I have a very strict routine and I stick it come hell or high water. Tue, Thu, Sat and Sun – and if I can then maybe a bit of something on the other days as well. Two runs of minimum of 21km and two sessions at the gym of about 2h each. If I miss a day, it throws me into a massive spin of anxiety. I am a bit obsessive about it.
Normally when I go away, the first thing I pack is my running kit. Doesn’t matter where I am going or what I will be doing – running routes will have been mapped out in advance. So when last week I had a work trip from Monday to Wednesday with a programme from sunrise to sunset, followed by dinner etc I wasn’t in the best of moods when I realised I would not be able to fit in a run (and trust me I tried). The trip was to check out some of the geology of the Devon and Dorset famous Jurassic Coast; long days spent outdoors and driving from one place to the next. I tried to look at the option of running before breakfast but that would have meant getting up at 4.30-5am, before sunset and we were staying at a country house in the middle of nowhere and with no outside lights or street lamps. So I just had to bite the bullet and leave my kit behind… (Insert a tantrum here)
As it turned out, one of the days was cut slightly short in order for the team to prepare for an important meeting the following week so unexpectedly I found myself in the worst case scenario – I could have gone for a run but I didn’t have my kit with me! Waaaah! That, I can tell you, will never happen again. I will never, ever leave it behind again – in fact I should just have it with me, all the time. Anyway, to compromise I put on my hiking shoes and waterproof jacket and headed out on a 4.5 mile walk following a map the receptionist kindly (and with a concerned look on her face) pushed into my hand when I boldly announced my intention. The hotel (a country house) is part of an Arabian stud farm and I had to stop a few passing farmers on quads to make sure I was going the right way as the little path took me past these quaint (or honestly, slightly scary) – farms. I have seen too many horror movies. So there I was, walking through the beautiful scenery. All alone in the world, except for the thousands of pheasants. Happy enough, following the map – though at the same time pissed off as I kept thinking – I could have been RUNNING this. Yeah, I tend to stew a bit. After about 30 minutes I looked at the map again. And got a bit puzzled. And then realised I was actually at the opposite end of it to where I had thought I was… My walk had just gotten a bit longer as I needed to get a bit creative to get back on the right path.
Oh well, there was still ermmm.. about 45 minutes until it got dark and I was only in the middle of a thick forest and the rain wasn’t sooooo bad. I should just be honest, I was so high on the fresh air that I was very laid back about everything. It was nice, just me and all the birds. So what do I do when I am happy (or sad or whatever) – I started to run. Oh yes, in my hiking boots and jeans – I broke into a sprint. And I kept on running and running, a bit worried that this would be the moment that someone else would happen on the path and see my idiocy but mainly just a bit giddy. Not really the kit I would recommend but I managed a long enough run to give me that hit I needed.
I got back to the house in time before it got dark, had a lovely hot shower and settled in the bar with a lovely local ale. Heaven!
And you know what; when I got back home and did my first run, it felt amazing. My legs had definitely benefited from the days off and my mind was ecstatic to be out running rather than feeling bored about the same old, same old. So yes, there was a silver lining. This time….