I wasn’t sure what effect this every day running malarky would have on me. Would I become addicted? What would 5km times be like? What would be the difference in fitness? What would be the difference in my mental state?
When I started back in February nobody was really talking about Coronavirus. 39 days later and we are in lockdown, Death rates are climbing and my runs have become more and more a release from this. A release from the world around and a chance to gather thoughts and think about ways to try and keep the business ticking over, to think about friends and family.
Today was no exception and, as I set off, I made a mental note to completely enjoy the experience, the surroundings, the sunshine and the countryside and, perhaps because of that, it was one of the highlight runs to date.
It makes me realise how lucky we are where we live to be able to run out into the countryside and hardly see a sole. Compare that to the crowd on the tubes and trains in the cities and those even trying to get some exercise in crowded parks.
I then think about the kids in We Love Football Academy, in the townships surrounding Cape Town. The virus hasn’t really taken hold there but, if it does, it is likely to cause mass deaths, sweeping through townships where the idea of washing hands and keeping 2 metres apart is virtually impossible.
My feeling is that they will need much more help than we will and thus to support them now is even more important. Donations, of course, have slowed down as our minds are on so many other things but, during today’s run, I did take a moment. Perhaps we all should take a moment.
Please, please, please if you were thinking of donating do it now.
So Boris announced new rules last night, one of which was to only leave the house for one fitness event once per day and not with mates. But that didn’t stop guest number 5 joining me today – Rory Souter.
Let’s run together virtually we said. We can speak via WhatsApp and describe where we’re running. What we can see. What we’re wearing. What we’re feeling. And even have some banter pretending of the other person is running too quick or too slow!
And it was great fun…and the way forward in these challenging times -a chance to be fit and sociable – so cheers Rory.
For the third day running the sun shone as well – which makes a huge difference.
A beautiful spring day and a really enjoyable run.
Back in the office, the atmosphere is so strange, with half an ear on the news, half trying to keep the wheels of commerce turning. The kids are at home being remotely taught (we’ll see how that pans out) and the emails and phones are quiet.
Back on the running front it was such a pleasure to run in the sun today and just enjoy the countryside. There is talk of a lockdown and, maybe eventually, we might even not be allowed to leave the house. I don’t think it will happen here (although it is in Italy, Spain and others) but let’s hope it doesn’t prevent me from finishing the 50 days!
A beautiful sunny day and near-perfect running conditions.
Legs still a little tired following yesterdays exploits, but a gentle loop around the edge of Brize Norton base and back towards Alvestcot and home (taking in a few wet and muddy fields) was the perfect Sunday tonic.
Bit of a different day today as I thought I’d start the day with a cycle ride with Charlie Stanley-Evans.
For those eagle-eyed blog readers, you will spot that Charlies wife – Rachel -featured back on day 10 – dragging me to a 5km PB at the time and, yes you’ve guessed it, Charlie shares the same strong athlete mentality and thus the ride was not likely to be a short little jolly.
..And so it proved when four hours and 85km later I limped back into the driveway with tired, sore and heavy legs…and a dilemma.
Option A. Shower, change, have lunch and generally relax all afternoon and then run this evening. Option B. Slip on the running shoes and head off on the daily 5km challenge.
It was a tricky one as, as you can imagine, the thought of heading out for another 30 mins of running wasn’t exactly the most enticing, however the thought of not doing it then and trying to run later (rather than chilling in front of a nice movie with the wife, kids and a bottle of wine) was not that thrilling either.
So Option B it had to be. And boy was it tough. my legs felt like lead and off I set at what can only be described as a shuffle.
Nearly 31 mins later (some 5 minutes slower than my PB!!) I was back. Day 35 ticked off and a huge sense of satisfaction.
So the wine is now open. The fire lit and I can indeed relax after another great challenge day.
15 days left and it looks like 2 guest runners have signed up for next week – we’ll need to make sure that we’re 2 metres apart due to Social Distancing, but, at this time, social contact and connection feels more important than ever!!
Another new running route today found by a “run along the Thames near Oxford” google search.
Yesterday’s post run niggle injury has come to nothing and thus I found myself at the Port Meadow car park.
Port Meadow is a vast flood plain that was a little flooded today but, after a short muddy run along the river, I cut back to some wooded, and then common, lane trails. In the absence of running in my trail shoes it was a little slippy, but a really refreshing run.
My first major Garmin fail means that I had to measure the distance (dont worry it was over 5km!) and then guestimate the total time based on the 3km that Garmin tracked, so no km splits.
Last day at school for the kids due to the virus, so perhaps I’ll have some new guests next week.
Gentle evening run tonight with a little bit of cross country thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately, the light in my headtorch was not fully charged and thus I think I may have tweaked something by stepping into a hole. I’ve been injury-free so far (just a few niggles) ,so let’s hope that this isn’t something worse -we’ll soon see by the morning I’m sure.
I’ve written a few times during this blog about my joy of running in the dark, with a head torch, listening to a podcast, and this certainly seems to have become a good space for me.
Don’t get me wrong, there are absolutely times to run with others, times to run with hi tempo music blasting, and times just to run listening to the birds and your breathing, but for me, my little evening cocoon works.
On that note, I must mention the life-changing podcast that I was recommended some time ago. ” How I built this” by Guy Raz (NPR) is just inspirational. It follows the story of how entrepreneurs build their businesses. The highs and the lows. And I love it!! It not only inspires me in my own business but also for life in general -so check it out
So there we have it. We’re 33 days in. We’re inching ever closer to £2000 raised. 17 days left. That’s just 2 1/2 weeks. 17 days to my 50th birthday and the end of the challenge.
Please keep donating. I know there are many other things on all our minds at present, but we may well come through this unscathed. The kids in We Love Football Academy will, I’m sure, still, be struggling and finding things difficult.
Weird, weird weird. Like being in an apocalyptic movie. Running whilst listening to the radio talking about the world shutting down. Schools. Businesses. Cities. It’s almost surreal. I’m running this challenge to raise money for some incredibly disadvantaged kids and yet suddenly the scale of the coronavirus means that millions and millions of people are going to be finding things tough.
Losing their jobs. Their livelihoods. Their homes? Indeed their lives.
I’m sure that when we come out the other side things will have changed dramatically. I am sure that people will take the time to reassess why they do what they do and whether its worth it. Whether there is a different path for them.
In the meantime staying fit and healthy, both physically and mentally, is going to be more and more important, and enjoying this challenge, and the headspace it provides is such a huge release and comfort.
I’m 32 days in. 18 days left. My plans for a final birthday run with friends, family and supporters looks like it may be going out the window due to social distancing. But we’ll see.
Joined by guest number 4 today – Olly Morris-Adams – and the first true cross country run of the challenge.
A testing 5km alongside the River Cole. Slightly sticky. Slightly wet. A little heavy on the legs, and a tester after yesterdays Duathlon! But yet again running with a guest proved to be great fun and a real tonic – Olly was so keen that it looks like he’s back for more tomorrow!
It certainly has been one of the pleasures of this experience to run with mates and I intend to get a few more in over the coming weeks that are left. Let’s hope that I won’t be prevented by any “self-isolating” or “social distancing” due to Covid-19.
31 days done. 29 left.
Please Keep donating -we’re now at 30% of the goal