This isn’t a ‘How To’ guide. That was a question. Someone help me. I’ve googled it only to receive cheesy, over optimistic blogs that were in no way helpful. I’m running more regularly than before, but when I leave the house I find myself circling back sooner than I intended. I’ll run six kilometres – then five – six again – and, if lucky, I’ll follow it with a seven. I haven’t really been building my distance, I’ve only been… continuing.
It feels static, but then again, everything feels a little static now. Running down streets with no cars is strange. An elderly couple came walking from ahead and, courteously giving them their two metres space, I ran down the middle of the empty main road.
I ran through the Warehouse car park (empty). I ran past my local café (not a chair in sight), past the foreclosed Four Square (which shut its doors well before lockdown).
Two teenagers stood on the other side of the field, kicking a rugby ball between them, their jumpers screwed up and thrown beneath the goalposts. I almost leapt when a bike appeared around the corner of the estuary. I hadn’t seen anyone else on the track, hadn’t heard them coming. We exchanged nods and ‘good afternoons’ and kept our distance.
Even the pathways feel different, I found myself noticing cracks in the concrete as if they were new when they’d been there for years. My town is still my town, it’s just sparse.
Maybe I can forgive myself for taking a week to simply continue. It’s harder now, with no impending race deadline, to barrel forward with high ambitions.
I’ve been stacking up excuses for my inertia:
- My headphones ran out of battery on my last run, and what monster would expect me to run those extra kilometres without music ???
- Running is hard, and I deserve a break.
- In my haste to flee the city, I left my running shoes at my flat. Running in my mum’s old pair is giving me blisters which, despite layers of plasters and socks, keep reopening.
- Did I mention the part about running being hard?
- Staying home, staying in my ‘bubble’, not being about to see, in person, the people who matter to me just isn’t give me a whole lot of motivation to get out there.
Yes, it’s a hella weird time. And yes, I’ve got to be kind to myself during it, but, keeping training will only going to do good things for my physical and mental health. Maybe building my running can wake me from the static-ness of everything else (queue Evanescence’s ‘Bring Me To Life’). The above excuses are, just that, excuses. And even though it feels like my town has folded in on itself, I need to do it anyway.
I bumped into an old friend on the beach, metres apart we ask how each other’s families were. Running, I found fences with chalk messages to our ‘essential workers’, decorated in laminated hearts, and words like ‘Support’, ‘Kindness’ and ‘Thank You’. It made me smile. And, I kid you not, a boy biked by, wearing a two-dollar-shop lei, yodelling. I’m holding on to the thing that that beautiful lei-wearing, yodelling boy gave me: the strength to keep going. Hopefully next time you read me, you’ll see my list of kilometres. And you’ll see that despite it all, they’ve moved up.