Today I went for a run. I wasn't supposed to. Yesterday I did something very stupid which resulted in a dodgey leg and I said I was going to rest. However during the week my new running skirt had arrived and I had promised myself I would take it for a test run today. I have a silly rule that I must wear a skirt on a Sunday but that's not usually possible when running. Besides, my son had rugby practice and I could either stand on a cold pitch watching or go for a little run.
I wasn't expecting great things from this run but with a science background I find it almost impossible to run without analysing my speed, distance, pace etc. Every run has to be run with a time in mind. Today I took my son to rugby and then got out the car to take a photo of myself in my skirt. I proved I am useless at selfies and that my arms aren't long enough to get my face and my skirt but never mind.
I set off on my run with a limpy leg and almost regretted it immeadiately. I checked my watch and was already running 2 minutes slower than I would normally set off. I didn't stop though. Every runner knows that the first 1km is the worst so I kept going. It wasn't long until my leg started to work and I was picking up the pace. Then it happened. There was That feeling that all runners dread. My stomach started to churn. Now there are occasions when you can run and you know the churning will just create wind. I've run on beautiful sunny days where people have looked up to see where the thunder is coming from when really it is me passing wind. Today I knew that with that churning I didn't dare let anything out. Luckily I could see a toilet block in front. I had run less than a mile and was now running with my chest out in front and my bottom out behind with my buttocks tightly clenched. I didn't dare speed up and it was too risky to slow down. It was a case of concentrate hard and pray you didnt see anybody you knew.
I made it to the toilet block but didn't dare relax just yet. Do you know how hard it is to get the bolt across on the toilet door when your runner's belly is trying to escape ? I won't go in to detail but I was glad I stopped my watch so nobody would know how long I was there! Once relieved I came out and took a photo of the loo block. By now my run was truly interrupted and never going to beat any targets. However my time out gave me time to think and I restarted my watch and my run with a new goal. I decided I wasn't going to look at my watch and I was going to run this for fun. I was actually going to see, hear, touch and taste this run. I was going to live it.
I set off looking toward the lifeboat station where the RIB was sat on the slipway with the blue sea
beyond. Instantly I knocked my bottle off my belt and smashed the lid. I didn't stop my watch. I laughed as I drank the cool, orange sports drink that made my hands sticky and threw the broken top in the bin. With the wind behind me on the promenade I could feel my feet lifting from the floor as it pushed me along faster. I ran past the dog walkers, the children on scooters, the football match in the field. I listened to the crowd cheering and teammates shouting to each other. I heard the water spraying in the play park as I went by. My feet were pounding on the path as I ran along.
It wasnt too long until I reached my turning point- the Gosport Golden Mile finish line. I stopped, took a photo and turned back into the wind. Normally I would curse running against a 24mph wind with stronger gusts. Today I smiled. I held my arms out to the side and let the wind jostle my sleeves. I let my top fill with wind and create a drag net behind me. My new skirt was pressed against my legs in the wind. It could have been worse, the wind could have lifted it to display the under shorts. I ran back slowly, watching the large ships on the Solent. I listened to the wind roaring in my ears. I felt it blowing through my fingers, pushing against them and making their own little sound and ripples. I watched the white horses on the sea and wondered just how choppy it would feel in the water.
I could taste the salt in the air and feel it drying on my skin. As I ran through a parking bay somebody blew smoke out their window. I knew I was going tonrun through it as I could see it
coming towards me. I thought I would smell cigarette smoke but I could smell strawberries. They must have been smoking an e cigarette thing. I carried on running and then I walked for a bit just so I could take in the view a bit more. Running again I could hear the footballers again so n
Knew I was getting back close to the start of the promenade. I kept going and ran past the turning I needed so I could run to the start line of the Gosport Golden Mile. I stopped to take a few photos and I walked back towards the road.
I noticed a gentleman carrying a log, loads of weathered sticks and a rucksack full of driftwood. Smiling, I started a conversation with him. He said he was like a kid in a candy shop today as the beach was strewn with beautiful driftwood. The large log was going in his garden. The smaller weathered pieces were going to be used to decorate mirrors and plant pots. He was meeting his wife in the car park. As we approached the car park I started to run again. I heard his wife moaning 'You said it was just a couple of pieces'. He replied that he had several large pieces to go back for and then I was out of earshot but I don't think his wife was too pleased though.
I ran a little way up the road and noticed the bluebells growing along the roadside. I stopped to take a photo. I looked back at the sea behind me, across at the football match and forward to where I was
running. I carried on back up the road and back up the slope. I turned to run along the side of the
creek. A small bird flew in front of me into the hedge. The seagulls were swimming in the creek and a family were just unloading kayaks from their car. I ran back to where I had parked my car and stopped my watch. I pressed reset straight away.
I don't know how far I ran. I don't know how long I took. I'm not interested. Today I ran and saw more than my feet and the floor in front of me. Today I heard more than just my breathing. Today I took notice of where I was and what was around me and I appreciated it all. Today I was alive. Today I lived as I ran. Today I had fun and enjoyed myself. Today I realised what I had been missing. Yes statistics and fast times are still important but so is running with no other purpose than enjoying being out there .