Full Circle

Dragging myself out of bed to begin the motions that will end in my lining up at the starting point of this week’s Aberdeen Parkrun, it strikes me that it is just over a month ago that I shipped myself and a couple of bags out of town for an extended holiday season. In between there have been pit stops in various parts of Surrey, East London, Chelmsford, Kent and an extended traipse through several towns within the Valencian Community. A second full week of work has beaten any remnant of festivity out of me, which heightened the sense of finality of the park run. I have come full circle, back to the grind of life. Wash, rinse, repeat. The run itself was hardly memorable – three minutes slower than my PB from last year putting the surfeit of Christmas pudding into perspective.

It is one small first step though. Here’s to many more in this year of Living Intentionally.

Windows to The Sea

Although I am only three runs into my ParkRun ‘career’, the three blocks of granite on the grassy edge of the Beach Esplanade just before it turns West towards Kings Street have become a beacon of sorts. Situated around the 4.5k mark of the total 5k route they have very quickly come to represent the prospect of rest, relief and completion.

They also mark the halfway point of my morning runs, which again speaks to turning points and the call of home. Finding out they were donated to the city by a company I once worked for added a sense of serendipity to all of that.

Two for the price of one then for this week’s challenge, a grainy low light version from this morning’s run and a clearer one from the archives.


For the WordPress weekly photo challenge, Corner.

15. Finding My Rhythm

Beach Boulevard, Aberdeen, 2016

One of the things I’m looking to achieve this year is to run a 10k race, which is why three to four times a week I grab my gear and hit the road. I use the MapMyRun app which paces me during the week from a leisurely 2k easy run on a Tuesday to a longer (now 5k+) run on the following Sunday.

As my run times improve and the distances lengthen, what I realise is that my natural predilection for just hitting go and running works fine for speed but works against my distance, as I am often far too winded to post a useful time once that initial burst of energy has fizzled out.

Being paced by the app has allowed me to find my own rhythm, a pace that allows me optimise both overall time and distance. None of my split times come close to challenge my top speed, but by running at that speed for longer, I find I make better progress overall. Therein lies the lesson for me… Find my rhythm.

Summer’s End..


For the first time since July, I have begun to run again. Once a week – I’d like to make it twice – I don my bright orange jacket, shorts and running shoes and begin at a leisurely pace down Urquhart road, up Links Road and then gradually pick up pace until my feet are pounding the tarmac on the long stretch that is the Beach Esplanade.

Sleep, or more accurately sleeplessness, has been one of the drivers for running again. Once awake sometime between 2am and 4am regardless of when I hit the sack, I find my mind far too active to go back to sleep. That is how I end up awake till it feels like a less ungodly hour to hit the road and run. What running  does is afford me time to think – headphones plugged in, I can focus on the rhythm my feet make and the beat of whatever I am listening to. I am not alone in the pursuit of running zen, sometimes I pass other runners in different phases of their own runs, walking a dog or on the odd occasion an elderly couple out and about strolling.

Sometimes, we exchange a knowing smile as we pass each other; the mutual recognition and self congratulation we afford each other as we fly past. I sometimes think I detect a hint of smugness in all that; we having taken the difficult decision to leave our beds whilst it is not bright and light, can feel like we’re part of a serious, health concious elite and pat ourselves on our backs as a result.

It seems only a few weeks ago when it was March, when the overwhelming sense was of hope for summer, and good change. Somehow time has sped by, the nip in the air the sure indicator that winter is around the corner, having sneaked up on us.

This was meant to have been the summer of light, love and happiness but between the continued difficulties posed by low commodity prices and the self inflicted losses in love, it has felt more like a summer of slog. If it is any consolation, there is at least more clarity on a number of fronts about paths to not go down.

This is what life is I suppose; birth, death, planting, uprooting, loss, healing, weeping and laughing, each in its turn an ineluctable phase of life. A lot has changed over the last few months, but in changing, a lot has stayed the same- the crooning of Larry Norman (Nothing Really Changes) comes to mind.

Our two days of summer’s gone for good this year, but (maybe a tad too early), there’s next year’s summer to look forward to.