COVID-19 and Getting Outdoors

It was a strange loss of identity for me when COVID-19 hit our shores and a lockdown was imposed, back on the 23rd of March. I had spent the entire decade up to this point encouraging people to get outside more for the benefit of our health, and now, suddenly the reverse of that was true.

The catchy slogan of “JUST STAY INDOORS” was being flung around in earnest at this early stage, which I honestly found quite irritating at the time, as someone who understands the difference between getting outside, on your own, avoiding contact with any people or stuff; and getting outside, with a bunch of your mates, sunning yourself in a busy park with a couple of four packs of Tyskie…

The Reassuring Embarrassment of Getting Healthier

The year was 2012, and I had this half-baked idea to get myself better at cooking as part of a healthy lifestyle change. Half-baked is a pretty terrible approach to most meals, but I felt had to start somewhere.

At this early stage, I was aware how to put frozen things into an oven and wait an appropriate amount of time, and I had a similar working understanding of microwaves as well; but working with “ingredients” to make something from scratch was still unchartered territory.

Training in the GREAT Outdoors

It is relatively common knowledge these days, that exercise is not only good for us physically, but also for our mental health. Studies show time and time again, that particularly in cases of ‘mild’ depression or anxiety, even basic physical activity can have a hugely positive impact.

The term “exercise” however, is quite nebulous by default. The range of intensities alone leave it confusing to know what’s best, and that’s before we even bring ‘sport’, or ‘competition’ into the options.

The Next Mini-Adventure

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Getting Ready

I usually find it’s best to not ‘over plan‘ all the little details, as things rarely go as you imagine it will, and it’s easier to roll with the punches when you’ve not set your heart on things going a precise, certain way.

However, it is always nice to get the basics right.

Equipment:

In years gone by, I’ve got this all kinds of wrong. Sometimes due to a lack of experience; other times more down to a lack of money. Here is a basic breakdown of what I’m taking on this trip, and why:

2017: Laying A Foundation Using Collective Failed Efforts

I can’t really get around this unfortunate fact; I failed at almost every single goal I set myself this year, despite my best efforts.

Back in 2014, I remember setting myself some hugely ambitious goals, such as running unassisted from Lands End to John O’Groats, running a sub three hour marathon, and to try and learn how to talk to women. Despite the obvious difficulty of these tasks, I ended up walking away from that year having achieved two out of three!


At roughly this time last year, I once again, set myself some targets; both personal and professional:

Runner v Bus – A Race to the Cat & Fiddle, 2015

Back in 2015, I remember having a discussion with my younger brother, Nathan, about the best ways of getting about. We were both broke, therefore didn’t own cars, so the options were either public transport, or on foot.

Nathan had always used public transport, and in his arrogance, reckoned that he was pretty good at it; even if it did mean taking odd routes at times and tricky connections. I reasoned that as a runner, I could just set off in that instant, and would be unaffected by bus schedules, or unexpected delays. I would most likely win.

Is Running Worth the Risk of Injury?

Sounds like a pretty obvious question, doesn’t it? But it’s one that continues to divide those of us with contrasting backgrounds (or, to put it a simpler way – those of us who run, and those of us who don’t). The regular runners will quickly come to the defence of the sport and say ‘yes, injuries do happen, but the benefits hugely outweigh the risks’. Then the non-runners will say something baffling like ‘I knew a man once, who used to run every day. Now he can’t walk because his knees disintegrated…’ Or some other dubious story, along those lines, spoken like it’s definitive proof.

Self-esteem vs Ego in Social Media

Social media is a strange place at the best of times; full of random thought spews and tiresome clickbait articles shared left, right and centre. It’s amazing how much it’s changed over the years.

Facebook ‘Memories’ has been an interesting update, as it allows an eye-opening glimpse into a timeline of how you used to act and think over the years. One thing that has become unfortunately clear for me, is that when I first started running, I became incredibly BORING in my constant updates.

  • “Out running”
  • “Going for a run again”
  • “Look at me, look at me! I’m running again”

The Email That Made Me Quit My Job

It was two years ago today, that I got this infamous snotty email from my self-proclaimed ‘boss’, that pushed me over the edge and forced me to leave my old job.

Many people had advised me over the years not to leave the post until I had something else to replace it with, but I felt this latest correspondence left me little choice but to leave right away, or risk having my dignity trodden on further still.

“… far from a success story, but a reasonably entertaining story of recovery I guess”

 

Dovedale Dipper, 2016

Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Matlock's website.

Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Matlock’s website.

In what felt like such a bizarre situation, 2016 so far had not featured any competitive events for me. I’d covered a lot of mileage, plus I did run at the Manchester Marathon in April, BUT, so far none of this mileage was at competitive pace; I’d not yet had the chance to test my top speed against anybody except myself. It was time to get back on the horse!

Unfortunately, my horse was a bit lame.