I find it hard to believe that I invented the word Phunning back on August 14th ~ just over three months ago now.
Lest you’ve forgotten or didn’t see the post, this was the day I made a commitment to myself to get back to running before it was too late in my life. However, because of a whole wadge of past injuries and illnesses (one of which banjaxed my back for an agonising four years and made walking up the stairs seem like climbing Mount Everest), I decided that I’d have to take it nice and s l o w l y and have plenty of fun and photography along the way.
My big ambition was to get to be able to run the Anne Valley Trail that links Dunhill Village here in Co. Waterford to the stunning ruins of Dunhill Castle that is said to predate even Waterford City itself (and it’s the oldest city in Ireland).
Dunhill Castle, Co. Waterford.
The trail is 2.2km each way so the aim was to do up and back ~ 4.4km. It started with far more walking than running; walk 30 paces, run 10 paces; walk 20 paces, run 20 paces. In the early days, the counting was key!
I’ve been hammering away at this on a fairly consistent basis and have seen the Anne Valley Trail in all weathers, at all hours and move from Summer into Winter.
About two weeks ago now, I went out there on a damp, misty day and started from the castle end. I didn’t even have the camera with me as the vision was dire. I ended up running the whole way to the bottom of Dunhill Village. I was so delighted with myself, I headed up to Harney’s Pub for a snack and found myself in the middle of a pre-wedding gathering at 12.45pm. The wedding was due to take place in the nearby church at 1.30pm.
Dunhill Church, Co. Waterford.
Sustained with good coffee and the perfect ham sandwich, I made my way back down to the trail and with thoughts of weddings and romance bobbing around in my head, found myself jogging all the way back.
As you can imagine, I was was pretty stunned and nearly afraid to go out there again in case it had all been a figment of my vivid imagination.
Dunhill Castle of my Mind
The great news is that I’ve now run the 4.4km on two separate occasions (without making the detour to the pub.) It feels like a huge thing to me (and it is!) but I realise that it’s a far cry from the marathon I’d really love to run one day.
The wonder of it all was sealed for me the other day when I found that the swans I have long associated with the Anne Valley had come back up-river to where I feel they belong.
So, now it’s all about keeping it up and making sure to keep the fun and relaxation built into this personal endeavour.
Little wonders will never cease!