Life after London 

I spent my days after London relaxing, resting, and giving my body and mind an opportunity to recover and enjoy the fact that training had ended… My afternoons and weekends were not dictated by my training programme, and I didn’t have to wake up early on Saturday to go Parkrunning or stupidly early on Sunday to go on 20-mile runs! But most of all, I enjoyed the knowledge that this great thing I had aimed for was done; and not too shabbily either!

It was a week of laziness, followed by a week of tentative, easy running. Making sure my legs were up to it and keeping to an easy pace, enjoying each run. I made a point of going for my first post-marathon run on exactly the same route I had done my last taper run on: It is a beautiful rural route, combining a small pretty park, canal towpaths, and a section that resembles a trail in an alpine forest (ok, a very short and flat alpine trail!). I was eager to experience the beauty of the route, but also wanted to revisit the same paths at the end of my adventure and in a much easier state of mind.

With marathon recovery complete, Kyriako and I went for a run in Swithland Woods and Bradgate Park: I’ve mentioned before how much I love this place before, but on that morning there was something special about it: Bluebells were out, all the trees were in bloom, and the early haze soon lifted to give way to a lovely sunshine!  And it occurred to me, as we were running through the woods, that this really was a dream come true! I remembered that as a child growing up in 80s Athens, I would catch glimpses of landscapes like these in films or posters and they seemed as exotic to me as… well, I suppose as exotic as remote Greek islands would seem to a child growing up in Leicestershire at the time! And as for ever running a marathon…

And yet here I was, with such scenery at my doorstep, and me running 12 very hilly miles through it, not undeserving, but on the strength of my London Marathon training and in my Maratona di Roma finisher’s t-shirt (now, that’s a good looking finisher’s t-shirt!)!

It could be the adrenaline and exhilaration of the descent from Old John to Swithland Wood at the end, but I felt that I was living a wonderful life, one that I, and many of us, often miss consumed in the grumbles and routine of the everyday… Yes, there are many things that haven’t quite gone to plan, areas in my life where I had hoped I would have done better, but when it’s all said and done…

I used to – and still do, but less vocally – believe that we should all be kinder to ourselves. Not in the sense of sparing ourselves the effort, not setting challenging goals or not holding ourselves to a high standard. On the contrary, I feel these are needed today more than ever. But once the effort is expended, the goals achieved and the standards met, I think we should all look around at the beautiful woods we are running in, which we are capable of running in, pat ourselves on the back and give thanks. Not the “I feel blessed” declaration broadcast on social media kind of thanks, but a silent, unuttered sense of appreciation, peace and calm. Sure, the storm of everyday life will persist and we’ll continue to be tossed on the waves of fortune like everyone else… But what is left to life if we can’t appreciate our victories and the moments of happiness between gusts?

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. I love those moments, when you realize you really are living a wonderful life. Have those a lot while running. So much to be grateful for! Thanks!

    Like

    1. Leonard says:

      Yes – and the best thing is that since I’ve started concentrating on the enjoyment of running, rather than pace, distance etc, I find I’m not only happier, but getting faster and going further as well… perhaps that was the secret all along! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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