An Enduring Escape

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.12.08 PM

Hayley Birch tries to figure out why she finds distance running so appealing:

When you’re training for a marathon, you make up reasons for why your body isn’t performing the way you want it to. You didn’t stretch properly after your last run. Your shoes are getting old. It was windy. Muddy. Below zero. You’re still congested after that cold you had two weeks ago. Um… It’s January? The truth is you’re tired. You’re really, really tired. By Friday, a rest day, the lethargy of the week’s training – the hills session, the night at the track, the core strength exercises, the stretching, the 15 km ‘easy’ run at 6.30am – it takes its toll, and you start to doubt whether the 30 km run you have planned for the weekend is a good idea. …

It’s difficult to explain what’s going on in the head of someone who has committed to training five, sometimes six, days a week, to running hundreds of kilometres every month. It’s difficult to explain, even when that person is you. … What I come to accept is that the race itself is just an excuse for all the rest of it. For venturing outside more than once a fortnight, for staying on top [of] my life, for preventing each week from disintegrating into a sea of unanswered emails, unwashed coffee cups and unopened post. For guilt-free time out. For solace.

(Photo by Giorgio Galeotti)