Still. Another blog on lockdown.

Disclaimer: This blog is relevant to running and not to any other areas of lockdown. I certainly don’t have the answers to the running problems so don’t get me involved in anything else. Except maybe spreadsheets, I like them.

I know, I’m writing again. Shut down my internet and call the running polis!! It was only in October that I closed the book on the blog but having said that it was only last May that I wrote a large piece about how I was(n’t) coping in lockdown.

Cards on the table and honesty time here. I don’t think any of us expected to still be in that lockdown limbo, everything was going to be back to normal by now wasn’t it? We would have had our autumn marathons and be training for our spring ones, be parkrunning every Saturday, plans in place for the forthcoming road and track season.

For me? A shiny new club vest to wear with a new running group to try and integrate with, new aims, challenges, targets, and a new lease of running life.

A new age group.

So many things pointing to a new start, one of the reasons for ending blogging, and the additional relief from not having to moderate FB group toxicity on a daily basis a real benefit too. Free, free, free, bring on this marvellous new start!

But here we are in February and it’s 11 months since my last race. The thought of attempting a 78 minute half marathon now fills me equally with dread and hilarity. But races, aw man, the buzz, the people, the smell of deep heat and bananas permeating the air. Seriously missed. The buzz of following a plan and seeing how well you can execute it on the day. I did do a socially distanced 5k time trial in November in 17.13 but that’s not the same.

Not that I am counting but it’s 85 days since I last trained with my club. Oh the hilarity that has ensued now that I can’t run with my new clubmates as I am in a different local authority from them, that really showed you Mr Ideasabovehistationturncoat. I know that tickled a few folk. I also know that when training resumes again I still won’t be allowed to join in with my club for another while after that due to my different LA, I am right back to square one again and will be the new boy outsider again. Personally? I am having my ups and downs like most other people. I have never before known the difficulty I am having just now of just getting out the door. I love running, don’t get me wrong, but my motivation is in hibernation. When I get started, when I am out there, I am mostly loving it, but I am finding any excuses not to do it, and recently the weather, the snow and ice, has given running the same appeal as watching the Masked Singer. I know, that makes me shiver too. On those rare runs when I get to socially distance run with someone it’s great fun, even the transmitters in the snow was a delight.

I am working from office 3 days a week and know if I don’t do my running at lunchtime on those days I will get home and just won’t do anything. There’s no need for me to get out in that minging weather on my own. I can do it tomorrow. Mmmmm biscuits.

The closest I am getting to serious training is eating the calories that I would burn marathon training. Over the last weekend I think I set a new PB for eating cupcakes. Mmmmmmm cupcakes.

Cupcakes, recently, now sadly no longer with us

I am collecting new trainers that I don’t know when I will ever get to wear, Imelda Marko is back with a vengeance, and see those shorts I am saving for racing? They are multiplying, just like the vests for the track sessions that I can’t do. (60 days since my last track session, again not that I’m counting). When I see posts on Scottish athletics about elite racing it is in equal measures exciting and filling me with insane jealousy. Man I want to do that. Let me into the Emirates for even 10 minutes. Let me run around in my Dragonfly. I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.  Watching the indoors athletics on the red button? Exactly the same.

So this is me. I am confessing my lethargy, my lack of zest and vigour and putting it down in print to try and put it behind me. I ran hard at lunchtime for the first time in a wee while today and I am going to try and keep doing that. I am going to try and look forward, maybe that Monument Mile in May could just happen after all, can I get race fit in 13 weeks? Maybe as the evenings and mornings start to get lighter we will find the lift to get back out there more. If we can see the progress of the vaccines maybe we can believe we can run together again soon, gradually and in stages of course, but maybe it will start soon. I do think we have hit the bottom of this so I have to look up the way now. It may not go fast but things are starting to go the right way and just maybe I’ll put a pair of those shorts on, and a pair of those shoes, and just go out and run my wee butt off, because I can. I have to believe it’s getting better and will keep getting better. That’s what is going to get me out there properly again. Maybe you can get those trainers on too and I’ll wave at you from across the street, or from across the local authority boundary. Take care.

A song – “Still” performed by Broken Chanter, a cover of a gorgeous song by Annie Booth, recorded in lockdown for an album of isolation songs to raise money for local music venues to help keep them afloat.

Thanks John Brogan, Elaine Gallacher and Colin Stephen for the photos.

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