Two weeks off of writing and I’m stuck for an intro……
I’ve chopped and changed the first few paragraphs so many times, the “save draft” setting is going into melt down.
But then it’s often like that when you go away, isn’t it. Life changes pace when you’re somewhere different and it’s not always easy to pick up from where you were before. Hence I’m still sitting here on Tuesday morning writing this, when I’d intended to file it last night.
I guess I just need to touch base again with the overall title of this blog – Obsessive Compulsive Running – and remember that’s what it’s all about.
And yes, despite having been on holiday, there was no break from pounding the tarmac.
I notched up 65 miles in a fortnight, running pretty much every other day, between four and 15 miles. I guess that is quite obsessive and compulsive.
But no holiday would be complete now without my running shoes. Travelling to somewhere new, running helps to get my bearings and do a reccy of the surroundings.
For a start, there’s no need for a map – the routes are all in my head. I know every twist and turn in the road, every rise, every fall, the way the mountains glow pink in the sunlight, and how they brood under a dull grey sky. I know every outline, every contour, their jagged silhouette, the way they link the earth to the sky, their grounding reassurance.
I like to run along the bay, stretching four miles or more, and watch the Mediterranean tide gently lapping the sand, gaze out to sea at white horses, or the kite surfers trying to catch the breeze.
I’m on first name terms with every sheep and goat for miles around, I hear their gently clanking bells, watch their contented munching even as the cattle egrets stand on their backs, picking out insects. In the freshwater torrents I look for gold crests, finches, moorhens and a clutch of other birds I can’t identify.
There’s almond blossom to see on the trees in early winter, along with oranges and lemons laden on sagging branches. In summer the poppies, cornflowers and other wild blooms fill the fields with scent and colour.
I practice my limited Spanish saying: “Hola, Buenos dias,” to the many people who pass on foot, bicycle, sometimes horse and cart, or strange battered three-wheeled vans, with a top speed little faster than a skateboard and so small the driver fills the whole cab.
Running lets you immerse yourself in a place, like nothing else. You watch the scenery, whilst also being a part of it – you are in the picture. It helps me to “know” somewhere, in a way that no visit to a tourist attraction ever has.
People often question my sanity when I tell them I’m taking my trainers on holiday. I’d be mad with myself if I left them at home.