I talked a lot about love in my new year's post. I failed to mention an important one, though. Last year it finally happened: I fell in love with running. Absolutely and totally head over heels. At the beginning of the year I was still struggling with getting my good condition back. But I kept at it, got better, and started looking forward to and mostly enjoy runs rather than dreading them and feeling half-dying throughout the most of it. Now I'm in better shape than ever, and I am fully convinced that I wouldn't have gotten half as far without learning to like it first.
I ran a hell of a lot on La Palma. Living slightly isolated at the top of a 2.4 km high mountain on an island in the Atlantic, running was a way to cope with the occasional loneliness. It is the bloody best way I've found (possibly with the exception of writing) of coping with overwhelming feelings of any kind, be them positive or negative. And there are a lot of feelings of all varieties in my life, most of them really strong ones, so it comes in handy to have an outlet of some sort. Anyway, all that high-altitude-training on the rocky, steep mountainside showed off. I got into good enough shape to run twice as far as I had ever run before, and just to feel physically stronger than ever before makes me happy and motivated and does wonders for the self-esteem.
Apparently it shows on the outside as well. Several people who I haven't met in a while have when I've seen them commented on my shoulder-, leg- and back muscles having become noticeably more defined. That's nice to hear, since I don't notice it as much myself from day to day. It's probably a result of those strengthening exercises I have been doing in addition to the running itself. It feels good to know that I've found a routine that I can stick to several days a week for months upon end without getting bored which apparently does positive things for my body. Not that I've been completely unhappy about it before, but I have started to feel rather more comfortable and happy about my body; the way it works and how it looks. Not getting ill all the time, being strong rather than weak in many straining situations, and actually thinking that I look damned good with or without clothes more often than not are clear improvements.
And the best thing of all: running is in itself so much fun now that I'm strong enough to be able to enjoy it. Sprinting up hills, jumping between stones and over logs in the forest, silently floating along paths, running with the wind in my back or having it in my hair when running against it, feeling alive while running in the rain, enjoying the marvellous scenery of a mountain, endless fields or the ocean, laughing and singing, or just enjoying the feeling of having the energy to put distance behind me with every breath and step despite tired feet and lungs. All of it for free and can be done practically anywhere, so all I have to do to keep it up for my new year's ambition is to take the time for it. Have been neglecting running lately what with insane amounts of stress and things to do before the move and the trip, but that will change now I have decided. Had a lovely run today to start the year off with, and I am quite certain more will follow.
Still haven't started keeping track of distances or speeds or even times all that carefully, and frankly I still don't feel any urge to. I feel the progress as it does wonders for my physical and mental health, and right now that's enough for me. I can run in my dreams now, and I dream of running adventures. Let's see how far I will go.
Love and running,