Why did I think running might be a good idea?
Where do I even start to answer this question? There are so many reasons why I thought running might be a good idea, each with their own story to tell. All of which will appear as a thread in other blog posts given time I’m sure.
I suppose the idea of taking on a challenge this year (albeit I didn’t know it was going to be running at the time) came to me over 18 months ago. I was inspired by a friend of mine who was in the midst of undertaking a year of fundraising in celebration of her Dad’s life. Her courage and determination struck a true chord with me. It planted an idea in my head, and that’s where it stayed for a while.
This year I turned 40, and I don’t feel too shabby for it either. I’ve never had an issue about age, although I can’t say I’m thrilled about having more grey hairs. I didn’t want a big party to celebrate. Instead a holiday away with my family was just perfect.
For me though it was never about turning 40 that felt different about this year over any other birthday. This year meant I had lived 20 years with, and 20 years without having my big sister. She lived her short life without limitations, and always embraced a challenge. So I knew that when 2017 rolled round I wanted to commemorate this. I wanted to celebrate and honour her life, step up and have the courage to take on a challenge of my own.
I didn’t have to look far before an opportunity crossed my path. Scrolling through Facebook earlier in the year, I saw an advert for the new improved half marathon in my town. At this point I should make it very clear I was not out pounding the streets and running on a regular basis. I am no athlete. I was not running at all, I had barely mastered a few yoga moves. But I was beginning to feel fitter and stronger as a direct result of yoga. More importantly though, it was the date of the event that was so significant for me, it was my big sisters birthday. That was it, I signed up!
I am out there pounding the pavements, and clocking up the miles very slowly, so that I can get to the start line later this year.
It’s turned out that running was a good choice, who knew? I’m not a gym lover, nor am I bothered about getting in the car to drive to the place where I am going to exercise. So the freedom of being able to get my trainers on, do the school run, then see where the road takes me is definitely more me. I run on my own, and I love it. I know it’s not for everyone, but I like the solitude. It’s just me running, thinking about everything and nothing. Embracing the elements, and feeling totally free. Free of responsibilities, free of decisions, and free of any sense of time.
I have run before, but it was over 15 years ago at a military training base, a very different experience altogether, believe me. Running now is on my terms, and I am the one in charge.
Running has taught me that nobody can motivate you more than you, and when you begin to enjoy it, that seed of motivation grows. Having support from those who completely believe in you, and know your true greatness is invaluable, accept it graciously. And when you’ve totally aced it, don’t forget to reward yourself!
So, this challenge is still ongoing, and I’ve yet to reach my goal. I’m only half way, but determined as ever. It’s certainly been cathartic. In the beginning I cried at the end of runs, both in sheer joy that I’d made it round, and in sorrow, realising why and who I started running for in the first place.
I might occasionally have a tear in my eye at the end of a long run now, but it’s with great delight as I take a step closer to going the distance. My feelings of sorrow have slowly ebbed away. Running has afforded me the head space to do this and to let go.
Although the loss of someone so special is unthinkable, I no longer feel uneasy with the void that it has created. It isn’t a void now, but a space filled with memories and light. I now run in happiness and honour of the life and times we shared together.
So, what’s coming next? Investing time to run has shown me a great deal about how investing time in yourself can have such a positive impact on your life and those around you, more about this to follow soon.