The last 2 years have felt like such a jumble. In some sense, it’s been lovely being able to work from the sofa. Access to home comforts has many benefits, namely the lack of commuting time. However, one thing that I’ve noticed and that many friends have commented upon is that they feel like the line between work and leisure has become blurred. There’s no on or off mode. It’s just a constant neverending hum of activity that is bubbling away under the surface. That lack of rest time; the lack of stillness of the mind means that I never truly got to clear my head and so I never really got much done.
So, I went on and suffered this way for months. Time was malleable. I never really knew which day it was. In fact, that conversation often popped up with people as I met them walking around the park for my daily stroll: “what day are we on?” I’d say. They wouldn’t know either. And so this was the cyclical narrative I found myself in, a meandering stroll consisting of not much work, not much play and just enough to get by. Somewhat depressing, right? I certainly thought so.
One day, I was over at a friend’s place and their flatmate told me of their intention to go out running. It was searing heat and I, quite frankly, made it clear that they were insane. However, their retort was the discomfort of the unbearable heat was actually the reason why they were doing it today. “When was the last time that you experienced real discomfort?” they asked. And, I was lost for words. It was then, I realised that I too had to participate in the insane behaviour. I went back to my apartment, changed into my shorts – note it was buried away in my wardrobe – and met her at the park.
Was that 5km run excruciating? Yes. Did I get so out of breathe that I needed to stop 6 times? Yup. Did I collapse at the end of it and lie down in the middle of the pavement while pedestrians passed by? Yes! None of that was pleasant. However, I felt more alive than I had done in months. That feeling was a milestone for me that made me realise what I was missing, why I had no vigour about me.
Thereafter, I began to run that same route every day, rain or shine. That was my milestone. Even if had a terrible day; I got nothing done; the oven broke; a relationship broke down; a plant died – whatever it was – as long as I accomplished my run, I’d feel like I had accomplished something and the day was a success.
I remember one day in particular which was particularly trying. I was so down and I could barely think, but instead of letting it fester, I just got my shorts on and started running; getting uncomfortable and soon enough, after I completed the route my mind was clear again. Amazing.
In due course though, a problem occurred. My calves became so tense that they near enough seized up. I was walking to the shops like I had wet my pants and I’m pretty sure some people noticed. Anyway, I knew this situation was going to affect my new routine, yet I was adamant that I continued. I couldn’t let this minor predicament break me. Yet as I approached the first hurdle, a set of stairs that led to to the beginning of my running route, I realised that I was kidding myself. There was no way I was going to be able to run as usual. Instead, I walked it. Sure, I still felt some kind of accomplishment, I still completed the route, but it just wasn’t as fulfilling knowing I didn’t live up to my expectations.
I reassured myself that I’d feel better the next morning. It was, in fact, worse. Great. Again, I walked the route. Even less of a kick this time. I knew I had to do something about it. I couldn’t go back to the way things were. The banality of merging days. I had a thing now and I wasn’t letting go of it.
I booked myself in for a treatment at Deserved Massage, a deep tissue massage and let the therapist, Jordan go at my calves. My pain threshold is pretty extreme and I told him to go as hard as he could so that the tension could be fully relieved and I’d be back to my routine again. True to his word, I felt the pressure on the muscles and my eyes were wide open as the treatment commenced. Although I felt pain, it was more cathartic than anything else. All that hard work I’d been putting in through the miles I’d been running was pouring out during the treatment. The tension was loosening up and weirdly, a part of me was emotional with the knowledge that I could continue the activity that had brought me such fulfilment.
The next day, I was still sore from the treatment. Although I was warned to take it easy for the next few days, I couldn’t resist getting back to it. I ran again. Up the stairs, around the canal, under bridges and over tunnels. I was running faster and getting out of breathe again, putting myself in a position of discomfort just like the very first time again.
Since then, I’ve continued my daily running routine. When my legs get stiff, I now know exactly what to do to get myself back on track – book a treatment at Deserved Massage!