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- Page 4

  • Perception

    I have a weak right ankle.  It's always been weak, and it's not helped by the fact that it has been twisted, strained and sprained more than a few times through the years.  This morning I began Week 4 of the Coach to 5k programme, and part way through the second 5 minute run interval, my ankle was hurting sufficiently that I chose to abort the run and walk the rest of the time (and then home again!).

    For much of my adult life, I've declared that I couldn't do running becuase of my weak ankle... somewhere along the line I'd forgotten that, and the past three weaks of steadily increasing the amount of running has been problem free.  Today that weakness reasserted itself, and I've decided to take a break for a couple of weeks, and then try again beginning with Week 3 - after all, I was fine with the three minutes runs!

    Of course I'm disappointed to have to stop this programme - I was starting to enjoy it!  But I am also really chuffed with I have achieved already.  Three weeks ago I could barely run for 30 seconds, and today, in total, I ran for about 14 minutes, including one continuous run of 5 minutes.  I could wallow in disappointment, or even be envious or resentful of others who are progressing steadily to greater distances, but actually, I'm really pleased with what I've achieved.  Knowing that I can now run for up to five minutes at a time, and that I can alternate that with walking three or four times, is a good achievement.

    Hopefully in a couple of weeks, having dug out one of my many ankle supports from my distance walking kit, I can have another go.  I may, yet, reach the goal of running for 30 minutes!  For now, I am content to enjoy what I've achieved.

  • In Grateful Remembrance

    Today I received a phone call to let me know that a friend had died suddenly in the early hours of this morning.

    N and A were a retired couple who were incredibly kind and supportive when I was at vicar school.  They lived in the house literally across the road from the church where I did my long placement, and their door was always open with the offer of a cuppa, a toasted teacake, Sunday lunch or a midweek meal.  A's cheesy leeks were - are - legendary!  Truly two people who loved each other very deeply, and who exemplified the fulfilment of wedding vows.

    At times my long placement was a difficult place to be, and this couple's home offered a refuge, a safe space to be when I had to hang around for evening meetings at the end of a day.

    I have many happy memories - they came to my BA graduation in Manchester, sometimes took me out to lunch, they even drove down to Dibley once to tidy my garden which was beyond my (extrememly limited) ability, during which time we rescued a hedgehog. N played the piano for my ordination service, and they both attended my induction in Dibley.  More recently (about three years ago!), they visited Glasgow and attended worship at the Gathering Place.

    In the early hours of this morning A died.  I will treasure my memories of her.  Her down-to-earth Mancunian personality, calling a spade a spade.  I will treasure the pastoral situations I was privileged to share with them as a family.  I will smile and be glad, for my life is the richer for having known her.

    Rest in Peace, A, you lived a good life, laughed often and loved much... I am privileged and grateful to have known you.

  • A third of the way...

    This was Week 3 of the "couch to five kilometres" programme, and today I completed the third and final run of the week.  So that's three weeks, nine 'runs' down, and six weeks, eighteen 'runs' still to go.  It's certainly getting more challenging, and at the same time, I can continue to 'stagger' (running might be a bit of kind description) at around 165-170 strides per minute for longer periods of time, especially when I fail to hear the 'app' tell me to 'walk'!!

    Two of my three runs this week were flat, coastal paths in Bardsea, near to Barrow in Furness, and the last a flat-ish (gentle upwards!) run at home.  The difference was quite noticeable - hills are hard work!

    It has given me pause for thought, though, as each week I can do just that little bit more than the week before.  This is usually true also of anything else ... build up slowly and it's more doable and more sustainable.  Sometimes I think with spiritual practices, we can be guilty of trying to run a full 5k before we've got used to the short intervals.  I think, too, we can be guilty of confusing quantity with quality.  Over the years, I've met many ministers (mostly men) who have told me that they rise early and pray for an hour before breakfast, read x-chapters of scripture etc.  It can be all too easy for me to feel inadequate because I don't, can't and never could, do this.

    Begining the c25k has reminded me that not everyone is a marathon runner, not everyone a sprinter, and that one size doesn't fit all.  Read a few verses, pray for a few minutes... be intentional and regular but not necessarily daily (the c25k is three days out of seven) if that works better.  Don't beat yourself up if you need a rest, or to repeat a week (I'm debating repreating week 3 if week 4 run 1 proves too hard).  It's not a competition - whether it's physical or spiritual wellbeing - and sometimes we need to be reminded of that (or at least I do).

    Three weeks ago running for 60 seconds was hard work.  Twice this week, due to failing to hear a command, I've run for 3.5 minutes non stop (should have been 3, oops).  Overall, then, it's going in the right direction.