Of Lurgy, Bad Days and Needing to Run

Day ‘what feels like forever’ of lurgy. I can’t shift it. It is the second really bad cold/flu/whatever I have had this year and it won’t go away. Well, that’s not quite true, it is shifting. I am slowly getting better. I started this post a few days ago – on the anniversary of Rachel’s death. She was in many ways the one who got me running in the first place – more about that in another blog maybe. And that day I felt like I needed to run far and fast to outrun my demons – but I was stuck on the sofa. It wasn’t a good day. It was full of memories but focused on the regrets, on the didn’t dos and should have saids. It was miserable and her not being here physically hurt. I didn’t cry. It was too painful for tears.

As I tried and eventually gave up on trying to keep work things ticking over until I can get my brain to function properly again and don’t go all wobbly every time I try and leave the sofa, I have too much time for my mind to wander. This is not a good thing. Sometimes, my mind left to its own devices, comes up with the most amazing creative thought and ideas. My best ideas about how to teach stuff or for research papers have come when I have let my mind wander off and paid no attention to it at all. However, as many of you know, over the last couple of years my mind has wandered off to darker places, places where it then gets stuck and won’t come out for days, weeks, moths at a time. Places where it hides like a scared little creature too terrified to come out into the light. Places that are guarded by an annoyingly bouncy and energetic little black Labrador puppy. Don’t let its cuteness fool you, it’s a right bitch (no pun intended – not really anyway). I don’t want my mind to go there. I am trying to drag it back out of the shadows and tell it that it’s all ok, that we’ll be fine, my mind and me, we’ll be fine.

But the lurgy isn’t the only thing I have been struggling to shift. There are also the rather ominous but familiar ‘I’m not good enough thoughts’. I haven’t run for nearly two weeks and before that it was sporadic at best. I am miles behind (too obvious a pun really) on the 1000 mile challenge, the 10k race is in 3 weeks and I haven’t run that far since the Dr Strange 10k in California in November… so I’m not a good enough runner. Kath has been getting out and running lots and her mileage total is steadily creeping up, her pace is pretty solid and certainly faster than I am – I’m not good enough to run with her….I have done naff all in the house, Kath has done it all – I’m totally rubbish… I have been unfocused at work and have had nearly a full week off meaning that some deadlines for potential projects have been missed – I’m not good enough at teaching, research, organising myself, writing, thinking, motivating others, getting the job done…. I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

I know this is my mind wandering towards the dark places and being stuck in the shadows (we haven’t yet got to I can’t do it at all!). It’s been focused on all the things I haven’t done or won’t get done and it has spiralled from there. I need to run. I need to get out there to feel the sun on my face, to feel the physical effort, to release some of those happy hormones and to just get a grip. I feel like I need to run hard, fast and far, that a run up on the moors or along the canal might just make it all ok. Then I remember that I can’t run. But I couldn’t run when I completed Dopey either so let’s just ignore that. I managed to get out of bed and actually have a shower and get dressed today. Then Kath took me for breakfast and we did our food shop. I also bought some new PJs so really all is well with my world. I can now look at screens and read so I will look at work stuff and make a list and prioritise and get back on track. Tomorrow I will try a little walk and if I don’t collapse in a heap at the end of it, on Monday, I will run. It won’t be hard, far or fast but it will be a run and will at least give the puppy something to distract it so it might not notice me dragging my mind back from the shadows. And if it does? Well, it can catch me if it can.



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