Dashing through the snow

It’s been a difficult week.

A family bereavement meant that I haven’t been in the right frame of mind to even think about running let alone actually go out. It was a mentally exhausting few days, I just felt lethargic all the time and wanted to sleep.

The weather also hasn’t helped. Whether it’s been Storm Caroline or just your normal run of the mill December conditions there has been a considerable amount of rain and then snow here in Northern Ireland.

However, something clicked in me overnight. I was expecting to wake up this morning feeling absolutely awful. I normally do the day after a funeral but maybe it was all the overnight snow that lifted my spirits.

I had a parcel to collect from the local delivery office, and I knew it opened at 6:30am so I decided to get up and go for a walk in the deep, undisturbed snow safe in the knowledge there’d be very few people around so it’d be a good chance to gather my thoughts.

It was lovely. So peaceful.

As I was walking a thought came into my head, “I could run in this!” … walking was easy, the snow was still fresh therefore conditions underfoot were quite stable.

So, I rushed back home after collecting the parcel, quickly changed into my running gear and went straight back out again for a few laps of the football pitches beside my house.

I would have liked to say no-one else was around but I can’t, there was one other chap out who clearly had the same idea as me. I suppose to be a runner you do need to be a wee bit bonkers!

It was fantastic. It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t easy but, my goodness, it was so much fun. I was a kid again. My cares and worries evaporated for a few minutes as the virgin snow sprayed around my feet. I was almost tempted to do a snow angel!!!

I tried my best to run as normally as possible but given the depth of the snow it was difficult … but it was a good workout actually. I had to work harder, and it felt a bit like a trail run.

Today’s run also added a little bit more to my Run Up To Christmas total. My watch died after 2.9km so I decided to end the run there (I mean, if it’s not on Strava it doesn’t count, right?) – my fault for not charging it. However, despite not having done much this week I’m just a little off schedule for the 50km medal, a shortfall I’ll make up easily enough.

Run Up To Christmas progress (15.9k)
2nd December – 5k
4th December – 8k
9th December – 2.9k

Relive my run


One hour wonder

Tonight I did something that I had absolutely no intention of doing moments before doing it … and that was going with the club 60-minute session for the first time.

Granted it was step up week so it shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise to progress from what has become my normal 45-minutes, I just never expected it to happen tonight! However, persuaded by my usual running buddies I decided to give it a go.

Remind me never to listen to them again!

Although, being serious, I must also thank them. I had wanted to progress to the 60s for some time and had it as one of my goals for this year but was always too scared to actually do it so it feels good to have actually done it.

I should say that my fears had nothing to do with my ability to actually run for 60 minutes. That’s not an issue at all. I just had big, big concerns that I couldn’t stick the pace. I looked at the people going out each week and knew I couldn’t match them. That’s nothing to do with self belief, or a lack thereof, just cold hard facts … but, tonight, I had my normal running mates alongside me so I took a gulp, pulled up my big boy pants and went for it.

So, what about the run itself?


I’m sorry, that’s terribly negative but it’s true. It was awful.

It’s not that I wasn’t capable. Pace wise it was well within my comfort zone, and my legs felt ok, no issues there.

So why was it awful? Because I ached everywhere. From my shoulders, down my back, my arms, my arse cheeks (!) …. everywhere really apart from my legs.

Go figure.

I think I would have benefited from getting someone to sit on me to sort out the kinks in my body, it was that sort of pain, like I was all out of kilter and needed to be twisted, bent and pummeled back into shape.

My body just refused to work. And when that happens my mind follows very quickly. Same old story.

The distance was ok, the route took us along roads I had run on many times, the time on feet wasn’t a problem. I was just so sore, and I wanted to give up.

But I’m not going to wind this up on a negative. Nope. This is a positive blog. I did the club 60 minutes, I achieved one of my targets for the year and, perhaps, overcame a mental hurdle in doing so. I also ran home instead of getting a lift, partly because I wanted to prove something to myself.

And will I do the 60s again next week? Of course I will. I’ve done it now, and it was bad. It can’t get any worse than that again. See? All positive stuff.

Oh, and I added another 5 miles (8k) to my Run Up To Christmas total … I’m ahead of schedule for the 50k medal, and just a little off the pace for the 100k. Maybe I’ll do this after all.

Run Up To Christmas progress (13k)
2nd December – 5k
4th December – 8k

Relive my run


Hello running, my old friend.

Personal circumstances have dictated that I haven’t been out for a run for nine days. I usually panic and indulge in an unhealthy amount of self doubt mixed in with a tsunami of a crisis of confidence after four days with a run, so you can imagine what I’ve been like lately.

I’ve been awake since 3am or something obscenely early like that so pottered about for a few hours before, on impulse, deciding to see if I can run again, to see if everything I’ve done to date has been for nought, to see if I should just give running up as a bad job once and for all. It would also be a potentially futile attempt to clear my head.

As I stepped out the door it suddenly donned on me that I looked extremely suspect. I had a black cap on my head, and my black buff pulled up over my mouth and nose, not to mention my black shorts and tights. Thank goodness, then, for my bright yellow running top and head torch to keep me from getting potentially arrested as some sort of cat burglar!

Anyway, I wasn’t expecting much from the run and I wasn’t really feeling it. I wanted to hide, perhaps from myself, so I stuck on some German industrial metal on Spotify, turned it up as loud as I could, squeezed my earphones into my lugs for maximum effect and off I went. Probably not the safest idea to shut myself off from my surroundings but I wasn’t caring about that.

Almost immediately, I got to the first corner and changed direction from the route I had intended. I couldn’t be bothered with it, so I just ran to the next corner, and the next and so on. I just wanted this over with and having a route in mind would only signal a commitment that I wasn’t prepared to give.

In the end about half the run (I did 5k in total) was around my estate, running upto and around a carpark or cul-de-sac before going to the next one along and doing that. Not at all inspiring.

I kept it slow, who cared about speed? I certainly didn’t. My inactive legs protested a bit and, at times, a lot. I expected that.

It wasn’t my greatest ever run. In fact, it was pretty brutal in places, but I got out there and did it. I suppose I should just focus on that.

This was my first run in the Run Up To Christmas challenge in aid of Mind, the aim is to run at least 50km between 1st and 25th December, with milestones going up in increments of 50km thereafter. I’m hoping for 100 but, let’s be honest here, I’ll likely struggle to reach 50 unless things change. But let’s see anyway.

Run Up To Christmas progress (total: 5k)
2nd December – 5k

Relive my run