As I write this blog on Friday March 13th, 2020, we are in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s also Friday the 13th – so if you’re superstitious then there’s a good chance the world might end today – so you might as well read all my brilliant brainfarts before you pop your Corona-clogs.
Don’t worry, this blog isn’t going to feature lots of misinformed information from me. I am not a health official, I am not a doctor – I am just another idiot on the internet being alive. I have also been washing my hands religiously, it is race week after all – Fleet Half Marathon is this Sunday and I’ve been making sure I don’t get ill like I normally do before other target halfs. Last year before Fleet, I got some sort of 24 hour sickness bug and yes, I spent 24 hours being violently sick. I also got a bad cold before Milton Keynes late in 2018 and was so close to the sub 1:20 HM time I wanted but alas, no joy. Not to mention Cardiff last year – where my mental health was all over the fucking place. Hoping for a sub 1:20 PB at Fleet this weekend, as long as it doesn’t get cancelled last minute and I run well of course. Old me: “PRESSURE, PRESSURE, PRESSURE” – new me: “STICK BEETROOT UP BUM ALL WEEK, RUN HARD AS YOU CAN, BOOK ANOTHER HM IF YOU DON’T DO IT HERE.” When COVID-19 fucks off in time obvs.
Of course there’s a lot more important things happening in the world than running right now but this is my running blog, so I am gonna focus on running for a couple of paragraphs, what I got up to in Feb and then I will do some kind of heavy thought piece on social media, viruses and life, then we’ll tie it all up in a sexy bow with some positive vibes at the end. Cool?
My aim this year with running is to be consistent with training, not worry about what other people are up to running wise, and try and love myself and my running – I can confirm I am doing all of the above! I ran 206 miles in Feb which is another solid month, and had the pleasure of visiting Portugal with Rowena (girlfriend with lovely round head) and doing lots of running around the Algarve. We had the pleasure of staying near Albufeira, running along the beach in the mornings, running around the international XC course and running along the wide and hilly paved streets of the Portuguese south coast. If you’re a runner and you haven’t visited here, then get it on the list. There was also loads of great vegan food and it was perfect to get some Euro-sun on our Winter-filled British bones. There’s a lot to be said to going on holiday in February. Would recommend. I was genuinely sad to come home – I think in the past I have blocked out feelings about returning from great trips but not this time. It was nice to feel sad for a couple of days and reflect on what had been a beautiful week away with my special and very loud girlfriend.
Holidays aside, I’ve been training well with my normal schedule of 45 – 50 miles a week. Easy runs with some strides, recovery runs, a long run and intervals mid week, one day off, a hard parkrun and then a slightly harder long run than I was doing last year. I didn’t have any target races in Feb, so I did a few hard parkruns… no flat ones but 18:31 at Fareham, 18:47 at Hogmoor and I know I’d be around the mid 17s if I did a fast one, so that’s nice. I also had a fun run around Brighton Half Marathon with Dan’s Tent and Keith from Vegan Runners. It was the windiest run I have ever done. Windy as in gusts and not twisty. Aim was 1:27 with a hard last 5k… luckily the last 5k was wind assisted and ran an 18:20-ish effort to finish the race, haha! I also had fun at my first XC race for my club, Liss Runners, in about 18 months. Managed top 20 and ascertained that I am still shit at running in mud but I actually enjoyed every second. I didn’t want the race to stop which was a nice feeling.
Although this blog is about running, it’s also about mental health. I am feeling pretty good at the moment. I am really enjoying going to college, I just passed my Level 2 Counselling Course, I am currently doing Level 3 and I’ve got a place for Level 4 which is a two year course starting in September. The course isn’t just about learning how to counsel others, it’s all about improving myself and developing me, so I can be there for others. I am not putting any pressure on myself. I am not going nose-first into it and stressing myself out – I am enjoying learning new things about myself, others and academically. Good mental health will work with my physical health to create the best version of Jhon Cosgrove you have ever seen. Something like that anyway.
The one thing thing that causes so many people issues with their health is social media. You can see it during this Coronavirus outbreak. The whole toilet paper thing is / was fucking mental and we have social media to blame for this, as well as people being selfish due to panic. I know it’s ironic for me to be writing about social media while on social media BUT social media can be such a positive tool for change, inspiration and information. Sadly, people panic and start sharing false info and freaking themselves and everyone else out. Remember that unless you’re reading something from someone who is a doctor, health official, the government, then it’s just an opinion. WHAT I AM WRITING IS JUST MY OPINION – DON’T LISTEN TO ME. The last day or so has made it all feel a bit more real with events being cancelled, and I feel very sorry for anyone who is mara training right now – just remember you’ve smashed your fitness, and your health (and the world’s) is more important than one race – there will always be another. I do have armageddon style images flooding my brain of police helicopters flying over my village, stopping me from going running if we all have to self-isolate. They will have to catch me first, ha!
Social media in general is just people sharing a digital version of themselves and their lives. It’s in 2D and the world is in glorious 3D. How many times have you met someone in real life after seeing them post on social, and seen how different they are? When someone shares an image of themselves smashing a race and it looks so easy, you haven’t seen the thousands of hours that have gone into training and the sad days, the hard days and the real bad days. I think we all just need to be a bit more aware of the negative side of the internet and how it can cause others to feel shite about themselves – just look at the Caroline Flack situation. That was pretty shite, eh? I used to write horrible things on the internet ALL THE TIME back in the day when I also felt horrible. When social media, Facebook etc… was a thing at first, no one said or knew that it was going to be such a big thing and effect everyone’s mental health in such a big way – that’s whether we spend countless hours comparing ourselves to others’ achievements or writing negative stuff about others because we don’t feel good about ourselves. I am all up for having a LOL on the interwebs but we definitely have to be more aware about others’ feelings and respect them too. We’re not going to to get it right all of the time, but as long as we educate each other without just arguing all the time, then we’ll hopefully get somewhere. Everyone has feelings, so I guess we have to try and respect them and talk about why they feel like that, rather than calling them a wanker and questioning the legitimacy of their parents’ marriage. Let’s start with how everyone feels about COVID 19, and respect each others views and stop panic buying fucking bog roll so I don’t have to use my curtains again.
Let’s summarise these last six weeks then – I feel very privileged to be alive, I appreciate being alive, I think these ‘end times’ type vibes that the media are perpetuating are making us feel more ALIVE (whether that’s a good or bad feeling), running is really good and going where I want it without killing myself so I hate it, I love my girlfriend and friends, I am really trying to live in the now and not worry about the past or future – and I think we should all be a bit nicer to animals and maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place.
Thanks for reading my words and pray to your gods that I get a PB at Fleet (if it’s on) – if not, then there’s always another race – I will do a post about the race anyway! Except if it’s not on or my legs fall off, no one wants to read that.