Updated: Mar 13
Running your way to freedom.
Whether it's late afternoon after a day of work or a weekend mizzly morning, my body rarely feels ready for a run, or ready for leaving the comforts of a dry warm place and heading outside to be embraced by whatever nature delivers. In the winter it’s even harder. I can hear my mind flirt with the idea of another coffee, a little snooze because I didn't sleep too well last night - and surely that's hail not rain?
Compassion calls - 'look after yourself… be kind'. I can often get into a debate with the different voices I hear. I can hear my mum, "take it easy girl" she will say. Despite being a regular runner, this episode replays time and time again. For some, it's easy to head out the door but I am rarely one of those types. I negotiate the push and pull of staying or going. I check the weather and more ominously, the wind, on my running apps. Will I be resistance-running against it, doubling up the effort as I push myself up coastal paths or dunes with the sand blasting my face and rain stinging my eyes? I search for signs that I don’t have to run, that I can avoid it this time.
Inevitably, the magnetic pull of the mental and physical effort entices me in
But I know how this battle ends... same as it does most times... I will look for my kit, look out the window, plan the route - and I will just go. Because inevitably, the magnetic pull of the mental and physical sweat entices me in. I know what I’m getting out there and I certainly know the feeling I get from doing it. It will take me a mile or two but I will find my stride, my movement and then something in me will loosen, physically but also psychologically. I become ‘me’ in a different place with all the things that were on my mind feeling less, feeling literally able to breath, and sweat, and run myself into a different place.
The movement in my body stills my mind
I will then just 'be'. With the trail, the scenery, the winter elements and for a period of time, I’m just out moving through places in the physical world and changing something within me. There will be times in the run that I will be back focused on my body, discomfort, pain, tiredness but there will also be times when I feel like I have no control over the movement and I am just free, with little or no effort.
I love these experiences the most, when you feel the most natural you have ever felt, being connected to the earth in a time that doesn't feel like now. There is something primitive, tribal, warrior-like in those moments and it gives me a sense of strength and resilience that I can’t find anywhere else.
"I love to get muddy, to feel the salt of my sweat, and to not care what I look like".
These are the other ways I find my freedom, to be dirty, smelly, not the neat put-together package that can be expected of a woman. It's a silent rebellion and release into what feels the antidote to order and control that many of our lives are structured by. And then there is the sweet personal victory of accomplishment. Even the short runs realign something for me. I always return home feeling 'better' and with a sense of satisfaction. The longer runs take you much further, pushing you beyond what you have believed is possible, over-coming barriers through your own determination.
Mud-splattered legs are my own hard-won badges of honour.
We all have our own limitations, some more 'real' than others, but many have been constructed over the years. Reconnecting with my body, with the natural world, has helped me find a freedom within, and out.
So whatever the inner voice says, whatever is happening with the weather, whatever time constraints I have and especially this winter - I will still be out there, finding my adventure and my freedom.
Guest Blogger Louise Turvey 2020
Louise runs ultra-marathons, long-distance running not for the faint-hearted. But there are lots of ways to get out and get sweaty. As This Girl Can says; “However you jiggle, kick, lift, stretch, or sprint, it’s time to get moving how you damn please”. Or check out some running clubs near you.
Ella is a life coach, qualified in NLP and CBT, using an integrated positive pyschological approach to coaching. www.lifecoachingwithella.com 07597157194