Walking in the Woods and the Indoor Relay

This week has seen the first stage of movement changing in England with a purposefully confused update from the Prime Minister. However you wanted to take the advice, it's not the end of the lockdown by any means, but it did feel slightly easier to consider meeting up with a friend for a social distanced catch up. So after a long walk with the dog on Monday, the sun was out on Tuesday morning and my old school friend Maz and I met for a walk in the woods, where we had once trekked, biked or sledged in younger years. I think it's been 30 years since we last ventured down there together, most likely for the end of school p*ss up that traditionally blessed all exiting Leasowes High School students.

I am still pretty anxious about being out, primarily as I am super paranoid about being unaware of having symptoms and passing on anything to anyone. We had tried to meet last week, but I had bailed due to getting a scratchy throat following 2-3 days of deliveries to my house. This week felt okay and I really needed some sunshine and social time, so it was great to meet up for a social distanced walk together / apart but travelling in the same direction and having a natter. I've really missed humans these past weeks and it was great to have a ramble chat. 

Since the last Mindful Movement meet-up in London last Summer, it's been almost a year since I have walked and talked with others and it's a very affirming and good practice to share. With Mental Health Week on my radar, it's great to have time to just let your feelings out while moving forward, in a more natural way together. No Beer or distractions, those walks fill me up with good vibes and help me put my thoughts into context when listening to others too. 

Maz and I had run together at Athletics training in our teens and we have been regular Saturday morning Park Runners since I moved back to Birmingham, with our friends Suzanne and Helen, along with other old school faces. It's good to drop the pace sometimes and absorb the surroundings.. more space for conversation to flow and to have a giggle or a proper good moan about the daily shit that crops up.

Leasowes Woods is a beautiful spot that I have spent many hours in, either sledging with my dad, BMXing, with my brother or hoping not to break arms on rope swings with friends in high school years. It was a huge adventure playground in our pre-screen years and I thoroughly loved hanging out there. The woods were originally laid out by poet William Shenston in the 1740's-50's and its a rambling, natural but well maintained path through a leafy blissful route of mature trees, bird song and the odd human shouting at their child to 'get out of the stream!!'. Lovely, to be in its canopy for an hour or two, we saw a few others on our way. Everyone was keeping their distance and patiently waiting for each other to pass.. roaming dogs being the mediators helping to ease the flow of bipedal traffic.

It was great to meet up with Maz. My ParkRun Saturday morning crew has been missed these past weeks and I'm really looking forward to when we can all get out and back into the Saturday morning routine again.

During my super anxious week I used my April commuting train fare fund, to buy a Treadmill for home, so I would still be able to run and keep up the cardio. I've been hoping it would arrive for the past 3-4 weeks but it finally appeared and I have been slowly working it into my daily routine, between the weight training and other workouts. Just as I was getting used to it, my friend Natalie from London Run Crew - 'BackPackers', announced she had become a Team Captain for the Indoor Relay, so I signed up to run an hour for their fundraiser. 

I hadn't run for longer than 40 minutes in the past year, so it was a bit daunting to start with, but all worked out okay. My support captain was great and very understanding when my hearing aids ran out of batteries and left us probably having quite a tangent conversation. Hopefully I nodded at the right points and didn't talk absolute garbage for the entire hour. I usually can't do the running and talking at the same time, so these weeks of training must be working well for my overall fitness levels.

The Indoor Relay has been set up with runners carrying their version of the baton (a marker pen in my case) to run for an hour at home, on treadmills, around sofas, in gardens or anywhere they can, 24hours a day from 2nd May at midday, 7 days a week until 10pm on 30th May. The aim is to help the collective of charities to raise funds, following the cancellation of many events over the past 2 months, where fundraising would have been taking place.

This is the final week to volunteer for a place, before the relay comes to a close, so if you have an hour to kill and you can run in or around your home for an hour and don't mind being viewed on Zoom, please visit the site to sign up! 

Or if you'd like to watch or donate to the charities, including NSPCC, Mind the Mental Health Charity, Women's Aid, Children with Cancer or NHS Charities Together, please drop in, show your support for the runners and donate if you can. All funds will be split equally between the charities.


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