How do they do that? Run for twenty six miles non-stop? God - it's so impressive I just want to lie down and weep. In these parts, I'm still limping my way through re-learning how to run my piddly little 5ks four times weekly, and even with such a small distance, I find the going is incredibly tough. At the moment I've got to the stage in my training where I run for thirteen minutes, walk fast for two and then repeat, but even that has me feeling like a dung-beetle pushing my vast ball of crap uphill. All too solid the flesh, and none of it exactly feeling like it was built for speed. All of it creaking and groaning and whining -do we have to? aren't we there yet? And the cold and wet weather turning my preferred track through woods and fields at back of our house into a black and sticky mudslide, which means until it dries up, I have to go road-running which feels hideously public, not to mention fume-laden. I'm not a lycra-clad godess, alas, just a middle-aged woman who'd really rather prefer if nobody had to be forced to witness her heaving and gasping round her five ks's like a geriatric grampus. Whatever a grampus might be...Also, tarmac is very unforgiving to the aging underfoot compared to the path I've been enjoying through trees and mud which has been my usual training ground. I use the word 'training' loosely, although I'm going to have to set myself some real training goals before I die of boredom. Actually, I also use the word 'enjoying' loosely ; enjoyment tends to hit me all at once when I'm standing in the shower at the end of a run, although there are moments when there's a serendipitous alignment between the music on my i-pod and the cadence of my running - mind you, the sun has to be in the sign of the Nike and the moon in Diana, and there has to be an 'r' in the month, but when all these conditions are met - yeah, it's enjoyable.
But those brave marathon runners, all 35,000 of them; there's something about the London marathon that brings me almost to tears. This year they ran in rain, hail and very occasional spells of wintry sunshine. To my relief, I saw that some of the runners do actually slow to a walk, but most of them keep pounding the tarmac, step by hard-won step. So to all of them, the walkers, the runners, the fast and the slow and the quietly determined in between - respect. I am in awe of your achievements. It was, as always, a joy to watch.
Today, thanks to Michael encouraging me to take some time out for myself, I managed to add on a week to my Shetland trip. YIPPEEEE! This means that I'll have a week to walk the beaches, paint and recharge my batteries and get out there with camera, sketchbook and eyes wide open. Also I'll be able to revisit some of the places I saw last year, and see them in a different and hopefully even more clement season. Uyeasound, Muckle Flugga, Quendale, Ronas Hill...and maybe if I'm feeling suitably brave ( or insanely optimistic), I'll even get into the sea and swim. Woo hoo - bracing, what?