Running….

It’s taught me many lessons…. It’s been my greatest struggle and my greatest encouragement, it’s become my passion… it’s my “me” time. But it’s hard, not just physically but it can be emotionally very hard too.

When I’ve had a shitty day, even when I really don’t feel like it and I’m emotionally spent and tired, the best gift I can give myself is to drag my ass into my running kit, lace up my purple running shoes and go pound the pavements.

It’s great thinking time. It works off my stress and often helps me put things into perspective. There is something to be said for huffing and puffing and running and sweating and hurting and thinking… it just does wonders for the soul.

Yesterday I was reminded of that.

It’s no secret I’ve been battling with running motivation this winter. So full of excuses… It’s too cold, it’s too dark blah blah bull shit!

But earlier this week I decided to enter a half marathon at the end of August as a sure fire way to kick my butt into gear and get my running mojo back, how do I know this? Because I never want to go through the pain and the tears of my first ever half marathon, last year when I ran the Soweto. It’s a great deterrent for me. Want to run a half marathon? Be prepared. Train hard. Put in the work otherwise you will spend every second of every 21km of your race regretting your decision to not give it your all.

But then my running buddy messaged me about not being able to make our regular running dates, she needed to increase her pace & needed to change our running schedule, but I interpreted the message in a way that really hurt my feelings, I mean hurt my feelings till they welled in my eyes and rolled down my cheeks, kind of hurt. I felt like crap. I was reminded of what a slow and rather useless runner I am. I felt like shit. I felt embarrassed. But most of all, I felt hurt. And I wanted right then and there to chuck it all in. To take my gaudy purple running shoes and throw them in the trash. I wanted to just give up.

Listen, I’m under no false illusions here. I’m never going to be a champion runner. I’m never going to be fast. I’m always going to do a walk/run/shuffle. I’m always going to huff and puff and be all red faced during a run. I’m never going to win a race.

And I was all like f*ck it! I quit!

Then I had a really stressful day at the office yesterday, I’m talking stomach eating stuff and I knew the only way I’d be able to settle down when I got home from work was if I went for a run, so I begrudgingly put on my stupid, destined for the trash, purple running shoes and off I went. And you know what? It was fabulous! Not only did it work off the pent up stress of my day, it also helped me work through some of the hurt and emotions of the night before and it gave me a fresh perspective.

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Right there, while I was run/walk/shuffling up the hills in my area, huffing, puffing and sweating away, while I watched my times and tried my very best to give it my all and to try and increase my pace, it hit me. I am slow, but that’s ok. I’m doing it! And I run because I love it. I run for pleasure. Not to be the fastest. But not all runners have the same priority as me. For some, it is about being better, being faster each time. And that’s ok. We all have different goals, different agendas. And I need to make peace with that. I need to embrace my goals, I need to embrace my little snail paced shuffle/run/walk and just bloody well enjoy it because it is still a privilege to be able to run. Because a year and a half ago, I was 118kg’s of obesity and I couldn’t even walk down the road without getting out of breath, never mind contemplate running my 4th half marathon.

So I’ll always finish last… or at the back of the pack… so what? The important thing is that I’m doing it!