My 2019 running has been quite hit and miss due to a number of factors which I won’t bore you with. Todays ten miles were fantastic !! I really connected with my running, my surroundings and my desire to commit. So, after a number of false starts I feel it’s time to focus on the remainder of the year.
I currently only have one race booked and that’s the Portsmouth Coastal marathon which is the weekend before Christmas. I may well enter some other races but the PCM is currently my goal.
Today was a game changer !! After a much better weeks sleep I woke at 7am, half an hour before the alarm and I said to myself, “lets make the most of it” and get up !!
Driving out to Meonstoke only takes about twenty minutes but I used this time to ask myself what did I want to achieve. My conclusion was that I needed ten miles with as few distractions as possible and quite simply to soak up the sights and sounds of a relatively early countryside run.
I decided to run the three miles to West Meon village, follow the High Street up and down and then return to Exton for Beacon Hill. The secondary aim of today was to run past where I dropped out of Race to the King. My feelings were predominantly of frustration the last time I was there and I wanted to replace this with positivity.
Pace wasn’t a factor for today, I decided a sense of reconnecting was my main goal. As I joined the Meon Valley trail I immediately felt relaxed, almost as if I was leaving the old 2019 behind me and embracing the remainder of the year.
I didn’t feel I was running away from the stresses of my life, more that I was heading towards a better way of dealing with them. Being in a good place really is the best way to deal with whatever life challenges you with. Running hasn’t 100% been my happy place this year but I was determined to change this today.
I decided not to look at my gps stats but just to accept whatever came my way and take a photo if I thought it was a good reference point. My first photo was at about two miles in.
It always strikes me that the animals I see on my travels look happy. It’s a bright sunny day and they are grazing outdoors. A simple existence and yet that’s all I was aspiring to on my run, just to co exist with my surroundings.
As I reached the end of the trail (it’s an old railway line) the remnants of West Meon station’s platform can be seen and I passed through a narrow footpath that takes you to the High Street. This path can’t be more than four feet wide and the walls look like the original stonework from the railway which opened around 1903.
I do enjoy running through history because I like to try and imagine what it would have looked like. My trip up and down the High Street took in the stores, the old post office, a butchers and a pub.
Returning towards Meonstoke I had Exton in my thoughts. I’d clocked up about five miles and was in a good steady rhythm. With few distractions the countryside allows you to listen to your body. This might sound a little self indulgent but I find it motivates me.
Even breathing means I’m pacing my effort, the sound of my footsteps becomes a beat to tune into and you really are living every second because its what you are concentrating on. The simple process of following one stride after another.
Mindfulness and Wellbeing are important to me and I feel I’ve drifted away from them in recent months. Today I felt connected with what I wanted to achieve.
Heading through Exton and up Beacon Hill I wasn’t even really thinking about when I dropped out of Race to The King in June. I was too busy taking in what was around me. The stream that flows through the village, the flint walls, the birds song and the upcoming hill !!
I was pleased to keep a steady pace to the trig point at the top of Beacon Hill which is were my first blog photo was taken. The South Downs Way was made for blue skies and sunshine !! I can definitely say that the effort it took to reach the top of the hill was well rewarded.
The downhill return meant I could speed up and let myself go !! After a number of measured miles due to fitness restraints it’s good to just “run free” downhill.
So, what did I set out to achieve ?
A ten mile run (Tick), inspiration (Tick), mindfulness and wellbeing (Tick) but most of all the sense that I’d thoroughly enjoyed and hour and three quarters of “me time”. Running makes me happy and it has a positive effect on the rest of my life.
I’m ready to commit to get fit with more training and deal better with what every the rest of 2019 has in store. I promise future posts will be less about me and more about running …. ha ha !!
Thanks for reading