A reminder today to always try to enjoy the journey

A reminder today to always try to enjoy the journey. There is never any guarantee of the destination but if we’ve looked for, and found, the good bits along the way, at least we will have had some benefits and enjoyment, regardless of the outcome. 

I write fairly often on here about running because it does give so many opportunities for life lessons & reflections. At the weekend I completed the longest training run needed before doing the Great South Run on 21st October (a 10 mile race in Portsmouth – wish me luck!). I tend to get quite apprehensive before the long runs as I don’t find them easy at all. Our training run was 14km and we had to include some road running – yuck – as it will be a road race. It was also cold. And due to start pouring with rain halfway through. For once the forecast was correct & I looked like an exhausted, aching, freezing, drowned rat by the end … which incidentally is also how I felt.

It’s very easy to focus on the destination with running if you are building for a race or particular event. And actually the hardwork comes not on race day but in those long and frequent training runs, week after week, month after month. And yet we can get so very focused on the events that we are training for. I know this as, last year, I had to pull out of the same race just a few days before when I twisted my ankle. I was really disappointed – it felt like all of my training had been wasted, I was missing being part of the event with my friends etc etc. And my ankle hurt a lot & prevented me from running for several weeks. 

This time round I’ve tried to have a different approach, to look for the positives in the training. And I think it’s working. I still REALLY want to get to the start line and do the race but I am able to notice the good stuff as I’ve ticked off the training runs over the past few weeks. 

Take that long run on Saturday for example – what was great about it? Well I had a lovely chat most of the way round, before we got to the yucky noisy road anyway. We were out in Nature for a lot of it. I ate Jelly Babies and I had bought the pack that is all berry flavours so no minging green ones either! I had a real sense of achievement at the end of it, after over 1.5 hours of running. I love the group support & shared experience etc etc. I then particularly enjoyed the after-run part as I realised I had burned approx 1000 additional active calories & it was due to pour down with rain all afternoon. I took that as licence to lay on the sofa, in my onesie, with my lovely daughter snuggled up, and eat popcorn, crips and chocolate all day. JOY! I may have overdone the re-feeding but Mils and I had a thoroughly lovely afternoon of girl-bonding. 

Training for the Great South Run has also made me fitter and it’s no doubt been good for my heart, blood pressure, bone density and eventual longevity. I’m stronger and more toned than I would have been (despite the excess re-feeding!) and I’ve met new friends. Mostly we’ve run in the Forest, surrounded by Nature, breathing in fresh air and often in gorgeous sunshine.

Today I had another opportunity to enjoy the training. I was due to run 7k and had planned to try and run it as fast as possible in the hope of building up my speed. A friend then texted to see if I was going running and I immediately ditched plan A in preference to having a chat (I can’t run fast and chat .. too much puffing going on). Running hard today would make very little difference to my final finish time, assuming I get to the event this year, & running with a friend and chatting is a lot more enjoyable. It was an easy decision. 

I would love to get that Finisher’s Medal but if I don’t make it to the finish line I’ve already had plenty of enjoyment in getting there. I’m healthier, fitter and happier because of those training runs. Race day will be the icing on the cake .. I’ll probably eat that cake too! 

We can easily get in a mindset of waiting for the destination in many aspects of life, for example:

* Our relationship will be better when X retires. 

* We can do date nights when the kids are older. 

* I’ll pursue a hobby when I have more free time. 

* I’ll just get through these next few years and then I can relax a bit. 

* I just want to get through this event / race

But none of us knows what is round the corner. Look for those moments of joy in life’s journey wherever you can .. and if you can’t find them, try to change the travel plan. In the meantime I’m enjoying my post-run endorphins and loving the view of blue sky and trees from my office window today. Pls like / comment / share. Sue x