It’s taken a while for me to get around to this post, because I wanted to be sure that it would stay true. I realised today that there is no way of knowing whether it will stay true and maybe this is all the more reason to write it now, while it is.
I know I’ve written a lot about what running means to me, but let’s recap. I moved home from Edinburgh, extremely thin, in 2012. I started running in an effort to lose even more weight, and in doing so became quite good at running. Because I wanted to continue to be good at running, I allowed myself to eat again. I became extremely fast. I ran some races. I did some Parkruns. I started to feel good about myself. My body, a longstanding enemy of mine, was becoming my friend.
I broke my ankle in 2014. To be truthful, I was already falling out of love with running at that point, thanks to other stressors and symptoms of what I was going through. But the knowledge that I potentially wouldn’t be able to run was upsetting, and as I went through my physio I did the occasional jog when I was allowed.
Forward again to 2015. Maureen bought me my first running watch, and I completed my third and fourth half marathons. The times I got for these were not super speedy and to be fair, I didn’t train enough to earn super speed. But I completed them. I was proud but I was also disappointed in myself, because I knew that choices I had made had had a huge impact on my running speed and I felt I had let myself down. In some ways I found myself disheartened. Slowly, I more or less stopped running again.
Until now. I joined Run Dem Crew earlier this year. We run once a week to various points of interest within London, and the point of each run is the atmosphere and community, as much as the running. It has a good energy. Since I started, despite no longer being the fastest, despite negative thoughts I have about my body, my love for running has been sparked up again.
I never thought running in a group would work for me… I was very much a one woman operation. Now I realise that the nights I go out with a group- Tuesdays and Thursdays- are nights I do not miss, because even if only one person notices, that’s one person more than just myself.
There are much faster people than me but when they tell me how fast they are, although I can certainly be happy for them and impressed, I am trying not to compare myself so much to them. And more importantly for me- I am trying not to compare myself to myself anymore. That’s where all the self doubt comes in. Now is not the time for that.
I’ve set myself a target. I am reluctant to put it out there , but maybe I procrastinate because I am giving myself the option of backing out. So before I can do so, here it is:
I want to run the Hackney Half AND I want to be happy just for finishing it. To do both of those things will be equally difficult.
I am dedicated to this target.