Money can’t buy you happiness…

…but a pair of trainers can. Since I have started running my mood has improved, stress levels have dropped, and my mental state overall has changed for the better. I always loved watching sport but actually doing things myself – running, cycling, weight training – has changed the way I view other athletes and my own body.

And getting my sweat on outside has made all the difference. The gym, with its artificially controlled environment, men (generalisation but I have never seen a woman do this) who insist on lifting weights too heavy for them and then drop them with an almighty crash, and thousands of other distractions (for me personally this includes the man who runs as if he is thunder in trainers that need to be replaced, the cyclist who has a constant frog in his throat, and the men and woman who refuse to blow their nose and instead think of their snot as a dear friend they can’t part with – those sniffs will make me punch them one day). But outside you don’t have this. Sure there are other irritations – dodging all the people in the whole world – but it is always infinitely better than running in the gym.

Today was hot. I am talking about a level of hot that Londoners can’t handle without a constant drip of fluids and emergency rations. The tube is stifling and as I type this I am still sweating, not because I am working out at the same time (that would be multi-tasking) but because I am breathing at a normal rate in London today. I am not the biggest fan of this kind of heat but I wanted to run so I went to the Nike Town running club. Their Monday runs, the one I always used to go to, have stopped now that their 10km has come and gone but I loved the atmosphere and wanted to carry on.

The first thing I did was lather myself up in sunblock. I wanted to buy a hat but Nike had sold out (not really surprised by this). I then went outside and started to run. I opted for the shortest run – the 5k – and not only did I survive but I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. The hottest part of the day was thankfully over but just knowing that I have run under the midday sun before made this evening run all the more doable.

And it was fun. This run had a completely different atmosphere as it was a mixed group full of different speeds and abilities. I was apprehensive and I knew I would be since that seems to be my state of being in new places and situations but once I started running I felt calm. Running is when I can process what has happened to me, meditate, think about nothing, and plan future stories and blog posts. And now that it’s over I am already longing for the next time I can put on a pair of trainers.

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