8 Year Old Me

I felt pretty good after running 8 miles yesterday. My legs were perhaps a little tired but nothing major. I therefore thought a slow recovery jog on the flat would be nice. I hit the afternoon slump about 3pm ish so that seemed like a good time to go.

We ran down to the canal and to the stone bridge and then back to the bridge and walked up the hill home. The run was 3.72 miles and it was 12.10 minutes per mile pace.

All good then

No, not really. That was mentally horrible. As soon as we got onto the canal my little black puppy got hold of me good and proper and kept telling me how crap I was at this and that I’d always been crap. Then somehow it unearthed a memory I didn’t even know I had. I was taken back to being about 8 years old ( I think, I’m note entirely sure I was 8 but in my memory that feels about right) and having, for the second time in my life, been asked to and not managed to run 800 metres in a PE lesson. That in itself wasn’t too bad. I don’t remember being that bothered. I was good at other things but then my PE teacher made a big deal out of it, telling the whole year group that once again I had failed to run 800 metres and that it really would be something special if I ever managed it – not that she gave me any tools to try and learn to run 800 metres. I never tried again, not while I was at school anyway.

That memory was most unhelpful. I spiralled further. Every step was an effort. It felt like I had to drag my feet out of setting concrete. At one point I asked for a walk break and then changed my mind. We were running into a headwind and I was struggling to breathe but actually physically I was going ok. The stone bridge finally came although I’m sure the universe kept moving it further back. We turned round and for a few seconds it felt better. I felt like maybe I was outrunning the puppy… But then it renewed its efforts. I knew I was running well physically but my mind shut me down. I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other any longer. I walked. I got cross. I got upset. I started running again. I found a rhythm  somehow and just kept moving. Slowly, slowly that memory of 8 year old me turned into something else. You see, I can run 800 metres now. I probably could at the time but nobody actually explained to me how. I made it to a point that I happen to know is 800 metres from where we were going to finish (from previous 800 metre repeats) and I ran the last 800 metres for 8 year old me. I ran them fast and I ran them strong and inside there was a little 8 year old fist pumping and jumping up and down with excitement – even as I pretty much collapsed on the bridge trying to suck in the oxygen.

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