Waldeinsamkeit: (noun. [German]) – the feeling of being engulfed by nature or alone in the woods


Running in the woods is my favourite escape from reality. You’re never truly alone in nature. There’s always a robin keeping an eye or a squirrel playing chicken. Having always been an outside-lover, my go-to place for stress relief is the woods…

We all know my talent for smashing bike helmets after run-ins with tree-roots, but on foot I’m marginally more stable.

Crunching over hardcore is tough on the ankles, tarmac is brutal on the knees, but peat forrest floors make a perfectly bouncy surface for my wobbly legs.

Being in The Woods brings perspective for me. Though ever-changing, they are a constant. A symbol of solidity when everything else changes so quickly. The same trees that I ran past on Cross-Country PE runs in school. (I say “ran”, I mean sauntered, with my mates, sharing a cheeky marlboro light out of sight of the teacher…) The same burns, rivers and Loch. And at this time of year, Crocuses, Daffs and Snowdrops litter the floor.

…. I feel like Alan Titchmarsh.

This need for clarity and peace has come about because I’ve been a bit (lot) stressed lately. Work, Car, Bike build, Work, Car, training, ad infinitum. It’s been tough and getting out has been hampered by persistent niggles that don’t seem to want to abate. Happily, I have been released (again) by PhysioDan who has, despite a wobbly knee, decided he’s happy for me to train on it as long as I promise to ice and stretch and not do too much too soon. Again.

This week’s training was hampered from the outset due to an almost fatal bout of Hangover on Sunday. A night out so heavy that I thought at 12pm on Sunday I’d almost definitely never be sober again… Lesson learned. Gin and Jaegerbombs do. not. mix.

During a particularly insomnia ridden night this week, I stumbled upon a Buzzfeed article about words that other languages have to describe things that we don’t have words for in English. Or something that makes more sense than that previous sentence. Anyway. One stood out above all the others for me. “Waldeinsamkeit”. German. So best shouted and not said as romantically as the definition suggests you should say it: the feeling of being alone in the woods. Or engulfed by nature.

I love this. It gives a name to the feeling that I have but can never describe. The feeling of being alone, but not really being alone.

Right about now is my very favourite time of the year to be outside. Still freezing in the morning but everything is about to burst into life and look alive again. It’s this feeling that I have a whole summer of training to be excited about that is keeping me focused.

Lighter evenings mean I can escape the Turbo Trainer and staring at a drying rack and venture outside again. (I have QOM’s to retain, thank you!) Lighter mornings make the prospect of getting up at 5am to run slightly less horrifying. Warmer days mean I can get the pasty legs oot and start working on my Lycra Tan.

I also have mouthfuls of midges to look forward to. And getting more acquainted with road biking. Essentially just me, clipped to a bike, trying not to die by being run over, constantly screaming inside my head.

I have open water swimming to get excited about. A swim in a freezing Scottish Loch before breakfast ought to provide a decent enough wake-up call.

I have many many miles of running to look forward to, hopefully. These, of course, will be done slowly.

For now, the miles increase slowly. And intensity too. My strength training is proving very useful and I’ve already seen marked improvement in my abilities there and also my endurance capabilities in the pool from all my upper-body work.

The alarming Injury Fear I’ve developed can, I think, be honed into something akin to being “Sensible”. I am not sure exactly what “sensible” means but I *think* it’s something to do with not being broken… either that or it’s some kind of French seafood dish.

Who knows?

Anyway. Fingers crossed I stay injury free!

Sat 21 March

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