It’s been a month since my last post. I was getting sick of the hundreds of emails flooding in every day, begging me to write another world-righting, life-saving, pity-inducing blog post, that I felt I needed to resurface. Then I woke up.
In one month, look at what’s happened. It sounds strange to say but none of this C-word stuff affected me until a fortnight ago when the marathon I have been training towards was cancelled. My running motivation has spiralled somewhat since then. I do sincerely hope that anyone reading this is coping well, both mentally (huge aspect of this) as well as physically.
I myself am working from home and have been for two weeks, and I’m actually thriving. The grind of getting up early to go into the city to a job (or colleagues?) that I’m not particularly thrilled about is no longer there, I’m working in my own space, dealing with people over the phone, email and video calls. Very manageable.
Other than the inconvenience of, for want of a better word, looters, grabbing everything under the sun from the shops and having to work from home, my life has changed very little. I’m naturally a lone wolf anyway. I run alone (not really out of choice, but more on that later), I generally keep in touch with friends via technology, as busy lives dictate, and I’m not what you’d call a social butterfly, so being told to stay indoors, go out alone, don’t mix, is actually OK with me. Really, it is. I do love a good chinwag and I do love having friends, but I prefer to be in control of the stream of contact.
As aforementioned I train alone. Historically, it has been like this for years mainly because I’ve given up trying to recruit training partners. I suffer from what I call, at the moment, reverse elitism. It’s a theory I have about the way I am treated generally. It goes a little like this: people assume that because I am quicker than most, I am therefore too fast for them to run with me, therefore I will get bored/make fun of them/shout at them/make them feel like shit. So I am usually a victim of a kind of reverse snobbery. It’s almost like it is thought that it’s not worth even bothering with me because I’ll just turn around, sneer, look said person up and down, kick dirt in their face and run off (at a easy five-and-a-half minute mile pace of course). This is disappointing as nothing could be further from the truth. I openly accept and encourage runners of all abilities, speeds, ages, whatever and enjoy sharing a hobby with them. The only elitism or attitude of any description you’ll get from me is if someone is too cocky, or elitist themselves, or is pretty much an arsehole, then you’ll see the not so welcoming side of me. In my experience, I’ve ran with people who have basically turned round and shouted at me, when I’m just trying to encourage them. I wonder if it’s more them than me (self conciousness). In turn, it’s made me very self conciousness about my attitude if and when I run with someone. I’m so used to having my head bitten off for trying to motivate (“Yes it’s alright for you though isn’t it???! You’re a good runner!!!”) that I don’t really feel comfortable giving encouragement anymore. It is a shame but I guess that’s how it is. It’s easier to give encouragement to complete strangers as I pass them at my local ParkRun.
As an ambassador of outdoor things, it suddenly dawned on me last weekend that I have done absolutely nothing to encourage people around me to stay active as best they can during this period. So I took to social media and set up my own virtual alternative to the ParkRun, with the aim of giving us all a sense of community and achievement on a Saturday morning. Fingers crossed it has the desired effect.
As a tip if anyone is struggling mentally during this strange time we are now living through; structure your day as best as you can. Stick to a routine, no matter what it is. Follow the best guidance you can (health authorities), and if you can, avoid social media and too much news. Stay positive, have faith.