No Run Is a Bad Run

Today I am blogging about my running. Yes I run. I run to lose weight and to keep mentally and emotionally balanced. I run in the foothills of Jamaica’s Blue Mountain & John Crow Mountains National Park. Nothing beats rising at dawn and running up and down these mountains slopes, as I did for this morning’s 8 km.

First run of 2021

That’s the ideal situation. The fact is, between October to December I ran a grand total of 6 km (and that was on Tuesday). This is a substantial decline compared to May to September, when I ran over 330 km. The highpoint was the seven weeks in May/June when I ran a total of 167 km after I got the all-clear from my cardiologist (that’s another story).

Why the decline? As we all know, 2020 was a very unsettling year. Running helped me to face the challenges, and when I was running I was coping. I was on top of my teaching and my PhD research. I was a happier, less stressed person.

Then September came with a spike in the COVID-19 numbers in Jamaica. This resulted in all classes being taught online, and paused my PhD research. I had to readjust and figure out how to teach four different photography courses online, which left no time for research. I found myself in a vicious cycle. I was too mentally and physically exhausted to run, but because I was not running I remained mentally and physically exhausted. And of course, I gained all of the weight that I lost in summer.

Fast forward to the Christmas break. Thank God I have been able to get some rest, and I have run twice this week. My times are down from my peak of last year, but I’m glad that I’m back at it. After all, based on what I intend to achieve in 2021, running is an integral part of my physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Who knows, I might continue to share my progress – watch this space.

Photography Biathlon

“What’s a Photography Biathlon?”, you might ask. That is a very good question, and if you had asked me that yesterday I wouldn’t have a clue.

However, during this morning’s run it came to me. For some time I’ve been wanting to post a blog entry about my morning runs in the hills above Kingston, which are the gateway to the Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park. Of course, any blog post that I do requires photos, but I don’t like to mix my running with my photography – I feel that one distracts from the other. Since today was my long run and I had my Samsung J5 with me anyway (using my Runtastic app), I decided to – as the company from Beaverton says – Just Do It.

Mountain view during the first kilometre

My run this morning was a 10K run – 5K uphill and 5K down.  The steepest stretch is the 1st kilometre, and this tends to be my slowest pace and so this is when I started shooting. Now, I tend to muse while I run so later on in the run I thought to myself “here I am, running and shooting, like I’m doing some kind of photography biathlon”. Eureka!! Then the next thought was, “another challenge for my photography students”. (I’m not sure how they’d take to the idea).

Roadside flora

Sunrise through the trees

As I ran (and shot), I began to formulate the criteria. Firstly, it won’t work for distances less than 10K, because the runner needs to have put in the distance and/or the pace at the end of the day. Secondly, you are to average 1 photo per kilometre, and finally, the runner decides when during the run they shoot. Today I shot during the uphill 5K, so that my downhill run would be uninterrupted (although I was distracted by the goats in the final kilometre). The winner would be the person with a combination of the best photos (taken during the shoot – no editing) and the best time.

So, any takers for a Photography Biathlon?   

Another mountain view.