Who even am I?


A little dramatic, I’m sure, but as I found myself practically bed-bound this weekend, it brought home to me how much of my identity is wrapped up in movement. I take such delight in running to the top of a flight of stairs, jumping off a low wall, climbing the branch of that tree, just generally weaving and hopping my way through the day. Now that I can’t do such gallivanting, I realise it’s actually a big part of me. I like to get my heart rate pumping, be playful and give two fingers to being a ‘respectable lady’.

On Thursday’s run through the forest I took a badly-judged leap over a puddle and twisted my foot under me. I try not to be a drama queen, honestly I do, but this particular incident did see me on hands and knees, giving a few sharp yelps of pain with tears in my eyes. Tom carried me back to the car (Drama queen? Me?) whilst I inelegantly wielded a stick to encourage the mutt to follow.

Since then, I’ve tried to embrace my inner slob. The couch and I have become close friends, I’ve abandoned all housework and been binge-watching Girls (only a *little* late to the party on that one). Fine for a few days, especially when it’s rainy, but now the sun is shining and I want to be out in it, running around and filling up on fresh air. It makes me feel incredibly fortunate to be able to rely on my body most of the time. It’s easy to take for granted. I’m counting on my foot recovering in a few weeks (hear that Foot?) but for now, I’m just running vicariously and trying not to eat my bodyweight in M&Ms.

Tom and Bryony run

Why I Run

Several years after first donning trainers I’m finally happy to call myself a runner without giggling at the very thought. Sure, I could be faster, go farther and simply get out there more often, but I don’t feel such a fraud for trying. So, in the spirit of all the new year fitness talk out there, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite things about running.

It’s quick. You can be out of the house for under half an hour and still feel like you’ve achieved something great.

It kickstarts the day. Sitting down at my desk in the morning feels far better if I’ve already been out pounding pavements.

It’s outside. Fresh air beats the smell of stale gym sweat. The beauty of nature distracts from the exhaustion and when you’re really pooped you can stop to just soak it all in.

It’s an easy adventure. In these winter months, splashing through puddles and careering across soggy fields, you are guaranteed to return home covered in mud. So, even a short distance feels like an adventure. Sometimes I like stopping at the supermarket on my way home, just to revel in my muddiness amongst all the people in their bundled layers. What’s the fun in running if you can’t share it?!

It feels good. Humans can’t fly, but this is the next best thing.

With thanks, as always, to Tom for the photos.


Morning fog and wet feet – a weekend on Dartmoor

Closeup of flowers on top of a foggy moor

When Tom said that he’d like to run on the moors for his birthday I was happy to agree, whilst being certain it wasn’t my kind of choice for a weekend away. I imagined dragging my tired limbs and wet feet through boggy land, arguing with grumpy cattle and secretly dreaming of a spa weekend.

Rusty hopping across a collapsed bridge

Tom standing at a moorland gate

Whilst we may have had a run-in with a feral cow and certainly didn’t keep our feet dry, it was still seriously good times. It’s ridiculous how much I love getting tired, muddy and lost. I just sometimes need a kick up the ass (and some magic jelly beans) to remember that fact.

Morning fog in Dartmoor

Tom running in the fog

The wild runs up on the moor were tempered with some luxury accommodation (thank you Helene) and some delicious pub grub (with thanks to The Elephant’s Nest). We studied maps and had plenty of cake and champagne. Not that far removed from a spa weekend after all.

Tom at the pub

Rock Pooling

Rock hopping at Woody Bay, Isle of Wight

I love the runs that turn in to mini adventures, when we explore new places and I get an extra few moments to catch my breath. I swear we only went rock pooling because I was trying to postpone the inevitable steep climb back up to the cliff top above St Lawrence. The coastal path is a great route, barreling through tiny holloways beneath thick dark foliage and then out on to a high bluff, the path winding away down to the beach.

Tucked round the corner from St Catherine’s lighthouse is Woody Bay, a deserted stony beach. There’s a small cluster of old low houses above, with quirky homemade greenhouses and trampolines set in to the soft grass. Down below, the smooth stones are almost as inviting, settling in to a surprisingly accommodating shape for my tired body.


We lay on our backs and threw pebbles at targets, before jumping up to lob yet more stones and marvel at their bounce. We discovered a teeny tiny baby lobster and woke limpets from their rocky outcrops. I told Tom how we used to smash the limpets off the rocks for crab bait, which sounds shockingly cruel now! If I hadn’t holidayed with kids full of the best sort of wild, I might never have been so willing to wield a rock. A moment scrabbling around mid-run was a perfect little reminder of childhood summers.

Even after the beach break I didn’t manage to run up the full height of the cliff. We stopped for drinks at the village post office, then marvelled at a peacock family holding court on someone’s porch roof. There’s always something interesting to warrant a quick stop mid-run.

Looking down at shoes on the beach

Running in the Snow

Running in the snow above Midhurst

What better way to beat the January blues than run away for the weekend, on a last minute adventure to the not-too-distant South Downs. If we were sentimental about it, I could also say we were marking the fact we’ve been together fifteen years (sentimental? Me?!)

Heart in the snow

We woke up to the lightest dusting of snow in our little corner of Petworth and threw on our running gear to go in search of the highest point around. This is the first time I’ve ever run in the snow. It felt strange to head out in to the white stuff without multiple bulky woolly layers, but I’ve learnt that as long as your toes, fingers and ears are warm, the rest of you will cope just fine.

Rusty jumping in front of a snowy log pile

Tom running to the top of a snowy hill photo collage

After a couple hours exploring the high land (high by southern standards at least) we ambled back down to the now-muddy puddles and shrieked our way through icy streams on the trail back home.

We filled the rest of our weekend with hearty pub food, exploring old towns, and ambling at a delightful easy pace, bulky woolly layers firmly restored against those winter winds. A weekend away in January is a Prust tradition I’m very happy to uphold.

Tom standing in the road by a signpost

Dinner at the Unicorn Inn, Heyshott