When running is important to you, and you can’t run, it messes with your head: well, it does mine! At the time of writing, while we find ourselves in the Covid-19 pandemic, we are allowed out for one daily exercise, and although I am not running every day, I am running more often that I have been: for a couple of reasons…
At the end of February, I needed to have an operation, I won’t go into details, but I will say that although it was not major surgery, it was serious enough to put me out of action for weeks. I was told by the surgeon that I was not allowed to run, and I soon discovered that I couldn’t run, even if I had been given the all clear to do so. I was also unable to cycle or swim, so, it wasn’t long before I started to suffer mentally. Running has done absolute wonders for my mental health; I am not ready to talk about this in any detail, but let’s just say I can end up in some dark places if I don’t remain active.
So, I did stuff that involves other people’s running instead. I lead the (Ely Runners) 10-week beginners’ course, so I was able to take on static roles, and as a Coach in Running Fitness (CiRF), I can say with some authority that you can learn as much about someone else’s running by standing and watching, as you can running with them: maybe more. So, being static was a positive thing, as was keeping in touch with fellow coaches and seeing the impressive progress of the course participants.
I also volunteered at Soham Village College parkrun , an event that is really important to me, as is parkrun in general. As part of the core team of Run Directors, nothing gives me more pleasure than to help set up in the morning and have a laugh with the amazing volunteers.
Sadly, parkrun, and the beginners course had to stop due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent Government response to it. On top of this, as a key worker, I was able to carry on working, until I started to feel really unwell. I went from someone who was able to run a half decent 5K or an ultra marathon, to a coughing wreck in just a few days. Even a walk in the garden caused alarming breathlessness. A call to NHS 111 resulted in what I dreaded and expected, self-isolation at home. My wife is also a key worker: she and our twin boys had to self-isolate for 14 days. Once that was over, and I eventually went for a run, I could really feel what fitness and endurance I had lost as a result of illness, self-isolation and my break due to surgery.
I have a somewhat mercurial mood at the best of times, which can be great, but it can also be problematic: running really helps, but until recently, the release running gives me was removed. My wonderful wife, as understanding as she is, has had to put up with a grumpy and obsessional prat: I love her for her patience. Friends have helped; all friends, but as my blog is about running, it must be said that keeping up with running buddies via social media, Zoom, Messenger etc has been invaluable. I believe the pandemic might even have strengthened friendships that were already pretty solid, which is often the case among running club members. Thank you to my close running buddies. You know who you are.
My running is slowly improving again. I am slowing things down, worrying less about times and PBs and focussing on being able to run around Ely and the surrounding countryside: long may it continue.