My heads all over the place at the moment, which is why I haven’t posted in a while. I’m finding it difficult to zero in on how I feel about my challenge coming to an end; truthfully, a lot of the time I’m sick of it and I just want it to all be over, which is a feeling I didn’t expect. It sort of feels like I’m about to finish a race; that part when your body knows it doesn’t have much distance left to run and so decides it probably needs to wind down and make everything twice as heavy so can, you know, really enjoy that last bit.
In relative terms I can kind of understand why my heads gone a bit at this stage, not that knowing that is making the experience any less unsatisfying. I don’t know. I guess I was just expecting a bit of a countdown buzz or something, not that I can remember ever having that before. It might just be because I have a cold at the moment. Or it might be that I’ve spent the past 7 weeks running to London from Edinburgh and I’m experiencing an exhaustion that’s far more intense than I’ve ever experienced before. Could well be that.
Time seems to slow down when my days are filled with purposeful goings on (moving, discovering new places, new people etc). As habitual as this life feels to me now, the daily process of connecting with people through social media, crashing in spare rooms or sofas and getting snapshot glimpses into the lives of strangers, is a pretty precarious way to live, on paper. Most people I talk to about it can’t understand how such an erratic lifestyle can be good for me. This is why it is though: I feel like I sometimes tap into a better, more relaxed, more focussed version of myself when I meet people for the first time; I’m always excited to establish a new connection and finding out who these people are and what they’re all about. For some reason, interactions that lack that initial spark have a tendency to make me incredibly self aware and introverted, like my manner is somehow ruining this persons day, and that often develops into me questioning my substance as a human being (yes, I’m fully aware of how ******** that sounds).
In some ways I think familiar surroundings restore familiar feelings. If I’ve been in a certain place or around certain people long enough for them to become commonplace, chances are I associate that place or person with feeling low. And that’s got nothing to do with individual people or places, it’s just how it goes sometimes; even my oldest and most durable relationships feel fragile. I think, in all, the familiarity of the south east has led to a partial disconnect from the adventure, and the bleakness I associate with this part of the country (purely through remembering how ill I was 2 years ago) counts a lot for me feeling a little dispirited right now. As many great memories as I have of Essex and London, it’ll always be where I broke down.
For now, however, I’m a week away from completing this thing! And in an attempt to give myself a much needed lift as I approach the end, I’ve decided I need to make this final push feel like a challenge in itself. Tomorrow morning I’ll get to Winchester; the start of the South Downs Way. I WAS going to run the trail as far as Lewes and then cut down to Brighton, but after studying a map of the trail a few days ago I thought I should probably just do the whole thing and then cut back from Eastbourne. So I’m gonna do that; 100 miles in 5 days along one of England’s most picturesque trails. Bring it.