It has been a while since I have written anything, both here or anywhere else. How things have changed so much. When I last wrote I was struggling with training, life, and everything in between. The end result of this was yet again another DNF in a 24 hour race albeit in much different circumstances to the previous year. A return to Tooting Bec had played on my mind for a full 365 days and nights. It ended the same way, different fashion. One of the best paced races I have run but then picked up an injury and opted to sit it out after 18 hours. The pain of sitting watching others run in circles while I am a beer drinking spectator will stay with me for years and it certainly hurts more than any injury ever will. Failure doesn't fade. I need to solve it and at least finally finish a race. Especially running in circles. For me it's running in its purest form. No destination, no distractions, no scenery. All I get to think about all day and night is running. And I love it.
Anyway after the DNF streak continued I had a wee bit of time off, running if I wanted to, not running if I didn't want to. It was good. Although it lasted longer than the month of me usually doing that and somehow, as if by magic, months had passed, races were nearing, and the t shirts were either shrinking or I was getting bigger. Probably a bit of both. The first race of the year was the Kirkintilloch 12.5K. Funny distance but it is a great race. Unfortunately I didn't race great. I mean I ran to maximum effort but due to the above reasons it seemed I was running through treacle rather than air that all the people overtaking me got to run through. The race pretty much went like this;
First 300m felt brilliant, then felt like running with cement shoes, then running through treacle, then my body slowly combusting from inside. Got a free towel though and I love racing, regardless if for first or last place so it was a great day out and good to see the Run Rhaw boys posting some good times. All the better with a few beers after it together.
Belfast 24 was next on the list. I thought it would be good to get overseas and see 1 mile of a public park there while chasing others around it for a day. I was genuinely looking forward to it, although for whatever reason was not training 100%. When the restrictions were put in across the globe this had an effect on everyone's races and this fell victim to the Covid like the rest of the calendar.
Maybe a blessing in disguise as I certainly wasn't in shape to do what I needed to do at another looped course. That's what I want to excel at so another sub optimal performance wouldn't have done anything worthwhile. My focus, or lack of it, changed again after this.
Sometimes the mojo gets lost, and it can be incredibly difficult to find. Especially with no races on the horizon and no need to actually train if I didn't need to. But I don't want to train just for races. Somehow constantly focusing on racing can take away the fun in it, and I run because I love running. I also love racing no matter what it's at, but running has my heart and always will. Focusing on running for the love of it, going back to where it all began and falling in love with putting one foot in front of the other for many miles is a great thing, especially if it's done in circles :) Running has me excited again. I'm back at the stage when I think about it every day when I wake up.
I don't know what age I was, but I can vividly remember lying on my mum and dads living room floor watching Kerrang. Looking up at the telly and on came Can I Play with Madness. Before this moment I had never listened to metal and I remember being totally mesmerised by it. I never took my eyes off the telly for the full song. When I hear Bruce singing that intro it always takes me back to that living room and I can feel the buzz and excitement in my belly as I did the first time I heard the song all those years ago as I'm drawn into the cartoon real world of Eddie terrorising the school teacher while the guitars scream and echo through my mind. No matter where I am it takes me back to those teenage years. It just ignites so much excitement into me. That's how I'm feeling again about running. The thought of lacing up and running in circles gives me that same scared excitement as if I've just fallen down that trap and chasing something that I don't know what it is or what I'm chasing.
I've a bit of work to do to get me in race shape again, but I'm excited to have the madness of every step bring the excitement back to me and see what I can do, and give me the sense to wonder, to wonder if I'm free. Let's run to the hills