Running, or any kind of exercise has never come easy for me. I have the sloth gene, and the couch is such an inviting place. But after a few false starts, I have begun to love it, not only for the activity itself but for the community and friends that I’ve found through it. Who’d have thought a solo activity like running would bring you closer to people?! Because this month’s theme is Love Your Life, I thought I’d share my story with you.
When I started running a couple of years back, I ran for about 8 weeks. I started out puffing my way through 1min run/1min walk repeated 10 times to running 5km 3 times a week. I signed up for a race and thought I’d be a runner for life. But the race wasn’t fun and I took some well meaning but harsh comments to heart (as I’ve been known to do), and it was easy to give up. So I did.
I started again in May last year, just something to get me out in the fresh air and not thinking about all that was on my mind after my unexpected return to Australia. I ran solo and kept it to myself, bar a few instagram shots of my shoes post run. I was scared to share my times with anyone. All the running sites seemed to say that I was too slow. I got up to 8km and I shared it with a group of people and another flippant remark about it being nothing and the couch became my friend again. Not my finest moment, but winter set in and with it, the excuses.
Skip forward to October. I joined an online running/moving group called Operation Move. A group of people from all of Australia, all at different levels of fitness and all at different speeds. I sheepishly shared that I’d run my first 3.6km in 4 months, and held my breath. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Not only are they my own little cheer squad, they have become my friends. They hold me to account when my sloth gene kicks in and we all share our triumphs from running our first unbroken 1km to those who are training for marathons.
A part of me said I’d never run another race again after that first one. Dramatic much?! But Operation Move have egged me on and I’m now signed up for not 1 but 2 races before the end of May. We have team sign ups for both races and I know they will either be running beside me (or slightly in front of me, because I’m still slow) or will be there at the finish line cheering me through.
This time I made the decision that it’s not about times or being the best, it’s about getting the fresh air into my lungs and reminding myself that I can do some crazy things when I set my mind to it. Sometimes it’s about thinking and sometimes it’s just remembering to breathe and how to run up the sneaky hill that doesn’t look that steep but sure feels it. It’s teaching me to love the sunrise on these hot summer mornings and maybe one day I will have stuck with it so long that I can call myself a runner for life.
I love that you don’t have to be fast or even have been good at sports as a child. I love that it’s just about lacing up my shoes and getting an hour with my favourite running songs in my ears and my legs pushing me along, one foot in front of the other. Thank you to the lovely ladies in operation move that keep me going when days get tough, and laugh off the crap runs with me in the evenings.
Do you have a sport or activity that you’ve come to love? Is it running or something else? I’d love to hear!
P.S. I’m the welcomer (I think I made that word up) for new movers over at the Operation Move forums. If you’re looking to start some moving (of any kind) do come say hi! x