Two runs logged, and half last week’s mileage covered over the last seven days. It’s been a coffee fuelled anxiety disrupted week where running has taken the back seat. Nonetheless, there’s been some important lessons learned. Principally, the value of going outdoors in times of stress and turmoil.
In recent days I’ve overlooked this, glued to my laptop for hour after unproductive hour, agonising over coursework which seemed to be getting worse and worse. If only I had got up, slipped my trainers on, and temporarily escaped that environment of frustration. Some Vitamin D and an endorphin boost would have helped significantly, but both were neglected.
Instead, I didn’t run until early Wednesday evening when the colour had already been drained from the sky. After two days inside and a sore back from leaning over my desk, it was a tiring run. Everything felt heavy as I struggled around Aberdeen’s beach front on my usual time-pressured route, incorporating Broad Hill.
Gladly, there were some silver linings this week though. On Friday I hit my first uni deadline and after struggling to motivate myself to leave the flat again, put in a good shift on Aberdeen’s main streets. Excuses, procrastination, stress, and more procrastination meant I left even later that night. I planned out a nine-mile route but didn’t have high expectations.
I followed King Street north until it became Ellon Road, passing many partygoers (bloody students), until I had almost left the city limits into the dark of the night. At the AECC I took a left and followed Aberdeen’s old ring road, the Parkway across the city’s northern edge.
Despite the frequent traffic, I used variations on this route throughout the Covid-19 lockdown. At sections where it opens up, there are glimpses of fields which the Granite City hasn’t quite expanded into yet. While restricted to staying in Aberdeen, running this route provided a little bit of rural solace.
On this occasion I went through a rough patch near the Danestone Tesco and as always was caught unawares by the slight incline up to the Haudagain roundabout. There was however, a triumphant second wind. I hit the running high and battered the final three miles down Great Northern Road out with relative ease. At the end I slumped to my knees outside the flat exhausted but gratified.
For me, that’s what running is. It’s a very intimate way of attaining instant gratification. By planning out a route and sticking to it, there was one less storm cloud when I plopped into bed that night.
With a month until my last deadline and a plethora of projects to complete before then, these short-term gains are going to become an increasingly important factor in my mental wellbeing. More miles incoming this week methinks.
Highlight of the week: Almost colliding head on with a lady walking her dog on a blind corner beside the Parkway as I whistled Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’.