It’s like learning to walk – but worse

I was thinking about calling this post ‘Starting again, again, again’ but that’s just getting silly. After that fairly positive run on the 17th March I didn’t manage another one until yesterday. We got caught up in a horrible lambing season which you can read about at our sheep blog. Yesterday the last ewe lambed and the relief was just huge. Once everything looked ok, I slept for an hour and a half and then we decided to have a little run. We drove to the sheep, checked they were all ok and then set off from there. We started on our usual route but then instead of carrying on and down the golf course, we turned left down a little woodland trail. And when I say down, I mean down. The first little bit is a fairly steep downhill and it’s covered in leaves and little twigs and branches (and some bigger ones). I so did not like that.

That steep bit was only really short though and then it levels out more – still essentially downhill but not steep – undulating maybe. I walked a fair bit of the trail and slowly negotiated the tree roots and the streams. I nearly face planted once as a stone gave way but that was the extent of the drama. Even though I’d only done about half a mile of trail I could feel different muscles working and I felt a bit tired. It was great to be out though and once we’d pretty much completed the loop I declared that my 1 mile reboot run and sent Kath on her way for lap 2.

Today I wanted to have another go at the trail. We set off from home and ran/walked to the start of the trail. Kath set off down and I froze and panicked. I actually stood at the top of the trail crying and Kath had to come and get me. I wasn’t going to write that bit – feel a bit of an idiot about that but there we are. I made it down (obviously) and then tentatively tried to run a bit more that yesterday. I didn’t fall and managed to bounce through a couple of sections quite effectively. But wow, running on proper trails like this rather than on the fairly easy going and more even paths I have been running on is a whole new thing. It’s fascinating really. I wasn’t huffing and puffing at all. In fact I was fine with all the normal things I struggle with when running. Presumably the enforced slower pace on the trail helps with that but once we stopped my legs felt a whole different sort of tired. I definitely used slightly different muscles and much more core muscles. Also, once I got over myself I didn’t have time to worry about whether I could or couldn’t do it and whether I was or wasn’t a crap runner because I was too concentrated on where to put my foot and how best to bounce through the next series of tree roots.

Kath really helped. After every little section she’d stop and wait for me and give me a hug  when I got there and then we’d set off again. I felt more sure footed than yesterday for most of it and I am looking forward to having another go. I have to admit to finding this really hard though. I just don’t really trust myself or my feet to get this right. I don’t really know why. It really does feel like I’ve got to learn to walk but this time I don’t have the fearlessness of a toddler. I think I often make it harder for myself because I can’t get my mind to let go and commit. Then, because I go tentatively, I don’t have momentum on my side so can’t actually bounce through sections effectively which then ends up making it more technical and difficult than it really needed to be. I do think I could do it instinctively but my brain isn’t quite prepared to let me try yet. It still wants reassurance that nothing bad will happen. I’ll keep practicing.

After the trail section ended we walked a little bit, then jogged along the road and walked up the hill and then home. We did a total of 2.56 miles- no idea at what pace but I don’t care either. It was lovely to be out and this was about pushing myself in another way, not just using pace or distance

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