I’d already planned to go for a run this morning, but waking up to the words ‘It looks like Trump is going to be president’ made me even more determined to get outside even though it was raining. I set off for West Walk, the ‘hill’ where the Eagles do hill training, to do six reps but my cold is still lingering and after two very slow ascents I decided to just run instead. I followed a meandering route, taking random turns down roads I haven’t run along before and settled into that steady rhythm that allows your mind to wander while your body is in motion.
I often say to myself that running always makes things better, because that has often been my experience. When I’ve felt overwhelmed by work, when I was coping with cancer treatment, when I have a difficult decision to make, when I’ve fallen out with someone and I can’t work out what I need to say to them, when I get stuck in a loop of repetitious internal angst, my instinct is to go for a run and running invariably makes things better. It gives me a different viewpoint from which to get some perspective, the sense of achievement that nudges my confidence up, the bodily knowledge that I am stronger than I think I am, the meditative headspace that allows wisdom to percolate up from deep within. I’m aware that statement can sometimes sound crass though. I tweeted it to someone I know on Twitter who had gone out for a run after surgery for metastatic breast cancer, and then wished I hadn’t because it sounded insensitive. There is no ‘better’ for secondary breast cancer, other than finding better ways to live with it. And in the face of a politically inexperienced man, who is on record as being misogynistic, divisive, climate-change-denying and racist, being elected as one of the most powerful people in the world how can anything make that better, let alone something as small as running?
Arriving back home after seven soggy miles, nothing has changed. There’s still that same weird mixture of incredulity and dread in the air that we woke up with after the Brexit vote. But I feel like my head is in a better place; I’m clearer about what I need to do. Running doesn’t change anything but it changes me, and that seems a good place to start.