Owner of The Running Inn, Eastbourne
Fiona followed a BA (hons) degree in Politics with a post-grad diploma and 12 year career in journalism, where she specialised in health and fitness writing and compiling workouts. She’s been a deputy editor and has written for national newspapers, websites, books and magazines, and has contributed to various TV and radio shows as a fitness specialist. With Mike Ovens, she is the co owner and director of the Running Inn in Eastbourne, specialising in running and fitness breaks.
Fiona was recently appointed editor of Running Free magazine.
A blank page day
21 June 09
Julia’s theme this month is ‘process’... The process of filling a blank page on a daily basis. I like the task of filling blank pages. I love to write and I love to run. A blank page gives me something to worry about – and gets me up in the morning! As a journalist, it was my job, day in, day out to fill blank pages. A blank page can cause panic, and historically, the closer the deadline, the better I am at filling the page. The harder it was to do, the more I’ve thrived on it. (I say historically, it’s 5am now – the day of Julia’s deadline – and I’m off to Ascot for the day. I’ve got less than 50 minutes)...
I also love to run. I’m currently running with Julia, training for the Nice Marathon, where I plan to run the best time of my life – my deadline November. I fill my blank page with miles, and more miles – every week I’m running more than I’ve EVER run before (I started running when I was 34). I’m also in the process of taking our business, the Running Inn, into an exciting new phase, shedding it of it’s former home, the Guesthouse East, and so the process of writing a new five year business plan begins – another page to fill. At the same time, as we sell our guesthouse, the pages fill with itineraries, lists for the solicitor, and completion dates and deadlines. And, I’m listing what we want from our next home…
I live to write and I live to run. It’s the process of doing, of compiling lists, of setting deadlines, of pushing forward boundaries that excites me. And with all of these processes, I like many others, adopt a pattern, a way of doing things. For me it’s push, push, push… Work hard, keep filling the pages, completing lists, setting deadlines (often impossible deadlines)...But it’s through the arena of running, running 70 miles a week, that I learn what works, and what doesn’t work – and really move on.
Yesterday morning was my 11th day of running in a row, and in those 11 days I’ve clocked up 117 miles. As Julia and I ran up another hill on our glorious South Downs (not so glorious midway up the hill). I said out loud – push, come on push. My body was tired. I hadn’t noticed it. But it was at this point that I had to stop, not push. Fortunately, for me, I had Julia next to me. ‘Let’s walk,’ she said.
It was what I needed. It didn’t have to be hard! At that moment I didn’t need to push on to pain. Yesterday’s run, was just one page of many that needed to be written in order for me to run 26.2 miles in under three hours. This marathon is a long process, a calm process. It requires patience, it can’t always be exciting – last minute training won’t do it! And I’ve still got four and a half months to go. Stopping on that hill, meant the process can continue, injury free. When I got home I was glad I had stopped. My body was tired. I was running 30 seconds a mile slower and my heart was working 15 beats a mile harder – warning signs I’d ignored when I tried to push on up the hill.
But holding back, moved me forward. Stopping. Staring at my blank page – and leaving it blank, not filling it with painful running that could end in disaster.
Today’s a rest day – no pen to paper, no laces to tie, no lists to write. A blank page day! And I can’t wait.