For those of you who aren't huge Lord of the Rings geeks like myself and are not familiar with the 'Stay off the road' reference, take a minute to have a look at this clip from The Fellowship of the Ring. Back in October, I posted a couple of photos from my early morning run on Instagram and the general consensus was that I should 'stay off the road' and find somewhere far less spooky to run instead. I'll admit, whenever I hear a rustling noise coming from one the hedges, my heart starts to beat a little faster and my feet carry me just that little bit speedier along the path, but generally, it's a cute, little squirrel preparing to jump out at me as opposed to the Ring Wraiths (I'm so, so sorry if Lord of the Rings is not your thing ... just look at the nice pictures instead).
On Saturday, after a six week hiatus, I dusted off my running shoes and once again braved the early morning chill. It felt really good and really awful and really hard all at the same time. About half way round my usual route, I actually felt sick and considered walking the rest of the way home but Florence and the Machine came on and spirited me on. And yes, while I may have been quite slow in comparison to the speed that I was running at before Christmas, it still meant that I could carry that smug 'I went for a run before you even opened your curtains' feeling with me all weekend (and not feel too guilty about eating half a chocolate orange later that evening).
Eighteen months ago, with a two year old that disliked sleep and a two month old that fed around the clock, if you had asked me if I'd ever consider voluntarily getting up at 6am, I would have taken the dirty muslin cloth off my shoulder and hit you with it. On the very, very odd occasion that neither boy wanted or needed anything before the clock struck six, you wouldn't have moved me from the comfort of my bed for heaven and earth ... not even for a chocolate orange or a box of After Eights (both true loves of mine).