I have to admit, as my first half marathon gets closer, the nerves are starting to kick in, and self-doubt swamps me every time I go for a training run.
In between runs I have been swimming a lot, and of course walk 3 miles every day with the dog.
But whilst on holiday in North Devon recently, I had to really force myself out of the door. For the first mile or so my breathing was tight, largely due to the weather I think, but once I was into the flow, everything was fine.
I do think that nerves count for an awful lot when you are faced with a race such as a half or full marathon, you really do have to dig deep and convince yourself that you can do it.
One particular day on holiday, we were sitting on a beach and it was quite chilly. The family were building a sandcastle and the sun was desperately trying to get through the clouds to cheer us all up.
A wide expanse of sand and rockpools as far as the eye could see were stretching out in front of me. Without thinking much about it, I muttered to my husband that I was off for a run, barefoot and in a sundress. He reminded me that I wasn’t suitably dressed, but I said I would be fine. Calling to the dog, who was looking very bored sitting on a beach towel, she immediately jumped up to join me, and off we went, completely spontaneous and unplanned.
I have to say that it was probably one of the loveliest runs I have had in a long time on my own. Our little terrier and I covered a distance of 3 and a half miles across sand, sea and rockpools. The fact that I was barefoot only added to the enjoyment of it, as the sand was just the right consistency to run along comfortably, and I hopped over patches of water where the sea had come in and left warm pools containing crabs, seaweed shells and limpets.
A truly magical run, and completely last minute. The feeling of space, and the wind gently tugging at the hem of my dress, the sand crunching gently beneath my feet was truly uplifting.
It just goes to show that sometimes it’s a refreshing change to throw caution to the wind, kick off your shoes and just go.
I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.