It is finally cold here. In the last few days, the temperature has dropped, the chill has set in, and it is finally cold.

It’s the sort of cold that makes me shiver and makes my teeth chatter. It’s the sort of cold that makes my fingers freeze as I type, and makes me contemplate searching for my gloves (but I probably won’t). It’s the sort of cold that gives me hope that maybe – just maybe – we will have a “proper” winter this year.

It is gloriously cold.

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hit the ground running

I can hear the NYE fireworks from my home. We’re not close enough or in a good enough position to be able to see them too, but that’s alright.

There seems to be an increasing trend of people not wanting to go out for NYE. Either that, or it’s just the people I know “getting old”. It seems that people just don’t care as much about New Year’s as they care about Christmas. Not that people stay out late for Christmas, but there’s more of an inclination to make some sort of effort to be around loved ones and celebrate. For NYE, however, a lot of people kind of just shrug it off as “just another night”.

I still like NYE. I might not go to parties or go out drinking or watch the fireworks, but I still like NYE. It’s the general vibe, and all the symbolism, you know?

It’s kind of interesting, though, that if there was some global (or even just national) consensus that the New Year would start on, say, the 1st of May, then April 30 would suddenly be a hundred times more significant. Yeah, I know, that’s kind of stating the obvious, but what if we decided to extend the length of one “year” to 24 months? Let the Earth do two laps of the Sun before we change calendars. The significance is not in the day itself, but in what it’s signposting.

Ok, enough waffling, let’s get serious (kind of).

I’ve been reading Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running this last month. It’s not really an autobiography, but a “running memoir” of sorts (or just a collection of his thoughts). I’m really enjoying it because, although he mostly writes about running, he also talks a bit about writing (in relation to running), and the whole thing reads like a blog, so it’s essentially combined three of my favourite things – running, writing, blogging.

I also like that it’s inspirational. Murakami kind of made it clear from the outset that he wasn’t aiming to teach others or inspire them, but I’m sure he’s achieved that anyway. At the very least, he’s inspired me. I’ve still got about 15 more pages to read before finishing it, but I feel like it was a good book to end 2015 on, and perfect for greeting 2016 with.

In this book (which I’m just going to refer to as Running because the actual name is too long), Murakami also talks about his training and preparation for running marathons and triathlons. When he talks about this part of running, he talks about pushing his body to the limits – to its limits. He also talks about his own character and how it suits running. And although he never talks about NYE (unless it’s in the last 15 pages that I haven’t read yet), Running inspired my choice of NYE activity: running.

Pretty much the only thing I deadset wanted to do for NYE was go for a run. In effect, reading about Murakami preparing for and running marathons really made me want to run. And to push myself to my limits.

The run was completed in the early evening (up and down one of my favourite routes along the river), and now I’m completely exhausted. But,  you know what, I feel fantastic. It’s a deep sort of satisfaction.

Ok, I’m probably way too exhausted to keep writing this right now. Can’t wait to write a post on Running when I finish reading it, though. Might even give it multiple posts.

wasting time

It’s been a whirlwind last couple of days. I flew up north to help with cover at our group’s pharmacy up there while HR recruits a new pharmacist. I was there for maybe a grand total of 31-32 hours (just one night) but, gee, it was pretty intense.

And now I’m just exhausted.

Strangely enough, I did some laundry and cleaning this morning, and I’m probably less tired, but still sleepy. I kind of just want to lie down and not move for the rest of the day.

It doesn’t help that it’s super hot today – around 36 degrees Celsius. I’m just going to stay in my room and enjoy the aircon.

And the laptop has made a triumphant return! I am back on my laptop for the first time in over a month because, as much as I would like to lie here doing nothing, I’d feel bad, so I’ve brought my laptop in. Still going to be wasting time, but I’ll be getting something done – like this post!

Isn’t it terrible that we have to feel guilty about doing nothing. I mean, sure, if you’re at work, or there are jobs people are expecting you to get done, then doing nothing is probably not the best plan; but if it’s the week-end and you need a rest and there’s nothing that desperately needs doing, then surely you can be allowed to laze around doing nothing…?

Well, I suppose it’s this whole notion of opportunity cost (one of my favourite / most remembered economic principles). It’s that voice in my head that says, “Yes, you can sit here and do nothing – you’ve probably earnt a break – but think of all the other things you could be doing!”

But it’s ridiculous to be expected to be constantly making the most of every minute.

Hmm… I feel like if I keep going with this post, it’s going to quickly devolve into a weird internal argument, so I’m getting out while I can. Good-bye!

feel better?

I’ve come to realise that whenever I come home from a run/jog, somewhere between the gate and the door, I tend to ask myself something like “feel better?” (I’m usually too exhausted by this time to formulate a complete sentence. And, yes, the answer is always “feel better”.)

This has led me to ponder about why I run. Actually, this is something that I tend to ponder about at some point during my run/jog – maybe in the early stages, while I’m still giving myself a bit of an internal pep talk, or maybe in the final stages, so that I can tick off the boxes.

I remember reading a feature article by Kathleen Noonan a while ago about why people run. I don’t really remember the main point of the article, but I vaguely remember her saying that we should run for the sake of running – because we enjoy it, and not because we need to de-stress or get in shape or stuff like that. At least, I think that was the overarching message… Again, I only have very vague recollections of the article. Nevertheless (there’s a word I used to use a lot in essays! I hardly get to use it anymore…) I think it was this article that started this habit of reflection while running.

I suppose the main reason I go running/jogging is because I enjoy it. I feel good when I run, and I feel good afterwards. I like that I just need to put my running shoes on, and I can run wherever I want to, for however long I can manage.

But there are plenty of other reasons, and I think they’re still valid reasons regardless of what anyone else says. Health and fitness is a big one. Believe it or not but, as a health professional, I am actually quite mindful of my own health and well-being. Kind of contradictory to that, I also like to eat a lot, so “guilt” is another reason why I run. Coincidentally, that was my primary reason for going for a run this afternoon. It works both ways though: sometimes I run because I’ve overeaten, and sometimes I run so that I can eat more later.

I also find running (or almost any exercise, really) to be, ironicly, quite energising. Of course, you’re probably thinking that this is just the post-run “high”, but I just find something quite exhilirating about being totally exhausted. The aforementioned “guilt” also applies to sloth-ful-ness (is that even a word? or close to a word?). I spent the whole morning and early afternoon lounging around, reading and watching YouTube, so I figured I owed it to myself to get outside.

Another reason, which I would assume is quite common, is de-stressing or “clearing one’s head”. Apart from reflecting on why I’m running, I actually don’t tend to think about a great deal while running. Sometimes I’ll have a song playing over and over again in my mind, and sometimes I’ll think about something that happened recently, but sometimes my mind is just blank. It feels quite meditative.

One final reason to run, which I have been advised of recently, is to cure a hangover. Just, umm.. you know, something to keep in mind in case you ever need it…