I used to want to run. That sounds funny saying now that I do run. Now that I am a runner. When I was a teenager I wanted to run but I didn’t know how, and that’s something I suspect a lot of wanna-be runners face. It seems simple: if you want to run, then you just go and run. I tried, and failed. And tried, and failed. And eventually I gave up.
I even married a runner, who suggested I try the C25K program, and I tried that too. But, I didn’t want to go out on my own, and the program was too simple for him, and took too much time away from his marathon training and so I gave up.
It wasn’t as though I didn’t want to finish, but I wasn’t motivated enough to be a runner. In fact, it wasn’t until after I had my child, when I was deep into body-loathing and had a strong need for time on my own that I decided to try again. And it was wonderful, and liberating, and I wasn’t embarrassed like I’d been the first time. In part that was because I’d just had a baby and I had a bit of a ‘fuck you if you judge me for run-walking’ attitude. I have never, ever done anything better for myself than that C25K program. It is the single best choice I have ever made in my life.
For a while, I did feel self-concious running. I didn’t feel great about the way that I looked, and I jiggled a bit too much. But, my desire to run (or, in those days, to walk and run) was more powerful than that feeling.
Tonight, about halfway though my 11km run, I realised that now I feel the best about myself when I’m running. I probably look terrible. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I do. I think I’m the kind of runner that instantly looks like they’ve run 15km – dishevelled, sweaty, hair everywhere. But, damn I feel sexy. It’s weird. I feel strong. I feel a wonderful sense of amazement at this wonderful, liberating, freeing thing that my body can do. I feel as though I can achieve anything.
And that feeling continues. I think back over some of the runs I’ve done: long runs, PBs, really hard runs that I struggled though, landmark runs. And, I feel awed by the power that my body has.
I used to want to run. Now, I am a runner.