Why is a 5km run known as a fun run? That is a question I used to ask myself as I sweated it out on the treadmill – panting, smelly and desperate to sit down after a mere 3km’s interval training.
A 5km run is said to be for families and beginners. But despite years of working out at the gym, I would feel defeated after running little more than half that distance. “How do other people do it?” I wondered. “I can’t carry on any more…”
It all changed last Saturday
That was until last Saturday, when it was such a glorious spring morning I decided that instead of working out in the gym, I’d go for a jog around Kings Heath Park.
I had already found out that a figure of eight in Kings Heath Park is 2km, so I decided to do one and a half circuits and call that my workout for the day.
I started off. The frost on the grass was glistening like pearls in the low-morning sunshine. The bare trees stood in sculptural silouettes against the clear blue sky. Tiny varieties of daffodils and snowdrops were peeping shyly from the earth. The birds were calling to each other, reminding me of other dawns I had witnessed, other times when I am overwhelmed by the sheer sensuality of being alive. I completed one lap.
Praying on the second circuit
On the second circuit, replete with voluptousness, I decided to pray. I remembered a baby I knew who was in hospital, for one loop of the eight. I thought about the people of Japan, for the second. Every time I glanced at the roofs of the Kings Heath terraced houses, I would think of the people who lived in them, whose names I didn’t know but whose neighbourhood I shared.
“I’ve just run 4km,” I realised as I finished the lap. “How come I couldn’t run 4km on a treadmill? Isn’t that a great example of the connection between body and spirit? Doesn’t that just show the fallacy of thinking of the body as a fixed, physical entity?”
And with that, I thought I may as well do another 2km circuit – and I did.