Walking My Dog

I haven’t been running much. I haven’t been exercising much. My energy right now is being funneled into the final piece of work for my MSc: a 20000 word dissertation. I can’t see beyond it at the moment, it’s become all consuming in my spare time when I’m not working or the boys aren’t around. If I go running I feel guilty for spending that time on running (and the inevitable time it takes for me to sort myself out post run) instead of being sat in front of the computer tightening up my literature review and transcribing interviews.

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What has kept me sane has been walking my dog Polly. As another day passes without a run it is the time I spend walking her that keeps me mindful and keeps me active. While I walk around the field near our house Polly will run and find sticks while I clear my head after the school run, getting ready for another day backing up my statements with references and rewriting paragraphs that I realise I hate. I’ve found that walking Polly clears my head for lots of other aspects in my life and seems to prepare me for things that I don’t always feel confident for, in the same way that running always has.

My dissertation is due next month and I can’t wait to have my time and my mind back. Before dissertation fever (or panic) hit me I had actually managed to do some running and had completed a couple of races: the famous Nos Galan race in Mountain Ash and The Buff Trail 10k in the Afan Valley. These runs felt like a final hurrah before I submitted to my fate at the computer.

I keep feeling guilty over running but I have spent too much money over the last two years to piss it back up against the wall. For the first time in many years running is way down on the priority list and I actually feel okay about that. I don’t need or want to get up at 5am to try and fit runs in, I’m tired and run down as it is getting up at 6.30am to sort two children, do my own work at home, run a business, work in the physio clinic and running a household. It’s ironic that my research is on barriers to participation because I recognise all the internal and external barriers for myself right now. Some might even call it ‘amotivation’. But you know what? I’m okay, because if I manage to get this work submitted and I manage to pass, it will all be so worth it for my self-esteem, for the time I’ve spent on it and for my career. Until I’ve got that bit of free time and mental energy back in my life, walking the dog will keep me moving and keep me happy.

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