Just lately, with working and decorating and general household daily jobs, I’ve struggled to find time to do a great deal, which is a bit rubbish really because one thing. I love to do is keep fit.
I think it’s because as a child I loved athletics and also went to dance classes. So I don’t do the fitness for weight loss purposes, I do it just because I really enjoy it and the feeling it brings when I’ve finished my exercise routine.
But without the spare time and also with lockdown, I haven’t been going to the gym much at all, although instead I have managed to get out for a run.
I have a couple of running routes that are 6k and then if I want to go further I have a longer route, and although I sometimes stop and walk to take a drink and catch my breath, I think overall for a 58 year old body that I’m doing ok with keeping it up. I just have to make sure I have good trainers otherwise my back starts to hurt.
When I’m running, I take my phone and listen to music which is also something I love. The familiarity of a favourite song can really lift your mood and I usually listen to 1970s songs - either ‘All Out 70s’ or ‘Alternative 70s’ (and 80s) or ‘1970s Love Songs’. I absolutely love some of the songs and artists who just ‘scream’ 1970s - Carly Simon with You’re So Vain; Roberta Flack with Killing Me Softly and and Barry White with his stream of hits - not to mention Punk and the New Romantics. They remind me of the era I grew up in and I seem to know all the words as Mum would always have the radio on at home, which always created a great vibe in the kitchen.
I often think about my first best friend who was also a runner like me - we ran like the wind, as fast as our little legs would carry us and we were always happy to come second to each other - sometimes I would win the race on sports day and sometimes she would win - usually with just a split second between us. But we’d have great fun practising and competing.
But then, one day my best friend didn’t come to school. We were told she was poorly and in those days without communication it was quite a few weeks, maybe even months before I realised she wasn’t ever coming back to school. She has been diagnosed with early onset rheumatoid arthritis at just the age of 8. I had no idea what that meant at the time but I can remember how upset I was when I eventually saw her - so poorly and in so much pain. So when I’m running now, 50 years later, I often think of my little friend who is no longer here but definitely not forgotten. I run for both of us and although I often shed a tear or two, I’m grateful for the memories I have of the two of us running and laughing together as fast as our little legs could carry us.
I still have a couple of medals to remind me of our running days.