A run in Provence

I might have mentioned this before, but I’m not really a morning person. I usually need at least two cups of tea before I can hold anything resembling a conversation and as to early morning running, no thanks.

 After today though, I think I might be converted. I set my alarm and was up and out before 7am, ok, not spectacularly early, but good for me. It does help that I’m in Provence. The sun was still climbing above the mountains, which was pretty spectacular, and had the added bonus of making my shadow really long, so I could pretend that I was about 10 foot tall, ok, it made me laugh, at that time in the morning, I’m pretty easy to please.

The route itself wasn’t particularly spectacular, a basic out and back along the main road in (and out) of the village, doing this twice made a pretty simple, and very flat, 10k run.

It was the circumstance and the scenery that turned my run into something much more memorable. I’ve already noted the sun rising over the mountains, but hey, it definitely merits another mention. The mountains themselves were a fantastic backdrop, the smell of lavender will now always take me back here, there was no one and nothing around, even the cicadas were silent.

I ran this route earlier in the week, but later in the day, I counted 14 cars, 4 cyclists (all lycra-ed up and on a mission), 3 pedestrians (two of them, a pair of elderly women, I saw three times on my out and back, the other was casually pushing an empty wheelbarrow down the road) and one motorbike. That day, I also enjoyed the cicadas, their chirping was like a cheering crowd and I imagined they were encouraging me to the finish line of some race or other, I felt like raising my arms in celebration when I got to the end and half expected to receive a medal.

Today though, I enjoyed the silence, the shortening of my shadow, the emptiness of the road and the engagement of my other senses. I paid much more attention to what was around me and managed to not look at my Garmin until right near the end.

I wasn’t expecting much in terms of speed, I knew the distance as I’d mapped it out earlier, so I was really shocked to discover I’d run 10k in 49 minutes and 22 seconds. I thought I’d been on a leisurely run, but maybe that’s the secret, just spend more time enjoying what’s around you and the rest will follow. It does help that it was completely flat, but it does make me a little more optimistic about achieving my sub-50 minute 10k in Finsbury Park as part of the Write this Run team at the Women’s Running event.  

I’m definitely much more inclined to go out for an early morning run now, and am determined to pay more attention to what’s around me.

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