February. The shortest month of the year which somehow manages to feel like the longest.
It’s also the final month of winter, and due to the numerous COVID-19 restrictions in place topped off by a much smaller and not so good Christmas, it goes without saying that it was tougher than usual this year.
However, for the first time in what feels like a very long time, there were plenty of positives that have me feeling incredibly optimistic about the weeks and months to come.
I’m sure readers of this blog are aware but in October I’m running my very first marathon when I take place in the London Marathon, raising money for the mental health charity Mind.
I was offered my marathon place towards the end of lockdown two back in November. Truth be told it came at a very good time for me. I was really beginning to feel the fatigue of lockdown.
I’m not sure if anyone else felt this way, but from my point of view it never really felt like there was a time where the first lockdown ended.
Obviously there were the big milestones such as sports returning and non-essential retail and hospitality reopening. But the entire situation with lockdown was so unforeseen before Italy, Spain and parts of China enforced it that even when restrictions were lifted it still felt like we were under some form of lockdown.
I felt like I’d just got into a routine of living with these restrictions and limited social interactions before they were taken away again in November. I was playing golf every Saturday, going to the gym three times a week and enjoying rule of six trips to the pub before the second lockdown.
In November I hit the wall, and it was because of this I would say lockdown two was the worst of the three.
That all changed when I got offered a place in the London Marathon and all of a sudden I had something to work for. I started off running three times a week again to get some form of fitness back, before starting a training plan in December.
With marathon training I had my external reason why, which took my mind off of all things COVID and lockdown… until the middle of February when a blanket of snow and ice hit large parts of the UK, including Essex.
I’d run 17.85 miles in February and was getting ready for a 16 mile long run when it started to snow. I decided to wait for it to stop before getting my exercise in but it carried on for most of the day so I had to cancel that run as well as all four for the following week.
During this time I began to feel the lockdown fatigue once again, similar to what I had in November, except this time it was considerably colder so even my walks weren’t much fun.
Over the course of my week off I read three books and watched The Dark Knight Trilogy with my newfound free time. And as is so often the case when it snows in the UK, it quickly disappeared and I ultimately finished February with 72 miles under my belt. And to no surprise, once I was able to start running and training for the marathon again, my lockdown fatigue began to fade.
Roadmap out of lockdown
When lockdown three was announced on January 4 there was one day I think the entire UK population was looking forward to – February 22.
February 22 was the day Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced what he described as an irreversible roadmap out of lockdown, and I for one was pleasantly surprised at how much detail it went into.
Obviously we all have to take it with a pinch of salt and I wrote a blog post last week about why I’m going to err on the side of caution with it, which you can read by clicking here. That said, due to the vaccine rollout in the UK which has seen over 20 million people receive their first dose, including my mum and some friends who are at risk or working on the front line, I truly believe this roadmap will run smoothly.
The roadmap combined with the vaccine rollout is the light at the end of the tunnel in my eyes. I’ve successfully coped with living by myself during lockdown for long enough to know I can handle the five week gap between phases of restrictions being lifted, starting with being able to play golf on March 29th.
Looking at my calendar the other day I was instantly drawn to June 26th, just five days after all remaining legal limits on social contact are removed, where I have tickets to see one of my favourite live bands – Green Day.
It will be my seventh Green Day concert and of course there is still a high chance it won’t go ahead but my word what a wonderful way to start life after lockdown.
It wasn’t the easiest month but it was head and shoulders above the 2020 instalment, which was one of the worst I have had in years. Mainly due to the cloud of uncertainty where no one really knew what was the right thing to do in regards to the growing concerns over COVID.
It was hard to ignore the fact it has been a year since the world began to shut down. March 1st, just two days ago, marks a year since I last went to a West Ham game, something that has been my biggest hobby for the past 18 years.
West Ham won 3-1 that day and immediately after I drove straight to Colchester General Hospital to meet my niece who turned one on February 28th, who, sadly because of COVID restrictions, I have only seen four times during the first year of her life.
But I can’t help either of those things. The 60,000 fans at London Stadium that day are in the same boat, as are the countless other sports fans up and down the country. And of course many families have been separated because of the restrictions.
It’s because I can’t do anything to change those situations that I’m not going to carry the emotions they fill me with into March and beyond. Instead I’m going to take each day as it comes, stick to my work and marathon training schedule and before I know it I’ll be standing above a golf tee about to duff a shot in my first round since late December.
2021 London Marathon
I’m running the 2021 London Marathon for Mind!
If you wish to donate or keep up to date with how my training and fundraising is going you can do so by following the links below.
Fundraising Page: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JordanCamp
My new Instagram page dedicated to my London Marathon journey: @26.2MilesForMind
Mind Website: https://www.mind.org.uk