It’s cold and dark, but if you can get outside and run… get outside and run!
Life’s not all that easy at the moment, here in the frozen North.
It’s not cold, cold. In fact, it’s not even frozen. But there was a thick frost on the roofs of the cars outside when we struggled up this morning.
It was still dark, and I was so tired that one massive yawn threatened to dislocate my jaw as I switched on the kettle for the day’s first invigorating cuppa.
I looked out onto the blackness of the garden, lamplight picking out the frost, and thought my first uncomfortable thoughts of the day – nothing too serious, just the sort of mental scabs I often pick at.
And then I thought: I don’t want a sad day today. I want a run.
Swimming’s a poor substitute for running – apart from the sweet ache afterwards
IT’S COMING UP to a month now since my right knee flared up again, and stopped me from running.
And while the mashed ligaments are healing, my half-century-old cells are knitting together much slower than I’d like.
Which is a problem, as running is one of the major pillars that holds my life up.
I am not completely sure that I would be here – and I certainly wouldn’t be quite as intact as I am – if it hadn’t been for running.
Putting on my bright blue trainers two or three times a week and starting up the 300-metre slope at the end of my road has kept despair more or less at bay for about a dozen years now.
And in the really dark times, it saved me.
Even when I was spinning out of control, I knew that if I could just get out and run then I would – eventually – end up in a place where I liked myself again. Even if that place was a lot of miles away.
After my injury, I had to cope by taking long, slightly sore, walks for a couple of weeks. But then my Physiotherapist said I could try a bit of exercise that didn’t involve twisting my knee – like cycling, and swimming Front Crawl.