One of the most difficult things to cope with during lockdown has been the enforced absence from our family and friends. It has been a necessary sacrifice to help everyone get through the situation we find ourselves in, but that doesn’t mean we had to like it.
Whilst clearly a solo pursuit running is also one of those activities were, very often, it can be better to have company for a whole range of reasons but, obviously, that hasn’t been possible for the past couple of months.
However, with the easing of restrictions here in Northern Ireland, we are now able to meet up with a maximum of 4-6 people from outside our household and that, for me, meant the opportunity to actually run with someone else for a change!
So when one of my little band of running buddies suggested at the weekend going for a run I jumped at the chance. Why wouldn’t I? We’ve all suffered, we all know how important our friends are to us.
Having run alone for so long now I’ll admit to being a little apprehensive beforehand. I’ve been able to do my own thing and at my own pace, if it wasn’t going well I could be grouchy and not have it affect anyone else. But it’s different with company. What if I struggled? What if I was too slow? What if I was so out of puff that I couldn’t speak? What if I was grumpy?
Quite silly, really, because this was a friend I was running with, someone who knows all about my characteristics, both good and bad. And also a friend who wouldn’t think twice about telling me, to coin that great Northern Irish phrase, to catch myself on!!!!
We decided on the same four mile route I’ve been running on a Sunday for the past month or so. It has a couple of decent climbs, including a quite steep one right at the beginning, but also enough flat and downhill sections to allow plenty of opportunity for a catch up and general talking of nonsense!
As usual, when running with someone, the pace felt slightly quicker than normal but that’s grand. It was good to push myself a little more even if it didn’t feel like it at the time although, for some reason, my watch lost half-a-mile somewhere which, for a stats geek like me, was mildly annoying.
But, that aside, it was a pleasant evening, a pleasant run and even ended with an ice lolly. Even more, it was simply great to see a familiar face and a good friend after so long. I wouldn’t have cared if we’d walked the entire route. Surely it can’t get any better than that?