Open Air

It’s been over a year since I last managed a run. It’s hard to get my head round that fact especially as up to that point I would go trail running at least 3 times a week, every week.

But here’s the thing.

Do I miss the blisters – NO.

Do I miss the aches and pains – NO.

Do I miss having a face that you could fry and egg on – NO

Do I miss running up hill – MOST CERTAINLY NOT.

But I miss the feeling of open air and wow I miss the views.

Here’s hoping

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.

Welcome sight

That’s one of my favourite electricity poles. Why? Because when I used to run it was the first thing I saw when I got close to home again. Always a welcome sight.

I was thinking that after this trying year we could all do with a welcome sight or two.

For everyone that welcome sight will be different. For me what would it be….

Maybe a rock concert,

Maybe going to see my team get beat again at St James Park,

Maybe it’s the view from the top of a mountain,

Maybe it’s the Sea,

Maybe it’s seeing Switzerland again,

Or just maybe it’s seeing a friends smile in person.

Let’s hope that whatever that view is, you and I will see it in 2021.

Wean myself off

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.

Route tracking

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.

Tai Chi

From a time when running was still an option for me. This photo was taken a year ago. Who would have thought that a year later I would be looking at this view as something so precious. I ran this trail on my last run which was back in March. No sign of running here any time soon. Wonder if anything has changed?

8 months without a run. I can’t believe that. 8 months.

I was thinking how much I missed it. Running was good for me. Apart from the fitness element it also was good for my soul. A wonderful stress buster. But I guess as one door closes another opens. Who would have thought that I would become a regular yoga dude. And quite enjoy it. Not as much as running but let’s give it time.

And now there is something else.

Tai Chi

Yep I’ve started doing that as well now. It’s basically yoga without falling over….. Let’s see how it goes. Its going to be fun. It’s something different. I definitely feel like a Tai Chi lego figure guide will be coming soon…..

These are odd times. The old normal has stopped. We just have to adapt. Find ways to do more than just survive. Need to keep living.

Find new ways to run.

Hibernation

A brief few minutes of decent weather before the next wave of wet and windy ‘yuk’ arrives. It’s good to get outside to breathe even if it only for a short while. Having said that. Try telling that to a dog. A dog who has taken one look at the weather and decided to hibernate inside. Can’t blame him really. Cold wet grass or playing with a toy on the sofa. Not really a tough call.

I remember after my partner died that I felt like hibernating. Straight after a death you are constantly forced out to sort out death certificates, funeral arrangements, banks, legal stuff, family, friends and acquaintances (many you have no idea who they are). It’s the last thing you want to do but you just have to. But then after your back from the funeral it starts to change. The requirements to venture out start to diminish. In my case I had to quit my job to become a single parent. Apart from the school run and shopping, no need to go out. And that’s what I did. Started to hibernate. But home wasn’t a warm and safe nest. It felt cold, empty and scary. But hibernate I did.

I was lucky. For some reason one day I went for a run. Suddenly running was ok. I could avoid people and venture out. It helped break the spell of that lifeless house. Mile after mile running and listening to music. It was a start. I was outside more. Starting to breathe again. People would come later. And yes a mad dog would arrive to bring life back to the house. So yes I will grant the mad one a bit of hibernation. He’s earned that.

Lopsided

I sometimes worry that you think I’m a little drunk some days. The photos might look a little slanted. In my defence I have been tea total for years and struggling to get straight photos is down to living in the hills. Or maybe it’s because I tend to just be one second away from tripping over.

One of the highlights of the week these days is taking the car for a little run out. It doesn’t like sitting doing nothing. It seizes up and battery has a habit of going flat. Sounds a bit like me….. So once a week I take it for a 5 minute drive. Just along a few of our narrow country lanes. Most of them like this one are not wider enough for two cars. No motorways here.

Hawklad won’t currently come with me. Doesn’t feel comfortable enough. No point pushing that. He said that he will try to come with me starting in November. He stays at home hence it’s only a 5 minute trip. When I get back it’s time for full decontamination to keep him happy.

I thought I would take a photo of this one particular stretch of lane. It’s a favourite of mine. I would frequently run down here on my longer pre pandemic runs. Why is it a favourite?

It’s relatively flat. No ups and downs. Here that is such a lovely feeling. But even here I can’t get a truly level picture. But I will settle for this. At least I’m not falling over. Yet.

Goals

It’s strange how my goals can shift. This time last year I was thinking about cranking my runs up. Eyeing up some longer trail runs. Trying to find ways to fit them in during school hours and work. Then building towards a 22 mile Moors run. Something to aim for during the winter months.

Fast forward a year and the thought of trail runs has long gone.

Now just a walk across the farmers field to that tree in the distance seems like a real goal. An aim. Something to dream about. How many times can we get to that tree over the next few months.

Until life resets again then that is something to hold onto. I realise it’s important to be realistic. To take account of the circumstances that are currently in place. Short term goals need to change to take account of this. But I can still dream on a grander scale. Push that horizon further. Hold those dreams close and maybe one day when life shifts, and it will, they become the achievable goals.

Sitting down

I must have run past this monument well into a three figure number. Lots of times. I wonder when will be the next run here? 2021? 2022? or later.

Without running I’ve switched to more CrossFit and Yoga. I can definitely see a few more muscles but I’m not sure how far I could run now. It’s been many many months since I last put on my running shoes. My joints would definitely need a good oiling before I tried.

Today’s yoga was definitely interesting. 10 minutes of doing what appeared to be a simple task. Standing up from a cross legged position without using my hands. The standing up bit was ok, it was the getting down bit which was the challenge. How hard can it possibly be to go from standing up to sitting on the floor with my hands behind my back. Humpty Dumpty comes to mind. Give me running any day please. I can do that. But I guess over the coming months I will get the chance to improve. Not sure my bottom can cope with the bruises for that length of time.

We had two deliveries and the postman this morning. It’s unsettling for me to see each person arrive at the door fully masked up. Imagine what it does to someone fighting fears about germs and bugs. It really did spook Hawklad. Should really say spooked him even more. My job over the week is to rig up a post box outside to stop letters coming through the front door. Another thing that increasingly bothers Hawklad. As these anxieties continue to grow he becomes more clingy with me. His health professional has told me that his fears are so ingrained that they may not start to ease until this pandemic is under control and the vaccine has been rolled out and proven to be effective.

A clear time frame is starting to emerge on our lockdown. This is going well into 2021, maybe longer. That has huge implications for school, my work and our quality of life. Quality of life in the sense that our world will be the house and garden for the foreseeable future.

Running is not happening so I had better start to learn new skills. Skills like not collapsing in a heap when I try to get onto the floor without using my hands.