Five loops of the village this morning in bright sunshine amounted to a half marathon. I haven’t run this far in some months now, so was quite anxious at the prospect. I actually tried to talk my way out of yesterday until Fionnuala gave me a pep talk, ‘encouraging’ me to lace my trainers up and hit the roads. Thankfully it was a warm, dry day with a slight breeze to cool me on certain sections of the route.
Some might think running the same route five times in a row would drive you insane, but I like the routine. It helps my pace and concentration levels, plus I’m never far from the house in case something goes awry. I see the same horse, the same cows, the same man out mowing his lawn and can drift along, eating up the miles with each passing lap. Lockdown can feel like Groundhog Day over and over again.
I go back to work tomorrow. It’s only a four hour shift but it’s a break from the routine. The lockdown has been extended until 28 May in Northern Ireland so it’s unlikely the office will open properly until early June at the earliest. There is talk of professional sport starting up then as well, albeit behind closed doors. It’s unlikely the schools will open again until September, so the kids remain at home learning online.
One of my dreams is to run ten loops of the village, a marathon distance. I ran half that today and felt I had a sixth lap in me, so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. I dream of that day, just as we all dream of a return to some semblance of normality. Until then, we will continue to drift in ever decreasing circles, struggling to keep our head above water and spirits up. Wherever you are in the world reading this, I hope you are keeping safe and well.