I'm feeling a lot better.
Not that I've been feeling ill, or anything like that necessarily - just that now I'm feeling better.
I mentioned in my last blog post that once worrying about the b-word is all done and out of the way, I'll be able to relax and actually think about just running again and you know what? I think it's starting to happen. As far as the whole literary thing goes, I've set all of those wheels in motion and aside from occasionally lubing them over the next couple of weeks, I don't have to worry about it too much.
What was nice was that over the weekend, I managed to leave those wheels at home entirely and have what I realised with hindsight was my first proper clear-headed couple of runs in a long time.
I've been running a lot with other people over the last few weeks and so Saturday's solo venture out was a welcome change (nice as it is to have company). I was able to simply pull on shorts, t-shirt and kicks and run out the door, more naturally and naively than I've managed in ages. In that drizzly run around town and the surrounds, Old Ben was back - I ran around 10km I think (but have no real idea), for a while (again, no accurate guess - less than an hour I reckon?) and ran quick (no idea). After spending the last few weeks wondering a little, I'll freely admit, about what other people will make of my running through reading Ben on Foot, I was back to being the Ben who just went out and ran. I didn't and don't care how quick I am right now, or how far I need to train over - just that I can run when and where I want to. I feel a lot better.
I remember the guy with the insatiable appetite for getting up hills when his legs are screaming at him to go back to bed - that Ben made a reappearance the following day, on Sunday. This was also the Ben that loves dragging his mates out for said hilly runs too, so my mate Lee and I spend a sublime couple of hours out in the arse-end of hurricane Bertha, up and down the local rolling countryside. Dripping wet, cold and wind blowing almost as hard as our breathing. Perfect. When my chest started to get uncooperative on one climb, we both slowed and recovered; when Lee's knee started to feel awkward on a steep descent, we both waited and picked our way until we were ready to carry on. We ran because that's what we do; that's who we are now (apparently).
So right now, it gives me great pleasure to report: no racing, no set training plans... just running. My new Cool Impossible is to now cement this return to the form I want - remembering what I get from just running and encouraging other people to open the door to getting the same.
So, that guy who ran his bare feet to a bloody mess through excitement; the one who had to go out for the same 10 miles run twice in one day because it wasn't quite good enough the first time round; the guy who decided it was a good idea to run 28km just for a burger? I think he's here again. I'm feeling a lot better.