It’s been quite an intense week at work, and a few unpleasant surprises popped up along the way which I would prefer not to discuss. The week was spent yearning for and dreading the weekend simultaneously, and lets just say it got to the point where I was actually dreaming about my to-do list. And so, after a lousy night’s sleep, it was great to hit the trails again on Saturday morning.
As cliche as it sounds, running is my drug of choice. Anyone who enjoys running will likely find this a familiar experience. The run starts off cold, and everything feels stiff, a little sluggish maybe. There is the odd ache in the glute from Thursday’s hill work, or maybe a twinge of pain in one of the joints. The heart rate spikes as your cardio vascular system tries to pump your still viscous blood where it is desperately needed. If it’s a rainy or freezing day, I might question myself – what bout of insanity caused me to get out of bed this early!?
And then, somewhere along the way, often without me realising, it happens. A hit of endorphines that kicks in mid run. What should, ordinarily speaking, be nothing more than a session of glorified self-torture, becomes a panacea for all my week’s woes and worries. Everything falls in to place. My favourite tune starts playing in my head, which is now full of happy thoughts, and praises for my Maker and the Creator of the wonderful surroundings I am now immersed in. My body falls into an effortless harmony, my feet skipping lightly over the trail, my core reacting instinctively to each foot placement on the uneven surface. My lungs and heart settle into a steady, complimentary rhythm that I don’t even feel – my breathing is measured, not laboured, and my heart rate hovers steadily in the aerobic zone, both fading into the background, the unseen engine powering me on as I drift through the trees along the meandering trail.
The surroundings become beautiful, no matter the weather – Rain, fog, sun, and wind – all add their unique colour and ambience to a perfect setting. The air on the trails smells great – clean, fresh, layered with the scent of maybe pine or eucalyptus, perfect for filling the lungs. Hills become a motivation rather than an obstacle – the feeling of strength as my glutes drive my body upwards, coupled with the joy of realising that my training is now bearing fruit as each climb feels just that much easier than it did the week before. At the top, comes the reward, a beautiful view perhaps, or maybe a 30 second break. And then there is the descent – an ecstatic freefall as I let gravity pull me effortlessly down the trail. My eyes constantly scan and map the next 10 metres of trail, subconsciously guiding my feet, which somehow find their way perfectly between the sharp rocks, potholes holes and other traps along the way as I flow down the hill feeling like a ten-year old on the best theme park ride in the world.
Eventually, as all good things do, the run comes to an end. I slow to a jog, then a brisk walk as I begin my cool down and post-run routine. The workout is over, but the runner’s high – the sense of joy, that fulfilment which floods out all stress and worries, that feeling of satisfaction – that lingers for hours as I settle back into the rest of my day, putting a smile on my face as I look forward to the next one.
And as I contemplate the whole experience, I am reminded: That is why, as long as my health permits, I will go for my run.
The week in KMs:
Tuesday: 5km – Albert park loop
Wednesday: 6km – Hill repeats @ the Tan
Thursday: 8km tempo run, Yarra out and back
Saturday: Long hilly run, 24km, 690m elevation
Sunday: Recovery run 8km