First Spring Run

Spring is here.

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on
Someone told me way back in November, on my first parkrun, that if I could keep running through the winter, I’d be flying by spring. Unfortunately, as spring arrived this week, so too did my first really bad cold of the year. So my exciting running plans for the first week of spring were put on hold. I managed a very feeble treadmill session by Thursday and generally felt very sorry for myself. Then Saturday morning arrived. I was feeling much better. The morning was mild, with the last remnants of light drizzle just clearing up. I felt ready for a long run. I wanted to cover 12 KM, but didn’t know how I’d cope after a week of almost no running. I made a deal with myself that I had to try at least 10 KM, because I know I can manage that distance, and aim for 12 KM. I took a decongestant, packed my running belt out with tissues, and set off. I decided to take what has become my usual long run route, towards the village of Lilstock, and then on towards the beach. As I began running I noticed two things: that it was much warmer than I am used to, and that I was running much better than I had expected. I only began running in October 2018, and so all of my runs have been at fairly low temperatures. Although I have lost over six stone, I am still carrying about 4 stone of excess weight, and I get hot very quickly when I run. This happens even when there is ice on the ground, so I do wonder how I am going to manage when the summer arrives. An additional motivation to shed the weight quickly. Even so, although I felt like a volcano about to erupt, the running was going well. I was enjoying myself. I felt that my body needed the run. My legs needed to move. I felt strong. I noticed the primroses growing along the roadside, I noticed birds singing, and then I noticed that the hills seemed less work today. About half a mile away from the beach, a couple in a car stopped to ask for directions to the beach car park. I saw them again after they’d turned around, now heading the right way. I wondered whether I’d see them there. As I ran up the track to the car park I noticed that there were many cars parked, with people gathering in a group. As I got closer, I could see lots of people had backpacks and hiking poles. A meeting of ramblers. I heard animated chatter, and laughter. I told myself not to be paranoid, that they probably had lots of things to laugh about other than the wobbly volcano woman approaching them. Then a voice called out ‘We made it!’ ‘Oh, good’ I puffed and gave them a wave. I was too focused on my goal of the beach, just out of sight around the corner, to think of anything more interesting to say. But I was pleased that they’d found their way. Then the last little stretch up the path to the beach. I stopped. Waves pounded the pebbly beach, the salty breeze struck my face. I flung my arms out and shouted ‘I did it!’ Then I looked over my shoulder to check that there were no ramblers behind me. The beach may be stony, the sea may be brown, and the view is marred by the Hinkley Point C Power Station construction site, but being able to run to the coast still fills me joy. I had a little mooch about on the pebbles for a few minutes, and then set off for home. The run home was not so easy. Just as it takes 10 minutes or so to get into a run, it took me time to get going again. This is why I don’t try Jeffing (run a bit, walk a bit). I find it hard to run again once I’ve stopped, or walked. When I reached the beach, I felt strong. Now, I felt weak. My legs dragged. But I kept going. I worked out how far I still had to go (nearly four miles), and how long it would take me to walk the whole distance. That was incentive enough to keep plodding along at a steady jog. Eventually, running became easier again, although not as good as it had been on the way out. I decided to aim for 13 KM to make up for the time spent ambling on the beach. About a mile and a half from home, I took a detour to make up the extra mileage, and then ended with one of my least favourite hills. I took tiny baby running steps up the hill, until I heard a car coming, and felt I ought to look like I was actually running and not dying on my feet. Then, down the other side, at the bottom of the hill, Nike Run Club told me I had ran 13 KM. So I slowed to a walk for the last few minutes to cool down. When I checked Strava, I had covered 8.4 miles altogether. And so what if it took me an hour and forty two minutes? That means I can now run for an hour and forty two minutes. I had also recorded my best times for 5 K, 1 K, 2 miles, half mile, and 400 M. All achieved on the run out, none on the run back. I think the lesson for me is – just keep running, don’t stop for anything.

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