Alison Cowling

Alison Cowling

Director | Actor | Musician | Writer

Running and Presence

The sixth entry of The Running Diaries, taking one step at a time…

As the term was coming to an end at work and all was winding down ready for half term…I found I was left with excess energy to get outside and push myself on my runs. Maybe it was the anxiety of knowing my routine was going to change with a week off work and having no where to go that meant this week felt like it was building up in some strange way. Feeling like I was climbing to the top with no way to get back down.

And now coming to write this diary entry, I’ve had a few days of low mood and no motivation. So as I write, I’m going to try and stay present, listen to what my mind wants to do and just write an update of last weeks ventures without too much inner critic judgement.

R U N O N E

Monday evening’s run, I started strong and fast – keen to start pushing my speed this week. A few minutes in and my bestie called, so I challenged myself to keep the conversation going whilst running. It was tough but really fun. I felt like the videos of Miley and Lizzo singing on a treadmill! …That will be the next challenge. Anyone got a treadmill they could lend me?

R U N T W O

Wednesday evening’s run was a beautifully, icy, chilly run. Gloves were a must. Once I had adjusted to the temperature I started enjoying the dry, lighter evening and my mind began to wonder with thoughts. Listening to musical theatre songs, I found myself dreaming about the theatre again; memories of touring shows in my past life as an actor musician (feels so past now 🙁 ) and the ache for the future when we can sit in an audience or stand on a stage and sing to a buzzing crowd…then all of a sudden I reached the duck pond. And stopped. The whole pond was frozen. It snapped me back to the present. Brought me out of my day dreaming and I looked as birds sat still on the ice…patiently waiting for it to melt so they could return to the water underneath. Seemed similar to how I felt. I could linger on the past but that wouldn’t stop the ice from being there. I could dream about the future but that wouldn’t melt the ice any quicker. All I can I do is stay in the present. (Or get a hair dryer).

R U N T H R E E

On Friday afternoon’s run, I set out listening. My mind drifting back to this idea of being present on a run, determined to practice presence, knowing this might really help my training. I set out with no real route in mind but listening to my body, knowing the moments I could push it to keep pace alongside a cyclist, or get up ‘NineTree Hill’ one of the steepest hills in Bristol, or to keep focused past some men who enjoyed commenting and mocking me as I ran past (that’s nothing new of course.) And being present also meant that with a mile to go before home with the sun still lingering and my body starting to ache, I decided to stop. I checked and I had got a silver medal on Strava for a new 10k record which was great! But so was wandering slowly and gently back home.

R U N F O U R

Happy Valentines to me! I smashed out a 10k pb – 56min 26sec! I set out again with no plan on where or how far to go, just listening to how much energy I had and during the run realised I could keep pushing my pace up and up! I saw the distance I was on and put pedal to the metal in the last mile or so, looping my house to try to make sure I hit 10k (As I was measuring in miles and couldn’t remember the conversion!)

I thought I was going to struggle to write this weeks blog as a theme wasn’t springing to mind. But I knew my strongest moments on these runs was when I listened to my body. When I stayed present. That’s when I knew I had it in me to push for a PB, or push on up that steep hill, or just stop before reaching home and choosing to walk the last mile back. I know moving forward trying to train my mind to stay in the present will help. But it’s going to take a lot of practising. So better keep running.

 

Soundtrack to this entry: ‘Let’s Go, Calvin Harris (Feat. Ne-Yo) – A song to get that pace up! (And maybe inspired by The Masked Singer 😛 )

Snack for this entry: …Chips again!

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