Yesterday I asked a friend

What is it that makes you feel (most) alive at the moment?

It’s a good question. All too often we ask some variation of the age-old question ‘How are you (really) doing?’ … There’s nothing wrong with that of course – but it can (if we aren’t careful) take us to the edge of perennial rabbit hole and deep down into the warren of lists of things that aren’t quite right at the moment.

So what is that makes me feel most alive at the moment, I wonder.

My spontaneous response is ‘running’, and particularly participating in the 5k parkruns!

I’d never ever have guessed that my feeling alive would be linked to a sport, and especially running. Yet the truth is that swimming and aquajogging have long been my ‘place of goodness’ – an activity I turn to when the going gets tough.

In November 2017 I needed something in addition to the swimming to help me through the winter … and I downloaded the NHS Couch to 5km and taught myself to run (in the gym on a treadmill)

Now running has become a mainstay of my wellbeing. I look forward to the park runs (always a 2h hour journey from home – to Tampere or Helsinki- at least until we have one of our own in Turku). I really enjoy the runs themselves but equally important is the sense of belonging to a park run family. I like the post run coffee a lot!

I ran my first park run (5km) back in April last year. My goal was a) to complete the course without walking and b) to cross the line in under 60minutes. I succeeded! Since then I have run 13 parkruns in total, 10 of which have been in Tampere!

Last Saturday the temperature was minus 13C in Tampere. I found out that there’s no such thing as bad weather – just bad clothing – and 26 of us ran the 5km in spite of the sub zero temperature – and it felt fantastic! I felt so alive! The frozen eyebrows and eyelashes were fantastic to see – and I was – and am – very grateful to the run director and other volunteers who make it possible for us to get a timed run. For the first time this year (and actually since August) I ran the course in under 40 minutes. That felt so good!

Now I have my eyes on running 10km and have signed up for a run in my hometown. It takes place in September so I have plenty of time to train for it. I’ve downloaded a new app (5k to 10k) and I started the programme at the beginning of the year. It’s not only about running further (as if that’s not daunting enough!) it’s also about running more effectively.

Running makes me feel alive.
But I would also like to run faster and more elegantly. That – I hope – will come with practice.



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