Monday, 15 December 2014

Running in London

Freelance living can seem like an adventure, but it can be a constant dripping tap of worry - one that never closes to allow a moment's peace. Thoughts of money, sickness, and the future are all more acute with the instability self-employment brings.

These worries niggle during work and during play, often transforming into fear in the night time, when the mind should be sleeping, but can't stop spinning for the panic woven ideas.

For a freelancer, stress relief is paramount, particularly in a city. Intense noise and congestion compound worry, reducing headspace to almost zero.

In London, I run often.

Running is the quickest, easiest route to freedom. The alerts, vibrations, phone calls, and emails are all silenced. The squeal of breaks, endless announcements, and claustrophobic invasion of personal space, all left behind.

What remains is a silence broken only by the sound of feet on the pavement, echoing through the unending variation and unrestrained inspiration that the streets of Central London offer.

The calves begin their gentle burn as the river comes into view. To the West the banks run to Chelsea; to the East, South Bank and the City beyond; the North, Hyde Park and the cluttered narrows streets of the West End.

One favoured route takes in the white stucco of Pimlico, the sweeping curves of Belgravia, the dark curled wire of Buckingham Palace, the pink of the Mall, before skirting the edge of Trafalgar Square, under the shadow of the Elizabeth Tower, back over the river for the last leg home.

Another route follows the river. Embankment, St Paul's, the footbridge shining blue, weaving through the iconic architecture of South Bank, before that final empty stretch to Vauxhall and beyond.

Better than any gym, better than any class, a perfect distraction from the humming screens and the stagnant air found in-doors. Unable to work, the mind empties, the body relaxes. Beneath those giant structures, one tiny pinpoint in a city of millions carrying an Oyster Card and a single pound coin, problems gain perspective and dwindle to nothing. It's a fresh start, every time, clearing the space needed to sit back down and start all over again.

(All pictures taken by me - available on Instagram)

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