An extract from my Nation Trust Magazine…
In these uncertain times
We know you might feel unsure…
But flowers still grow, birds still sing
And waves still sweep the shore.
And with the rising
And setting of the sun,
Nature reminds us all
That brighter days will come.
Slowly, slowly things are changing…life is moulding new normals again and as the month ends, we see more of life that we had before. Things aren’t the same, and shouldn’t be…the pandemic hasn’t gone away. At the time of first jotting these lines down the amount of confirmed daily cases had doubled to 2000 – that’s 2000 people who could potentially die and that needs a pause and some thought! Today as I post this a whole area is now being placed under further lockdown restrictions.
This month I’ve been looking at the power of nature and have taken part in The Wildlife Trusts, 30 Days Wild Challenge. Basically, with more purpose than usual, doing something each day to connect me with nature more – along the way I’ve
… gone on a bug hunt,
…sketched from nature,
….watched the sunrise on Solstice Day,
…baked nature themed cakes and…
We have a garden and while not very big, we are aware it is a luxury not everyone has. We’ve been mindful of this during lockdown and reflected on how special it is to have it to tend and nurture…it has been our sanctuary and sanity. We have pollinator friendly plants, rocks and wood for creatures to live in or use as shelter, we grow trees and shrubs and have a bird feeder. The latter has even meant sightings of a nuthatch this June.
Being more aware of the natural world around me has made me happier, feel fulfilled and needed! The world around us needs us to be kinder and more considerate to it. It’s thrived a little during our lockdown but as things change and we move on, we need to ensure we don’t forget natures needs.
One of the biggest things I’ve done this month is of course exercise in the great outdoors. Walks to help my aerobic fitness, no matter what the weather. And of course my ultra marathon training.
This month I’ve run 128miles altogether and had two cutback weeks. My training has been consistent and my long runs, while having their moments, have all felt good. I am still having issues with my back and hips but that’s a slow work in progress…a lot of which is caused by me doing what I’m doing when my body is still realistically recovering and being built back up following cancer treatment.
I’ve done a lot of low heart rate and heart rate zonal runs and feel a lot more at ease with them now than ever before. I’ve also started to split my long runs, doing double days, in order to help my body recover faster from them and get me used to running on tired legs. The first of these didn’t go to plan due to poor fuelling and the hot weather, but I felt as if I’d learnt from my mistakes a little for the second – which saw me run 20miles in a day and felt like I’d done only a fraction of that by the evening.
I played around with my long run fuel and found a certain type of cereal bar that I can not only eat easily as I run, but doesn’t play my stomach up and gives me even more of an energy boost than my gels.
My hydration need has upped due to the weather and I can’t emphasise enough the importance of hydration, both during a run…of any distance…and for muscle recovery afterwards. My fuelling needs have also gone up given my increased mileage, not just on a long run but daily – this isn’t always easy given the old eating disorder gremlin. But thankfully I have people to keep me in check, and know that I simply can not run at my optimum level without I fuel well. I don’t however follow a diet plan…no food is out of bounds and we have a healthy, varied, balanced diet. Restriction, food group elimination and purposefully calorie reduction may help weight loss, but they can also be hugely destructive and detrimental.
As this month ends I start my highest mileage week ever, and in July that climbs even more. My runs will continue to be aerobic endurance focused, split when needed and a lot of attention paid to my hydration, nutrition and recovery.