As my mind began to stir this morning, it had forgotten that I was in Costa Brava about to embark on an adventure. My immediate feelings were of exhaustion and overwhelm. Where these feelings came from I don’t know, but they were disturbingly familiar.
But as two pairs of church bells competed to tell me it was 7am, I realised I was on holiday and an entirely different sense of overwhelm struck me… I must relax! I need to stretch! I need to meditate! I need to go for a walk! I need to eat a healthy breakfast! I need to make the most of every second!
Even thinking these things exhausted me, so I did what I usually do and turned over and went back to sleep.
An hour later, I woke to the same sense of overwhelm, which was quickly overcome by panic as I looked at the time and realised I was running late. No time for meditation. Forget the stretching. Screw the walk. My morning was suddenly stripped back to the essentials and I jumped into action.
Last down to breakfast and last down to check out of the hotel, I must admit I was nervous about what the rest of the day had in store.
What if I stumble on a rock and injure myself before the marathon? What if I get a few miles down the track and urgently need the toilet? What if the entire group are super fast runners and I can’t keep up? It’s very rare I run with other people and the passionate bravado of our guide Pablo the night before had me slightly concerned.
As it happened my fears proved groundless. I found myself fit and coordinated enough to handle the terrain. I didn’t have any urgent calls of nature. And Pablo clearly loved to be out on the trails but kept the pace slow and consistent with plenty of time to stop and appreciate the area we were running through.
Even more amazing was that I didn’t just survive the run, I actually thrived on it. The sheer beauty of this North Eastern part of Spain. The sun warm on my back. The camaraderie of running as a group. The cumulative effect of four months improving my fitness and working on technique… it was pure unadulterated joy, and I found myself grinning like the Cheshire Cat the entire way.
As I ran my shoulders which have been so tense of late actually began to relax and when we reached our destination 10 miles later it was with enough excitement and energy to do it three times over.
A three course lunch and a shower later I was just as happy to enjoy a snail’s pace exploration of the tiny medieval village of Peratellada.
This place makes the Cotswolds in England feel like new fangled party towns. It’s the kind of ancient that has moats, lane ways barely wider than an arms width, and stone roads bearing foot deep tracks worn by centuries of wagon traffic. Add to that the incredibly laid back Spanish lifestyle, and I had the perfect location to catch up on all that stretching, meditating, walking that I had missed in the morning.
And as the sun set over the sleepy countryside, and the darkness rolled in, I simply sat and soaked it in. Nothing to do. Nothing to achieve. No one to impress. And when I stopped trying to manufacture a perfect moment, a perfect moment found me.