Why I Run...

A blog about running, surely not...

I don't think this is deep psychology, I suspect I have more places in my heart and my head to go before I hang up my trainers, but introspection is sometimes a good thing.

I run because I enjoy it.

My personality type draws its energy from the external environment, so being in the that environment; feeling the wind across my chest, the sun making me squint, the rhythm of my legs and feet impacting on the ground, even the trickle of sweat down my face and the hiss of the local geese make me smile, and makes me feel good.

Being one of these extrovert-activist types means I naturally spend a lot of time with people, so the time on my feet is time in my own head.  It may seem an extreme way to develop my reflective style, but after a couple of hours of talking to myself I do tend to start focusing on the important stuff.  It sure as hell beats the sound of my own singing!

There's some reasons why I enjoy running, rather than run itself.

It helps my diabetes management, helps me control my weight,  though eating less or healthier would help too... Which in turn helps my climbing, my walking and my having fun... The comments I've had from friends about the weight loss over the last 6 months have made me blush, but have convinced me that my pie eating days are over...

It makes new friends, the runners at work and on the streets of Liverpool, some names I'll never know apart from "yellow hat man" and "one glove lady" but we nod and bob and say morning.  The work friends I share injury woes, wonder foods and tales of the streets - drunks jumped over, attack swans, yobs with their weapon of choice (eggs, apples, more worryingly recently air rifles). We also share targets, training hopes and goals... We all know what we're better at, so supporting any of us when we go outside the norm is key to the banter.

It's counter-intuitive. A bloke. In his 40s. With a heart condition. That he was born with!

Running?

Yup, its not apparently normal. And that means occasionally its newsworthy. I can raise awareness in places that congenital heart defects aren't often, if ever, mentioned.  Runners World and Men's Running have had letters or short pieces in, some people have even read them (and commented positively).

I enjoy that other people find what I do entertaining or even inspiring. I don't set out to do any of those things, but if me pounding out another run makes someone else smile then good, its been worth some of the calories I burned.  If you're inspired, then all I would ask is be safe, be sensible and pass it on.  I asked in my blog for the Adult Congenital Heart Association for inspiration - the same applies to you -  ACHA Blog

And don't think its all the high energy stuff that is inspirational - seeing a friend learning to knit is as inspirational to me as someone I know completing an Ironman Triathlon. I wish I could be more practical with my hands, but somethings I can't get the hang of... like languages and swimming...

As I said above, I'm an outwardly focused person. The miles I run give me a safe space from the expectations of many people that I'm the showman, the life and soul of the party.  Its a space that lets me grieve, lets me think the dark thoughts that I have to deal with from time to time.

I also like a challenge, a target, something to aim for... So a walked half-marathon, the Great North Run - thank you, many years ago, has become the spring board, can I go faster, can I go further... The answer to both has been yes.  I will never be the fastest, I will never go the furthest... But I can set sensible targets (quite often discussed with my cardiologist and annually with my diabetes nurse), train for them and hopefully meet them.

Those of us who were at the Eurohearts conference are under Doctors Orders to tell the world about our exercise, as a cardiologist he wants everyone (with or without a congenital condition) to do something, to help keep themselves healthy...

So this week - a 5 mile (8km) PB - 51:09:-) 18  (30km) miles of hot and humid slow running:-) And some climbing... The training for the ultra is getting serious.

That also brings up the 1400 km in this years challenge... 870 miles in 7 and a half months.

Good job I enjoy running:-)

TTFN

Paul

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