Getting Back On The Horse Again

Storm Callum hit Northern Ireland with a vengeance yesterday. About half a mile into my comeback run to be precise. I have run very little since the Causeway Coast Marathon at the end of September, but vowed yesterday to get my running shoes on and pound the pavements again. Which sounded like a great idea. Until I ran straight into Callum. What followed was one man’s largely losing battle with the elements.

Within a mile I was drenched, but thankful I had chosen to wear a base layer underneath my running top. I might drown but at least hypothermia would be averted. The same could not be said, unfortunately, for my sodden feet. My thighs were also turning bright red but I plodded on into a strong headwind, no matter what direction I turned. It’s character building, I lied to myself, as I lurched on into Mile 2.

The route I take from the office out along the Lagan Towpath is usually teeming with fellow lunchtime runners. They were few and far between yesterday, however. Anyone with an ounce of sense was firmly ensconced in their cosy, dry workplaces. Only the truly dedicated, and by dedicated I mean stark raving mad, athlete was taking to the streets today. I largely had the towpath to myself, bar the occasional bedraggled dog walker.

I nervously eyed the river as I ran alongside it, mindful of how high the waters looked. Much higher and I was in danger of having to swim back once I reached the halfway point of the run, where I turned and retraced my steps back into the city centre. I’m far from the world’s best swimmer and the triathlon will never be on my list of challenges. Plus, nobody wants to see me in swimwear, not my best look I can guarantee you.

By halfway, the initial misery had passed, to be replaced by a perverse euphoria. I was running, I was actually running. Running very slowly, well below my normal pace, but still running. I could sense my rock bottom confidence rising with every soggy step. Despite being battered on all sides by the wind and rain, despite resembling a deranged, fluorescent escapee from the lunatic asylum, I was doing it.

When I eventually finished I looked as if I had been dragged through several hedges and a car wash backwards. But the sense of achievement far outweighed the aching limbs. I was a runner again. Several unwanted demons had been slain en route and I’d proven to myself that I wasn’t the utter waste of space I previously thought. Which could not have been more timely, given the busy schedule I have ahead of me over the coming months.

I’ll not be setting Personal Bests any time soon, if ever, and I have no races planned. But at least I can get out there and work at regaining the physical fitness I’ve spent years working on. I can also mentally detox and run the intrusive thoughts and unwanted images out of me. OCD is a thought based illness. It cannot function when I’m too tired to think. I sweat it out of me, a drop at a time. It has no control over me when I run. I become my own master.

There’s also the small matter of a book to finish. I haven’t been near ‘The Kirkwood Scott’ Chronicles in the best part of two weeks but hope to start work on it again over the weekend. I’m hopeful that Version 4.0 will be finished by next weekend at the latest. Then it’s time to start researching and harassing potential agents. It’s a big challenge but I feel I’m ready to get back on the horse again. All bad things must come to an end.

How do you get back on the horse again?

41 thoughts on “Getting Back On The Horse Again

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  1. Well, sounds like you are emphatically back on the horse, frantically near the search for agents. I rejoice this anxiety with you! I just returned from a writer’s retreat/conference. So much I need to pray about. My writing project may be back at square one. So yes I am on the horse, just haven’t moved anywhere yet. In fact, I have hesitated to untie my horse from its post. Praying through the weekend before I undo the knot which unleashes the possibilities.

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  2. You inspired me yesterday. I ran again. And I ran well. I found myself breaking into a smile as I managed my longest run yet. I was proud of myself and looking forward to my next goal. 🙌🏻 Well done you. I know it’s been hard.

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  3. Well done!! Since I was on a horse just one time, I don’t know how to get back on… ha ha ha but I will do my exercises today, even if the winds are blowing! Thanks for the inspiration.

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  4. Yes Stephen! I bet it felt great to be running again 😁 Well once you had recovered from hypothermia anyway! We have the tail end of Callum but all we have is wind, lots of wind, I’m hoping it’s gone for our run on Sunday!

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  5. Amazing read thank you! I just wrote about being a “retired” runner…unfortunately my body will no longer allow me to pound the pavement. My challenge has been to outrun my thoughts…my anxieties…as you said I can’t have hem if I’m too tired to think! I’m motivated to not only get back on the horse, but to go find my horse 😊

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  6. I usually whine about how the horse has wandered off (ignoring the fact that I may have forgotten to feed him and left the corral open), make half-hearted attempts to woo him with sugar, then claim to be on when I’ve finally just gripped his reins.

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  7. This was a terrific comeback post! You’re definitely back on the horse. I love how you can turn a totally awful run into a wonderful work of endurance and perseverance. ❤️ Congrats!

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