Sunday. aaaaaaah. long run day. one of my favourite things.

the feeling as I set off for a long run is very specific. going out knowing that I will be running for an hour and a half, perhaps a bit more. it is a time when I allow myself to check out of my day to day life in a way that I do not do at any other time. it delivers the escape that alcohol promises.

I’m in training again for another half marathon and the long runs have been ramping up accordingly. up to eight miles, now. so as the mileage increases I revisit longer routes which I first ran back in November 2013.

ran one such this morning. a four miles out-and-back route. little hills till the two mile marker, when I reach an old drystone park wall backed by woods, rising up gradually to a peak at three and a half miles.

and I remember the weeks of training last year very well, my emotions recalled to me as I float – ok, pound – up that long hill again now. the uncertainty as I headed into new-to-me territory, both in my running and in this strange new sober life that felt so foreign to me. in fact I blogged about those trees in autumn here, on day 15.

because long runs are often a time when I get in some really good thinking, so many emotions from the time since then came flooding back this morning. having run that route in autumn, winter and spring, dodging ice and past daffodils and primroses.

today the beech tree leaves were neither golden nor crinkle-green fresh, but dusty and shabby, just on the turn towards autumn. as I reached the crest of the hill I looked towards the little-used chapel that stands there, and saw something that made me catch my breath.

the hydrangea, pictured above, as I had never seen it before. because I had seen it sere and brittle in the autumn and winter, rattling like a skeleton. and I had watched it budding with priapic lime promise in the spring. but I had never till that moment seen it on the last day of an English summer, bursting with life and colour.

as not drinking becomes routine, it is sometimes hard to balance the need to keep my sobriety fresh and vigorous with the knowledge that it is maturing and growing. I can feel jaded with the whole thing sometimes, and want to just be done. fixed.

and then I see something new and wonderful which I have never had the chance to appreciate before, which I would never have seen if my life had not changed.

and it is all, in an instant, All Right.

days to one year: 64. UFYD hours so far: 10 🙂