so, carrying on with my review of my first ever sober family holiday –
how I approached exercise: I was determined to get in my usual number of runs over the holiday. what has worked really well for me over the last 6 months or so is to focus on the number of runs I do, rather than the mileage. I have settled on running five days a week.
this came firstly from some advice from Belle, who says that even 10 minutes running is enough to lift one’s mood. hint: she is absolutely right. another way of looking at this is James Clear’s mantra of ‘reduce the scope but stick to the schedule’. which is really good advice to combat my all-or-nothing mentality, which says that if I’m not doing the five or seven or whatever miles it says on the training guide blu-tacked to my fridge, then I might as well give up and not run for three and a half weeks. running one mile then picking up the training plan the next day works better in the long run, shockingly 😉
so on this holiday I managed to run on five days out of seven. objective met! and this compares directly to my previous (drinking) family holiday where I ran once, in a heavily engineered scenario in which I ran along a seafront and back while my family entertained themselves on a beach.
what I worry about in this scenario is firstly that I will get lost, and secondly that I will manage to fall over and injure myself drastically and put myself at risk in a foreign country. that sounds pretty preposterous when I put it as bluntly as that! and I am pleased that I overcame those anxieties. however – on the third day, this:
well, I didn’t see this particular section of pavement, and flew ungracefully through the air to land mostly on my chin and cheekbone, sustaining, as they say in the police reports, considerable grazes and bruising.
and the point about anticipatory anxiety is SUPPOSED to be that the thing that you worry about doesn’t happen. this is literally only the second time I have fallen over in the last four years of running. or maybe it is also that it isn’t as bad as you think it is going to be? the thought going through my mind before I hit the ground was mostly
“please please please let me not break anything” all mixed up with
“YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!”
….as I had spent the preceding days devouring Brene Brown’s new book, Rising Strong.* which is all about how to get up after a disaster and carry on…
tagline: fall. get up. try again.
what is that expression – when we pray for patience, we are granted opportunities to practice patience? well, there I was. limping, bleeding, and needing to convince my family that contrary to appearances I was FINE. which I was, on the whole. ran the next day, and the next. went back to bastard pavement. took photo to show you guys 😉
‘the thing’ happened. I didn’t let it stop me. and I’m quite certain that it would have stopped me, when I was still drinking. that I would have retreated back into my comfort zone, having ‘proved’ to myself that risks are too risky. it may be that my four years of running have also improved my proprioception skills, enabling me to fall ‘better’ and more safely? all of those miles standing me in good stead for a one off, singular moment of crisis?
I have been looking for images of a woman falling over to illustrate this post but many of them were sad, or disturbing. ‘In Extremis’, this series of images by photographer Sandro Giordano, is a gratifying and colourful exception to this. as Sandro says:
“we live in a falling-down world.”
my face is pretty much healed up now. I am quite enjoying having it back to normal…watch your step out there, sober warriors! Prim xx
*yes, you should absolutely buy it. fantastic book.