The Life Enthusiast Chronicles with Roy

Life is just one of those things we don’t notice sometimes, right? We’re moving along, full speed, and it often passes us by. But the little moments, not the  accomplishments or milestones we reach, are often where the best of life resides. These moments are small, so you have to look hard. But when you catch them, it’s simply awesome.

Last month Letizia from Reading Interrupted stopped us in our busy tracks when she beautifully spoke of something we all genuinely love…books. In my new series, The Life Enthusiast Chronicles, incredible humans from all over the world discuss what makes them tick.

Today I’m stoked to welcome Roy from Back on the Rock, a long-time blogger/author buddy of mine all the way in Jersey (the Channel Islands, not the Jersey Shore).  Roy is just a good dude with heart, and his writing never fails to be insightful.  The way he often shares the magnificence of his home through history, community, and physicality always makes me stop to appreciate the little place I’m lucky to live in. To encourage us to pause and reflect on our surroundings is a very lovely thing. And in my eyes, that makes Roy a bona fide life enthusiast.

Connect with Roy at Back on the Rock on Twitter.

Take it away, Roy…

jersey sun

How can I do Britt’s excellent blog justice? I don’t want to lose her all of her followers! I didn’t realise what a responsibility it can be to guest on someone else’s page. Britt herself has a great joie de vivre and she expresses this not only through her accomplished writing but by living life through her love of physical movement – dance, yoga etc.

Rather later in life I found that the simplest physical activity of all, running, revitalised me as I was about to drift into a lazy, inactive middle age. Sure, I had played team sports all my life – lots of endeavour and limited success. But the time came where I gave up active participation in favour of administration and coaching. And starting to coach young athletes I found myself sadly lacking in physical fitness. I wanted to set an example.

jersey church

I began to run for fitness. I struggled for weeks to make any progress. It hurt, I hated it, I was about to give up. One evening I drove to the seafront and determined on making one last effort to run 30 minutes non-stop.  I’d managed only 20 minutes up until then. I told myself that the only way I’d do this was to slow down, to go ridiculously slow. And so I did. 76 minutes later I was euphoric, still going, prepared to run for ever that evening. I had to force myself to stop and go home.

Ten years later I’m still running. In the intervening years I’ve completed two marathons and any number of half-marathons, 10ks and other races. I’ve loved the training, the hardship of putting in the miles, seeing my physical fitness improve, times come down.

But more than this, running has done wonders for my well-being in other ways. Britt and many of her followers will be familiar with the benefits of meditation. Out there, pounding out the miles, one’s mind runs free. On the lanes, trails, cliff-paths you get into a rhythm, the rhythm of life. You observe the work of Nature and how she changes week by week. You notice little things, interesting old buildings perhaps, remnants of long-gone railway tracks.

As you run a long road your mind clears, everything falls into place. At least twice during long runs the solutions to seemingly intractable problems have come to me unbidden. I am a better-balanced person than I ever would have been without running.

jersey sea

But now, inevitably, my fitness and times have fallen off a cliff. Age and a fondness for craft beers have caught up. No more marathons for me. But now I am finding equal, perhaps greater pleasure in introducing other adults to running. Maybe first-timers, others returning to fitness after raising a family, those that have tried running before and have fallen by the wayside.

Because I now know some, at least, of the answers. The ‘f’(ast) and ‘s’(peed) words are banned until completion of the beginners’ course. We have a chat and a bit of a laugh. Running ought not to be hard work in the beginning.

And maybe one day some, at least, will go on to experience the very good things that happen to you when you’re a runner.

35 thoughts on “The Life Enthusiast Chronicles with Roy

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    Thanks to uncooperative knee cartilage, I can’t run much anymore, but fitness is still an important part of my life. I remember a few years back when I was on the beach in Maine. I went for a jog thinking I’d only do three miles or so. But I kept going, and going, and going. No way could I have done that on a treadmill, but the beach was so inspiring.

    • Roy McCarthy says:

      Carrie I wish we could wrap up those ‘perfect’ runs. They happen rarely and we’re always waiting for them to come around. In the meantime we make do with ordinary, hard-work running which leaves you ‘smoked’ (if I’ve used Britt’s pronoun correctly!) 🙂

  2. Roy McCarthy says:

    Reblogged this on Back On The Rock and commented:
    I’m honoured to to have been chosen as guest blogger on the fabulous Britt Skrabanek’s blog. Please pop over to follow her life-affirming entries and consider picking up her two 5-star novels at Amazon UK.

  3. Letizia says:

    I love that your running journey started with you running ridiculously slow. It’s all about finding the right pace at the right time and adjusting throughout. A good metaphor for life. Wonderful piece, Roy.

  4. 4amWriter says:

    I am envious of anyone who can run, and enjoy it. I have bad knees, so it’s not a good choice for me. But, when I was younger I used to love running (out in the open, not on a treadmill — they’re dangerous!), because I never had such a rush of adrenaline. I always felt awesome.

    I really love how you found your joy for running, it’s really a wonderful story of perseverence, determination, and motivation. Great post!

    • Roy McCarthy says:

      Thanks so much 4am, sorry for late reply. I wonder what your treadmill story is? Mine was being hurled off the back of one I was unused to in a hotel gym once – it was set so fast it must have thought Gebrselassie was on board 🙂

  5. diannegray says:

    Awww – Britt, you and Roy on the same post? This is like Christmas for me! I love you both 😀

    I walk a lot now, Roy (only running sometimes when one of my dogs gets out of control and takes off after a snake or something equally as hideous). I used to run a lot when I got angry or frustrated and it really helps with clearing the mind 😉

  6. Sheila says:

    Very inspiring! I keep thinking I’d like to start running more routinely but then it’s one of those things I don’t get around to doing very often. I like the idea of starting ridiculously slow. 🙂 Enjoying the scenery while running is a nice bonus too.

    • Roy McCarthy says:

      Hi Sheila, best to find a like-minded friend or a group. Even I find it harder these days just to set foot outside the door – but if I know there are others waiting then I’ll be there.

  7. Browsing the Atlas says:

    Roy, you *almost* make me want to run. But I find the same meditative peace from walking, so I think I’ll stick with that. My husband is a runner and it seems so much more expensive, grueling, and physically dangerous (knee and muscles injuries).

    • Roy McCarthy says:

      Your husband is a typical male competitive animal Juliann – he’d have been great at catching game and bringing it back to the cave. Me, not so much. Walking is a great substitute.

  8. Janna G. Noelle says:

    Roy, you are right: running is meditative. I’m not one for sitting meditations, but like you, I can feel the cobwebs clearing from my mind while running. I also find a lot of inspiration for my writing that way!

    • Roy McCarthy says:

      Hi Janna. Yes the trick is to clear the mind, look about you, find the rhythm, then ‘pop’, so often the ideas just happen. Takes a bit of practice though, just like meditation.

    • Roy McCarthy says:

      Hello Andrea and sorry for slow reply. Yes, anything like that to clear the mind, switch onto nature – the weather, birds, hedgerows, clouds – or even onto past times – who lived in that old ruin? Why does this track seem to go nowhere? Then you can switch back in to the realities of life refreshed.

  9. Life of the struggler says:

    For me running has always been a great way to relax and to control my anger, Much like anger management therapy. But lately i am in a state of of dilemma. After going through the post, i wish to running as soon as possible.
    One of the finest post i have encountered…..
    Thanks for sharing

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