Loss of hope is a horrible feeling. Sometimes the decisions we have to make are nasty. I had one such yesterday. Lots of you will be familiar with my Janathon exploits from earlier in the year, my attempt to become a ‘proper runner’. Reading them, you’ll understand that I didn’t ever make it to the point of feeling like one, even though I ran. I stopped early when I picked up a rotten cold, and that was that. I promised myself I’d start again when my cough stopped.
A lovely friend has been giving me physio on my leg over the past few months. It has made a great deal of different, and means I’ve thought more about it, and about my pain responses, in the last few months than I have in detail for years. And yesterday, during a great day of exploring and lunching, we chatted. Gently she pointed out to me that running was one of the most stupid things I could do, not so much for my ankle as for my knee and hip, which take more strain anyway. We agreed, there will be no more running. Cycling, yes, so this blog will continue to contain comedy dismounts, but running, no.
But it got worse. We talked about the fact that a short walk along a pebbley beach had induced agony for the next few days. And I said, “but I want to walk the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.” I do, I really do, I’ve been dreaming of it ever since I was about twelve. I didn’t do it in my late teens/twenties because my foot was particularly bad and there were many operations, I didn’t do it though my thirties because of small children, but I really was beginning to wonder if I could make it a reality in the next few years. And my friend looked horrified, and firmly said “NO BEACHES”. Well, it is mostly cliff top paths and small roads, but half the pleasure is in diverting on to beaches when the tide is right (I’ve walked lots of bits over the years).
This month I’ve been brought face to face with several things I want very much and can’t have. I will walk the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, I’m quite determined about that, but I may walk bits of it, marking them off until I’ve finished. Or take a month over it instead of a fortnight, making sure I care for myself rather than becoming immersed in the goal. Don’t hold your breath.
And I’ll never be a runner. I’ll put my trainers away, and delete my Couch to 5 K app. However much it’s about an adult acknowledging reality, walking away hurts.