Last time I tried to go running I only made it halfway up our (very short) street before turning back on myself, unreasonably anxious about what I looked like, how many people were out, the fact that I must be suddenly crap at “proper” running (not been outside running for months). I came home feeling upset with myself, useless, irritated at my lack of strength.
Another day I ran with my Dad, made it 5k and felt the mental negativity wearing me down to a point where I couldn’t even carry on running. I think he was disappointed and maybe a little frustrated but “they” are right: it is easy to underestimate the mental element to running- the mind can be a huge barrier to the body when it comes to endurance sports.
Running is important to me. When I moved back in with my parents in 2011, I was an absolute mess. I weighed around 45 kilo, had an undue terror of weighing more, was depressed etc etc etc. In a last ditch attempt to feel less rubbish about myself, I started going to the gym… and discovered that I really am quite fast. Finally I felt proud of something; I felt like I could eat again because my body wasn’t a complete source of shame and ugliness. I ran two half marathons, with good times in each. It gave me something to aim for, and the act of running made me feel more awake. It did really, really help.
When I moved to Canterbury I developed irrational fears of 1) Hills 2) Trees 3) Bumping into anyone I knew, ever. All of which Canterbury has in abundance. Then in February, post-hospitalisation, I started running again- at the gym. I’ve been training, exercising, trying to find that same space of self-acceptance and sometimes it’s worked. But I have a fear of not running, a fear of not being good enough and now a fear of going outside without adequate money for the gym. I need to get over and past this somehow because I need to stay physically healthy and more importantly, I need to feel comfortable in my skin.
And I intend to.