If you follow me on Instagram or know me personally, you will know I am slightly obsessed with running. This post is sprinkled with photos taken on my runs and so is my Instagram. If you also know me well enough, you’ll know I’m the last person anyone would ever suspect of being… (cue sinister music) a runner.
Growing up, I was always the too-skinny kid with zero muscle tone who struggled to lug her book bag around let alone do anything more taxing like throwing, catching or running. I was quite content to spend my break times in the school library with a trusty Roald Dahl tale to keep me company. In the winters, I was especially smug about my life choices as I sat in the warmth, thinking about how those suckers were out there in the cold, freezing their butts off – and for what? Pah. I maintained this delusion in the summers too, reasoning that skin cancer would be the only reward to be reaped from playing tag every lunch time like the demented lunatics on the playground insisted on doing so every day. PE was a special kind of hell which I managed to make more bearable through feigning asthma. This provided me with the privilege of dipping out of PE sessions when they become too strenuous – which in my case was straight after the five minute warm-up. All in all, athleticism is not something that comes naturally to me. If athletic capability were to take physical form, it would actively recoil in disgust from me.
Naturally though (and thankfully), I did outgrow my laziness. When I finally started to respect the role of exercise in my life, it was inevitable that running would become my one true love. I am an introvert and I value the time I have to myself. I couldn’t imagine doing team sport. I quite literally melt under any kind of competitive pressure so taking part in something where there are points to be won just wouldn’t fly. No, running was the ticket for me. I can do it alone and I have no one to compete with but myself. It’s been a match made in heaven.
As an adult with a busy life and a demanding job, running has been my sanctuary. I work all day helping others to manage their mental health difficulties and when I come home, I manage my own worries, stresses and general fatigue by just getting out for a run. Running is an amazing way to keep yourself active and physically healthy but it’s also a superb way to connect with nature, to unwind and to just get some time alone with your thoughts. Some of us live such busy lives, we never get to take stock. As a therapist, I know how important it is to check in with yourself and your emotions regularly. Every time I run, I get to take stock and I get to reconnect with the world around me without any distractions. It’s as blissful as a workout can be!
Now although I did say I don’t like competition…. I do sometimes take part in races. The atmosphere is amazing, it’s not competitive at all (runners are by their very DNA uber-friendly people) and sometimes you can use the event to raise awareness and funds for awesome causes. In a few days time, I will be running Bournemouth’s Half Marathon for an organisation called BEAT – an eating disorder’s charity. My fundraising page is here if you want to check it out and if you can, please do donate!
If you’re a runner or if you have a way you keep yourself physically and mentally healthy, drop me a comment. I’d love to know!