Friday, 4th September, Reflecting

10:45am. Claire has had to cancel our run for tomorrow because of an injury to her ankle. I’m glad she has as I don’t want her pushing herself and making it worse. I’ve had more than my fair share of injuries in my five years of running and each time there is the temptation to keep going and hope you run your injury off or come back too soon and reinjury yourself. I’ve done both so I’m in no position to preach to anyone about what they should be doing about the injury. What I can do is support Claire through it and help her get back to full fitness and back running again.

Like me Claire uses running to think about things, reflect on life and what’s going on and to control her mental health. Running is great for this. However big or small your problems a run really helps you to sort things out away from people and phones, laptops and social media and all the other distractions we have in life. It allows you to sort out what is and what is not important and focus on what is important. It allows you time to think about things and forget about things too as you look around your surroundings and take in the natural beauty we are surrounded by. I know when I’ve been injured every problem is magnified a million times causing my anxiety to go through the roof. Consequently, my ability to concentrate plummets meaning my ability to work on anything goes down and I sit, staring at a screen wanting to do so much, achieving nothing. My weight goes up making me depressed and I turn to alcohol to cope with any feelings of depression. My mental health suffers greatly when I’m injured and I can’t run. I’m sure Claire’s does too so supporting her and getting her back running is important right now.

I thought of friends and what it means to be a friend this morning when Claire told me she wouldn’t be running tomorrow. Some people I’ve known since school haven’t even bothered to ask me once if I’m ok during this pandemic, others assume that because I’m going to the club I’m ok. I’m not always ok because I go to the club. Sometimes I’m feeling down and anxious and while the club helps it’s not always the best option. Throughout all this Claire has been there for me, listening to me, helping me, supporting me, even though she has all her own problems to deal with. Doing this diary and sending it to Claire has helped me more than I ever thought it would in dealing with life and I think of Claire as more than just someone to run with but a true friend, someone I can talk about anything with, confide in and trust and I don’t want her injury to mean we lose contact. I enjoy talking to Claire. She seems to understand me and get me without me having to explain myself even though I do out of habit. I’m beginning to understand her too and I hope we can build a friendship that lasts forever. Looking back on my previous diary entries as I post them on my blog makes me realise how far I’ve come and how well I’m doing. Two months ago I was bored and depressed. Today I’m happy and ready get as much out of the day as I can.

I’ve done my upper body exercises today and increased my single arm kettlebell swings to 16kg. I found it easier than I thought I would, still hard work but not to the point I felt I was overdoing it. I feel that I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. the last time I felt like this was in 2017 and I injured my right knee badly putting me out of action for months and I went backwards with my fitness going from 14st to 16st in weeks. I never thought I’d get back here especially after having another bad injury to my right knee in 2019 but I have and I’m proud of myself for doing it, keeping at it and not giving in. running, exercise and fitness are very important to me and keep me going, give me something to focus on and look forward to and allow me to enjoy life and all it has to offer. Without them I’d be another obese, middle aged man, eating and drinking too much and heading towards an early grave. As it is I’m enjoying life and making the most of it running places I’d never even heard of a couple of years ago and loving it.

My plan for running in the buildup to the Yorkshireman Half in just over a weeks time is a short run tomorrow somewhere local, CVFR club run Tuesday night, CVFR handicap run Thursday and then the Yorkshireman Half the following Sunday. Apparently I’m the favourite for the handicap because my start time is based on my races from 2019 and I’m faster and fitter now than I was then so I have a decent chance of winning it. Like anything else though there is no space for complacency. Anyone could win it. I might have the run of my life or the worse run ever. There’s a lot of good runners at CVFR who could win it so all I can do is give it my best and be proud of what I achieve. At least I know the route!

3:45pm. It’s been a really good day so far, apart from hearing about Claire’s injury. I’ve written a poem that’s gone down well. I enjoyed writing it and that’s the main thing. I then procrastinated about starting my literature review. Once I started though I couldn’t stop! Comments, observations, criticisms, ideas, thoughts, all flowed. I can do this. I might need some help but I can do this and that’s the main thing. This weekend I can dip in and out of my uni work and my life story and get a lot done. When I meet my supervisors I’ll have something to show them and they can advise me on the best direction for my review. Next week I’ll have a look at some publishers and see what their requirements are for submitting work. Tonight I’m off to the club for a few beers and some dominoes. I’m feeling good, positive and confident. Life is full of opportunities and it’s up to me to take them and make the most of them.

9:56pm. Back from the club and feeling good. A night of debating and revelations, who knows what skeletons are in peoples cupboards…but fun and laughs too. Running tomorrow. Will miss running without my BRB but her first priority is her health so I understand. Another good day.

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