Pig and jump in those muddy puddles. But I don’t want to get the dog drenched and caked in mud. So maybe I could go back home, drop him off and then come back.
But surely that would count as a second exercise trip out. Breaking the rules.
I bet those sheep would dob me in as payback for feeding them cheap biscuits.
I sneaked out for an early dog walk. That way Hawklad doesn’t go into Quarantine meltdown. For me and the dog. One thing about our son is that he is so predictable in a morning. After 3am that’s it he is asleep and doesn’t wake up until just before 8am. One of the advantages of the school at home project. This has been pushed from 7am. Much more natural for him, much less forced.
It does allow for a dog walk but sadly no run. Captain Chaos goes into bark mode when I try to sneak out without him. And it’s just a big fat NO to trying to run with Captain Chaos. He’s a dog that doesn’t believe in going in the same direction as the person with him.
But a dog walk is something. It’s a little win. We take any wins these days.
You might not be able to tell but it’s absolutely chucking it down with a howling Gale. But at least some of the mist has been temporarily blown away. Very squelchy under foot.
While someone had a little constitutional in the field I decided to play with the panoramic mode on my phone…..
This field is our sledging slope. Only ever seen us two use it really. Will it get used this year or next? Doesn’t feel like snow. But here hoping. That would be another little win.
This was last year. One hour into my trail run. Apart from missing the exercise I hope you can see why I miss running free.
Eventually you have to accept reality.
Hawklad’s anxieties are still rising. More routine tasks are becoming more difficult for him. He can largely control the dynamics within our house and garden. Lots of washing, extensive quarantining of items and being careful what he touches. He is ok within his castle walls. He is not ok with me venturing out.
Beyond those walls and that’s a completely different world. An alien, dangerous world to him. His doctors are clear – this will take a very long time to start to address. It’s not going to start happening until a pandemic is well behind us and as one of our leading scientists pointed out – with a fair wind we may start returning to something like normal life at the end of 2021. That’s assuming the new vaccines work and roll out soon….
So for me the reality is that our personal lockdown will likely stretch through 2021 as well. My mindset has to change. Away from getting through the next few months TO living the much longer new reality.
So back to the photograph. Running has become a bit of a drug for me. Now I have to completely wean myself off that. I’m nearly there as it’s been so long without it. Time to permanently replace it with other things.
Just about a year ago I had just dropped Hawklad off at school and about an hour later was running along this country lane while listening to rock music. Another 4 miles and I would be back home. Then it would be a cup of full fat caffeine and then get stuck into work until it was time to pick Hawklad back up again. How times have changed.
No trips to school, no work, no trail running, no caffeine and the MP3 player has not been used since March.
Since then the only running has been a couple of attempts at running round the garden. It’s not a big garden. Each lap lasted lasted less than 10 seconds. Who could forget the marvellous route map from one of those epics…
These days running has been replaced with yoga and tai chi. Or as we like to call them.
Falling over and Falling over with added style.
No need to track my route on those activities. Today I accidentally did track my route for yoga and tai chi…..
That’s kind of worrying as I was supposed to be staying on my small yoga mat. Maybe my tracker is not as accurate as I had hoped for. But I suspect a faulty tracker will not be an issue going forward really. Can’t see too many runs happening this side of Easter. But that’s ok. There are much more important things to worry about. And today I quite enjoyed Falling over and Falling over with style. Kind of felt like I was summoning up a bit of my inner Dr Strange. Maybe there is something to this yoga and tai chi thing.
The weather is a bit stuck here.
This is basically it…..
Feeling stuck is often not a great feeling. Today I feel must definitely stuck. Stuck in Groundhog Day. It feels like that….
- I tend to wake up at the same time and experience the familiar tiredness,
- Sling open the curtains to see mist, greyness and everything dripping wet,
- I get Hawklad up in the same way and set him up as usual for the home at school project,
- The home at school hours pass in the same way. The same lessons requiring the same input. The usual lessons delivering the usual frustrations,
- I cook Hawklad the usual food, repeating the same 7 day food cycle every week,
- Every day looking over the fence and wondering what it would feel like to run free. Then shrugging my shoulders and start moaning about the weather,
- The feeling of going round in circles during my exercise workouts. I tried to introduce yoga to freshen it up. But it’s often just the same poses performed in a slightly different order,
- Spending ages trying to get the never ending cycle of washing to be semi dried on the radiators,
- Opening up the work laptop and finding nothing in the to do list,
- Listening to the same news. The same world problems. The same self deluded madmen hogging the headlines. The same lies,
- Going through the same quarantine procedures with post and deliveries,
- Feeling the same frustration with hobbies. As hard as I try to learn German and the Piano, each day I seem to be back at square one again,
- Going round in circles trying to get the support Hawklad needs to truly flourish. Failing and then trying to provide that support in my untrained, and rather random way,
- Realising it’s another day isolated,
- Venturing out at night to hopefully look at the stars to only find the mist has turned into heavy rain,
- Trying to keep myself awake during the evening movie then finding sleep escaping me as we move beyond midnight.
Definitely feels like Groundhog Day.
But here’s the hope. Just like in the wonderful Bill Murray movie it is still possible to break the cycle eventually. Just got to keep trying. Forcing myself to experiment with what alternatives are available. Remembering the good dreams. Yes one day 6.00am will bring a truly new start.
I realised that it’s been a while since I mentioned grief. If I’m not careful I will need to change the name of the blog. Maybe it’s time to find something with ‘muppet’ or ‘most excellent baker’ as a new badge to work under. The possibilities are endless when you think about it. So many things to go for
Trying to navigate the Asperger Parenting open waters
Truly shocking poetry
Badly behaved pets
Badly behaved wildlife
Village high jinks
The wonders of Switzerland
Hide behind the sofa politics
How many photos I can squeeze out of one back garden view
Maybe not accountancy…. Definitely not that. I would actually rather listen to a U2 album than read about that subject. But maybe there is a key message here. Apart from I’ve actually found something I hate more than Bono singing. If you had asked me back in 2016 and 2017 to make a list then it would have been very short. Grief, single parenting and Aspergers. Bereavement and loss seems to rob you of your life. Your gaze drops to your feet, just can’t lift your head up. Walls begin to surround you. But with time, in your own time, things do improve. You can lift your head up again. You start to want the walls to come down again. Yes maybe Bereavedsingledad doesn’t quite fit anymore.