Recovery run week 3 and I'm starting to feel like a runner again. Last week really took me up a level and this week I felt like a different person when I donned my kit and headed out.
That first moment of hitting the beach is always breathtaking. Whether it's summer or winter, morning or evening, it's magical. I never get tired of that first sight of the Bass Rock on a run. I read some research that said people define 'home' in different ways. For some, home is when they get through their own front door. For others, it's when they arrive in their own country. For me, it's when I see the Bass Rock from any angle, by train, by car, by run. I love the Rock best when it's white, then I know it's covered in gannets and gannets always make me happy.
This week low tide's been very low and so the beach has been enormous: great rocky outcrops with oases of sand scattered between. It's something else to run on sand that a few hours ago was covered by sea; sand we only see when the tide's way, way out.
There's a lot of bird life when the tide's out, especially early morning and it's noisy out there. No need for the ipod on morning runs on the beach. Both days I've arrived at the wee estuary at the same time as a flock of seagulls (cue 1980s flashback). What a racket! As the gulls gathered, they rose to greet each other squawking and calling, before settling down to look out to sea and harass the oystercatchers.
There's loads of birds early morning on the beach; angry black headed gulls; startled oyster catchers, curlews sounding like childhood. But this week I've been lucky enough to see the herons.
The first heron was on my run out. A large bird, invisible until the moment something tells you that's a heron over there. He was sitting on a rock looking like he was gazing out to sea. Not a muscle moved. I slowed down to try and not startle him. He was still sitting there when I came back. I slowed down again as I went past and as I came round the corner, I saw a smaller adult (Mum?) and what I think was a young bird being taught to fish. They were off too quick for me to get a snap, the young bird ungainly in its rush to get to safety.
Herons have such a quality of stillness about them; even taking off these birds are so elegant, so unhurried (usually). Herons make you want to stand still and reflect on the world. I always feel special when I've seen one. When I got home I had a Google and found out that in Native American mythology, herons are about independence, being open to change and following non traditional ways. They offer the gift of balance, allowing you to perform many tasks at the same time. That sounds like most runners I know, we're pretty independent and not exactly run of the mill folk.
I know change is the only constant, but I'm in big change mode at the moment and running is a big part of it. As a woman of a certain age, I'm having physical and emotional changes to deal with and running helps. I can't tell if I'm having a hot flush when I'm running - result! I've been having acupuncture, initially for the menopause symptoms, but I'm also getting my post bursitis hip rehab sorted too. That's all about strengthening the ability of my hips to balance my left and right sides and my asymmetric body. As Ming uses her magic needles, my hip pain has all gone now and it's helped me identify a tightness in my psoas muscle. I've now got myself a set of Yoga moves to stretch out my psoas and strengthen my hips and create more balance. Running has become part of my hip recovery not a cause of injury. Of course acupuncture and Chi Running share similar values and philosophies.
I've done two runs this week, each with 4x5 minute runs with 1 minute walks in between. My second run was over 3 miles - the first time in ages - and it felt good, I started to feel I might be able to run without stopping soon. I was delighted to realise that I've been so focussed on how long I run, I haven't once looked at the pace on my Garmin. That felt like a real achievement!
Instead of a third run, Ali and I did a ten mile walk on Saturday walking from Gullane to North Berwick. A beautiful day and it's so great to see our beaches being used. There were walkers, strollers, rowers, paddle boarders and cyclists with those fat tyres - and of course dog walkers and runners and sandcastle builders with the odd barbecue thrown in. Something for everyone.
We had a delightful lunch at the Direlton Gallery - great soup and sarnies and always an excellent cup of tea. What more could you ask?
Next week is 2x10 minutes with 1 minute rest. After that I should be able to do 20 minutes without stopping. And after that I'm back to being a normal runner again - whatever that is!
Have a great week, take care and good running!