A running injury this week has slowed me down and given me time to reflect. Was the injury just bad luck and an inevitable result of heavy training or do I just feel lucky that I generally have the health and freedom to get outside at all? We can’t control everything that goes on in our lives but I do think the choices we make influence our luck.
What is luck?
When I was seven years old I had meningitis and came pretty close to death. Lying in a coma in a Spanish hospital I was totally unaware but my poor parents certainly won’t have felt I was lucky. But I was because I’m still here. I was lucky because as I fell into that coma the Spanish doctor my parents rushed me to recognised how serious things were and instructed my parents “Hospital, rapido. Tranquilo. Rapido”. Basically, stay calm but hurry.
My luck held when said hospital knew what my symptoms meant and treated me for meningitis immediately. And I really felt lucky when I was told my sister wasn’t allowed to visit me in hospital! Although by the end of the stay I even missed her. I didn’t feel so lucky when I discovered the only toys in the playroom were plasticine and empty syringes – there are only so many nurses you can shoot with plasticine pellets fired from a syringe – or when I discovered the pain of a spinal tap.
But, other than a few minor lasting niggles I got off very lightly. Was I unlucky to get ill? Maybe but I was incredibly lucky to survive and every day since then has surely been a bonus day.
What about our choices?
I didn’t get to make choices at that point, others had to make them for me. But as we get older we take more knocks, whether they are physical or emotional and each time we can choose how they influence our life.
Not running makes me feel grumpy at the best of times. A lack of my usual dose of endorphins (or happy dolphins as my friend Karen likes to call them!) means I wake on edge and have to work harder at a cheery exterior. Not being able to run when I am training to run across Iceland is a double blow. I had to make a choice; go into full on grump mode or do things that make me happy.
On Monday a long walk and a meal with one good friend put a smile on my face. On Wednesday a beautiful sunset cycle with another friend did the same and I repeated that on Thursday. But the weekend was looming and those long run hours needed filling. As I strolled with Brew on Friday morning a thought popped into my head. A photograph of my old horse, Dusty, had resurfaced that morning. Horses are my first and deepest love but somehow I had gone almost four years without sitting on one. It was time to make a choice. A quick phone call and I was booked on a hack in the forest for 10.15 the next morning and now I was excited for the weekend!
Choosing my luck
Once that call was made the choices were out of my hands again. I had chosen a stables which I knew to have good horses (for good read fast) but I could have still ended up on a steady plodder or on a ride with people who wanted a gentle stroll. Here again, my luck was in. When Aussie was led out to me I knew we would get on. A bay thoroughbred, standing at around 16hh, he was a handsome chap. Then the two other ladies on my ride, Sophia and Rachael, arrived and we knew it was going to be a good one.
Everything just clicked. The sun came out and the woods were glorious. Our guide noted that we were all speed demons and took us to as many places to canter as we could. On one long stretch Rachael asked “Do we have to stick to canter or can we go faster?” our guide had barely finished replying with “As long as you stop at the end” before we were off. The very first time we leaned forward and shifted up the gears a huge smile spread across my face. Here it was; that fluid speed and thundering happiness which only comes from sitting on a galloping horse. The three thoroughbreds loved it too, racing each other along the sandy tracks.
Our hour flew by and after swapping numbers and pictures with Sophia and Rachael I drove home still grinning. The smell of warm horse and leather filling the car. I know it won’t be long before I’m back flying through the woods again.
I’m on the middle horse in this clip. Thanks go to Sophia for filming.
Bring yourself positivity
Sometimes we choose to stay at home and mope. We let the bad things like illness and injury become our focus. Sometimes we choose to stay longer in an unhappy job or relationship than we should. At times we choose to do things which will bring us fleeting happiness but long term struggles. We all do all of those things at some point and we’re all allowed a little whinge when we feel life is being unkind.
Long-term however, we can make choices to change our happiness. We can’t control all that life will throw at us but I truly believe our positive choices bring us luck.
Today I am injured and can’t run. Today I galloped a horse through the woods. How lucky am I?!?!
Never Miss An Adventure!