For the past four years, I lived close to the beach and I used to run 35kms a week. At the start of that period, I was recovering from a serious illness and it was tough to start running again. My partner would chivvy me along, and whenever he was away, we would synchronise our runs across the time zones so that we are still connected to each other by our iPhones as we ran halfway across from each other (main photo). It gave me that nice warm feeling to hear his breath and his steady footsteps.
But honestly, it was such a pleasure to get out there and run by the sea. Somedays, I just walked and it was OK. I could go for miles without feeling tired.
(Photo: my usual one)
(Photo: Kamala beach Phuket on one of my evening runs)
And when I returned to England in summer 2018, I began running along the Thames. I loved my running path here as much as the stunning coastal ones in Phuket.
(Photo: Shad Thames, by Hays Galleria)
But my partner absolutely hated it. And so, I cajoled my girl pal to join me on my runs along the Thames instead. My girl pal is not much of a runner, so she would just powerwalk the route and waited for me at some lovely riverside pub.
Once, we veered off the river path and ran inwards, towards Covent Garden, amongst the tourists, office workers, Londoners. We stopped at the steps of the Royal Opera House for a beer, two dripping wet, red-faced women, laughing. I still smile whenever I think of us that day.
One weekend, my partner and I did an epic run through the South Downs, amongst the fields of gold. We ran for hours until we found a peaceful isolated spot in the middle of the downs where there were only clouds, cornfields, birds and small animals.
Today, I am back in Phuket for a break, but I no longer live by the sea. I put on my running shoes anyway and ran where I had to go. I ran past a man-made lake, stopped to take these photos and admired the view. A local gentleman who was fishing by the lake smiled at me and offered me his catch (you can see him and his bicycle in the photo). I stopped and sat with him for a while. It’s so lovely and peaceful here – over the years, I had driven past this lake but never stopped. If I wasn’t running, I would have missed this serenity totally.
After that short, sweet and totally unexpected interlude, I ran home through the busy roads. But it doesn’t matter, because running is like life – you just become at One with the world you are running in and your breath becomes your focus.
Start today ❤