Keeping the black dog at bay

Why I run.

I run because I feel better about myself and the world when I do.

There’s a time of the year when the Monarch Butterfly proliferates. The weather is beautifully warm and the smells of the bush strong. It’s a glorious time of the year, to be outside, to feel alive.

I start my run slowly, from home, jogging the 2km’s to the start of the trailhead. Warming my body in the suns rays and my joints and soft tissues through the gentle movement. Allowing my mind to wander, inspired simply by what I see.

Its meditative right from the get-go, as any thoughts of work or home life, are quickly and consciously pushed from my mind. This isn’t their time, it’s my time.

I hit the trailhead and hope my friends will come out to play one more time. I needn’t worry this time of year as they’re like clockwork, consistent and timely.

Hello my friends!

As I float along the trail these beautiful creatures stream out of the undergrowth to greet me as if wanting to play. Fluttering about me as I move through their territory. It’s kind of ethereal. Dappled sunlight through the trees and masses of Monarch butterflies surrounding me.

I’m being kissed by butterflies! I think to myself.

I feel very important in the scheme of things for these precious minutes. My day to day life disappears as I’m transported off into a neverland of nature.

And I’m only gone for an hour. Although it always feels much longer. And that’s a very good sign as it means time has lost it’s meaning, just for a little while each day. There’s no pressure, no man-made noises, nobody seeking my attention.

Just me, the bush and my butterflies.

I run because I can. And because I need to.

I have a body with 2 legs that function and that means physically I can run. It doesn’t cost anything to run. Not even time. I make the time to run. It is part of my day, just like brushing my teeth or telling my family I love them. It’s vital to me.

Spectacular views like this waterfall, shot on a recent run are another bonus when I’m trail running.

And I’m the first to admit I can suffer from bouts of depression. The black dog bites from time to time.

So that’s why I need to run. I need the endorphin release running gives me. I need to be in and with nature. I’m a better person for it and able to contribute more completely to my family, my business and my community.

Hey, don’t get me wrong. I’m a fit and healthy 55-year-old, I’m simply honest about how I feel. I have to be because it doesn’t serve me or those around me if I’m not.

And sometimes it’s hard to get out there. The weather is rubbish or I’m feeling just ok mentally or physically. I make myself do it. Even if I have to walk for some or all of the trail. I know I’ll be better for it.

As I sit writing this, I can hear the rain lashing the window of my room, knowing I’ll be out running in it shortly. And I can’t wait.

And I’ll choose my butterflies over the black dog every time.

Training for the Yurrebilla Ultra – 56Km. What goes up … !