If I Can Run The First 200 Metres, I Can Handle Anything

Today’s run is all about rediscovering confidence and willpower

A road going uphill
Image: Ave Calvar/Unsplash

Before I go on any run, I worry.  

I worry that my knee will give out…  

I worry that I won’t make it round…

I worry that I’ll do a Paula Radcliffe (and I don’t mean breaking World Records…)

But most of all, I worry about running the first 200 metres.

Of the three ways out of my road, two of them are uphill. One is short but very steep –aptly titled ‘The Little Bugger’ on Strava – and I haven’t run up it for at least a couple of years.

The other hill is more gradual, but it’s no pushover. You’re still onto a four per cent slope as soon as you start out.

It’s 400 metres of climbing in total, but it’s the first 200 that are the hardest.

Because, when I go up that bloody hill, it’s the feeling of losing my breath for the first time that I hate.

It’s like being in an alien environment, somehow. As though I’ve been thrown into a cold sea and come up gasping for breath.  

I tell myself that, the last time I ran, I did eleven miles, so 200 metres should be a piece of piss – but I’m not feeling so good this morning.

I need to run to shake myself out of a depressed mood and a hangover, brought on from trying to drink myself out of the depression last night.

I’m fed up, because I’ve been trying to find a job, and there’ve been no takers so far.

I’m also doing my best to grow this blog – but it doesn’t seem to be taking off, despite a lot of hard flapping.

In short, I’m trying hard, and I’m getting nowhere, and it’s making me feel even more useless and lonely than usual.

My knee clicks and grumbles: I worry again about it giving out. But I have to go and run to shed this skin of despair I’m wearing.”

What’s worse is that little things don’t seem to be helping me this morning. Nothing is coming easy.

I’ve lost my running socks – the special pair with the higher tops that stop my shoes chafing my heel – and search for them for ages in a pile of washing.

Every time I bend down to look deeper into the pile, my hangover bumps against the inside of my skull and sends a jolt of sweaty sickness through me.  

My knee clicks and grumbles: I worry again about it giving out. But I have to go and run to shed this skin of despair I’m wearing.  

There is a third way out of the house, down a gentle slope for most of the first mile, that I use when I’m coming back from injury, or totally lacking willpower.

I’ve already sketched out a nice little run in my head, using this downhill start, but as I finally locate the socks I realise that I just can’t take it easy today.

Because I want the horrible first 200 metres. I want to feel that breathless panic and overcome it.

I want to feel like stopping, but keep trying.

I want to know that I can overcome. And if I can do it out on the road, I can do it in the rest of my life, too.

Come on. The first 200 metres: piece of piss…

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