Sorry it has taken so long for my next blog article to be published – blame exams! The good news is that exams are now over and, six and a half months after my last run, I finally went for a run!! To be precise, my first week back running has involved 3 runs consisting of about 15 minutes slow jogging on grass. That is 15 minutes across all three runs, not 15 minutes per run. As you can see, I am determined to take my return to running very slowly and steadily, and continue to combine it with swimming for a while yet. I have been injured for too long to wreck my recovery by doing too much too soon.
Even these short attempts at running have made it clear that the fitness I have maintained through running and aqua jogging is very different to what is needed for running, and that it is going to be a long time before I am back to what I would consider a decent level of fitness. However, frankly, I don’t care. I am simply glad to be back running. Running is something I will always enjoy. I find that I simply can’t replace the freedom and fresh air found in running with the monotonous view of the bottom of a swimming pool. I love running and I look forward to gradually building up my runs over the coming months.
However, overall, I am grateful for this break from running. Yes, it helped to trigger a spiral downwards and lead to the worst months of my life, but the lessons I have learnt are invaluable ones I will keep forever. This long break has taught me to structure my life and my identity around Jesus rather my running ability. By basing my life and happiness on Jesus and not on success in running, the future seems a lot brighter. Indeed, my enjoyment of running itself increases with this outlook on life. I know I am ‘born to run’ (http://www.christiansinsport.org.uk/news.asp?itemid=6492&itemTitle=Born+to+Play§ion=0001000100190024) and that when I run I am using the gifts God has given me. There is no greater honour and pleasure in life that that, as famously summed up by Eric Liddell in ‘Chariots of Fire’ – (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jo_7nz2CdyY).
It is hard for me to express how happy I feel during a short 5 minute jog around the playing fields of Newnham College. The joy running gives me is immense and I am so glad to be back doing what I love, even if only in a limited sense for the time being.