The Scribbler

4 October 2009

So what's next?

My great big challenge, the Great North Run, is over (for this year at least). I’ve had a great week’s holiday full of sunshine, good food and relaxation. And now it’s time to think about the next thing.

It’s not just me. Lots of other people have been asking me “What’s next?” too. And I’m weighing up my options. I think the right thing will come along at the right time, and I’ll just go for it. Like I did that January day driving along the Central Motorway, when I thought, very clearly, ‘Is this the year to do the Great North Run?’ and as soon as I thought it, I knew it was right.

So much has changed for me in the past year. If this was a reality TV show, this is the segment where they’d show ‘my journey’ – no doubt with inspirational music by Westlife or Take That – ‘Today this could be the greatest day of your life…’.

Running’s been a big part of that change. It’s helped me physically and mentally. But there have been other things too, all connected. Like making new friends through this common interest, and astonishing old ones. Reinventing myself a little I guess.

Because this feels like something I’ve always done. And yet I know it’s not. I have only been running for just over a year, and only seriously building up the mileage since January 2009. I didn’t go to the gym so often, or lift weights, or do resistance training with kettlebells and medballs or go to a weekly boxercise class. And now those are all things I do, and miss when I don’t do them. So I hope to continue all that.

But I’m also a writer, a copywriter by trade, and I’ve made my living from writing in one form or another for a long time. So I’d like to reflect some of that on this blog too.

Right now, I’m not completely without plans. I’ll be running 10k as part of the Nike Human Race on 24 October and I’ve signed up for the Heaton Harriers 10k in November. And I’ll no doubt pick a couple of other events to keep me focused and give me an incentive to keep training as the days get shorter and colder through the winter months, but I plan to bring the distance down to 10k.

I’d also like to improve my swimming technique. I’m strong and confident in the water, but my breathing is pretty useless, and I don’t really like putting my face in. So that’s a challenge to overcome.

I’ve loved writing about running and about my journey. On good days, it’s been a reminder that it doesn’t always come easy, and on bad ones, it’s kept me going, remembering those moments of joy, when everything just clicks into place; the freedom of the road and that precious liminal space in my head.

The nicest compliments I’ve had about my running posts have been when other runners have said they were reminded of their experience. That gives me a nice warm fuzzy feeling as a writer, and I guess as a runner too. Both can be pretty solitary pursuits, but you always hope for that special moment of connection.

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