I can only see five yards in front of me. I can only touch the leaves and mud under my feet. I can only hear my own breathing. I can only feel my dog’s panting on the backs of my calves.
Life is reduced to the box I am in, just as big as my head-torch can light up. It’s 10 past 5 on a Thursday morning, I am running round a field, and the world is mine!
I have been attending breakfast networking meetings on Thursdays for 15 years, and, having to exercise my German Shepherd first, I have been getting up early. Last April, I decided to challenge myself – why not run 2 miles with her, instead of walking 1?
Seemed like a good idea at the time…………..
I get up just before 5, and as soon as my feet hit the bathroom floor, the whining starts from the canine department. Back in the bedroom, I try not to put on too many layers. I peer out of the window and try to discern the weather and the temperature.
Then downstairs – shoes on, head-torch, outer layer perhaps – and out into the night.
We make our way across the car park and through the woods to the field. I click my watch by the tall bramble in the corner and we set off. There is a distinct trail round the margin of the field that is runnable most seasons. The field is nearly a mile round, quite hilly, but all of it is high with views south across the A31 to Worldham and Selborne.
I try and go as slowly as possible and let my body wake up. The first lap seems endless, but then the second passes much faster.
If I’m feeling particularly wild, we might do a third!
It’s a wonderful sensory experience – or rather, lack of sensory experience. Just the odd car on the bypass, and the odd streetlight, indicates a world beyond mine.
Clicking my watch by the tall bramble again, I walk on a hundred yards or so, turn and jog back to the gap in the woods to get home.
Inside, it’s 50 press-ups and stretch out hamstrings and quads.
I feed Roni, make a cup of tea, and listen to Pause for Thought on Radio 2.
And it’s just a lovely feeling – it’s my time, I’m very chilled, I’m not rushed, I’ve experienced a world that no one else has seen, I’m awake and ready for the rest of the day. And I like the feeling that I have not got up just to get to work, that there is a little pause for me – and paws for Roni too!