The Dark Days of Winter

It was early in June when we got our road “licenses”. I was so excited to be leaving the field! 50 minutes of walking in 400m circles was enough to make anyone dizzy!

Our road leader very kindly walked us through the basic road safety rules as well as sharing some hints and tips about technique. I’m pretty sure that her walking pace with me at that first session must have felt like walking a pet tortoise!

I was totally exhausted after that session. And sore. The soreness didn’t let up for months and months… My hips, ankles and knees ached in between sessions and I won’t be lying if I told you that I started really dreading our sessions.

It was also bloody cold and because it was winter, we walked a good portion of the weekday sessions in darkness. I’m sure I looked like a minion in my yellow tshirt and bright yellow bibs and head lamp.

Today’s confession: I was longing for a cold or flu bug to hit so that I would have a good excuse to skip a session. As it happened, the winter of 2014 was probably my healthiest winter ever and I skipped very few sessions.

In August we went away for a few days and that little holiday broke my momentum. I battled to force myself back into the walking habit after the break and while I was being lazy at home, I picked up a little Spring sniffle. That gave me all the excuse I needed to take more time off and August and September were my two of my worst months in terms of mileage done on the roads.

I had a feeling my days at RWFL were numbered. The sessions I did attend were awful. I didn’t enjoy them at all. I felt slow and miserable. I hated walking at the back of the pack and I just couldn’t see how I could make myself move faster.

The light finally came back on one Saturday morning in October. I can’t remember the date but I remember the feeling so clearly. The route we were on had some torturous hill climbs but a lovely, mostly gentle downhill finish. For some reason, that Saturday morning, once we had gotten past the worst of the torturous hills, I decided to break away from my walking companions and try to run a bit. I ran. And ran some more, and before I realised it, I was back at the school field! I’d covered more than a kilometre, at a jogging pace and I was amazed and ecstatic. I finally felt that I was fitter than I was when I had started. Finally the hard work was starting to pay off. From that day onwards, I decided to run the downhills and flat bits if my body allowed it.

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