I’m not much into sport. I admire sporty people who can throw and catch balls, use a tennis racket, cricket bat, or such hitty type implement. I am in awe of people who can throw themselves over high-jumps, hurdle, throw javelins and shot-puts. I greatly admire gymnasts, so strong and graceful! As for anyone who can play a team sport and know what they should be doing and where they should be on the field? They are very clever.
But I’m unsporty. In school the only thing I was remotely good at was swimming. I was good at freestyle and backstroke and usually represented my school in the state swimming events in a relay. But I still don’t think of myself as sporty because of that. Swimming was fun, not a passion that I took seriously. I got in the squad because I loved to swim and turned up for the training (it was more about the pool and swimming than racing). I was usually in the relay team or a reserve for the team.
Athletic carnivals were something to dread. They were all about being the fastest. The best. Getting a ribbon or a trophy. Being selected for the team. PE generally was something I dreaded. Again it was about being the best, being chosen – it was for special elite types of which I wasn’t one. I was never remotely the best and I was never chosen.
Sport was something that others were good at, but not me. Sport and me just didn’t gel.
I took these feelings about sport with me from school days into adult life. While Australia is a sporty nation I didn’t fit the typical Australian profile of a sporty person – player or spectator. My experiences at school taught me that I wasn’t good enough, so as soon as I could I got as far away from any sort of sport (including running) as I could.
For anyone who has read my earlier posts they know that three stars lined up for me to become a runner:
- I married a man who loves to run and he thought it would be good if I went with him to running events with the Launceston Running Club and wait for him in the car (I hate waiting in cars!).
- I bought a Wii Fit and had a little go at jogging with the Miis and thought it was quite fun (shock!).
- I participated in the Global Corporate Challenge and realised that running clocked up more steps.
These stars along with a lot of encouragement from Pauly and the determination not to be that wife who waits in the car all lead me to becoming a runner.
My childhood experiences of sport as negative have been totally blown out of the water by my adult experiences of running. Whereas in the past sport was about being the best, fastest, winning trophies and being chosen, now all this negative stuff has been completely back-flipped to being one of the most positive experiences I’ve ever had.
My sport, running, is all about being positive.
It’s about participation.
It’s about having a go.
It’s about encouraging each other.
It’s about Personal Bests.
It’s not about competing or being better than anyone else.
There is one person and one person alone who I compete with and that is the small voice in my head that suggests I can’t. And you know what? That little voice is very quiet these days. I truly thank two of my running buddies for running beside me and suggesting that I can go a bit faster and harder and they are Louise and Janette. Janette has given up many a parkrun to run with me and help me through and Louise runs with me each week helping me to push out just a little bit more. We truly are capable of so much more than what we think. I am so lucky to be surrounded by running angels who always encourage and lift me up.
Finally joining the Launceston Running Club (and not waiting in the car but actually as a runner) has been such an eye opener. This group of runners though fit, fast and totally fabulous have room for anyone who wants to run. And indeed the Club is made up of runners of all paces and abilities. Their handicapped system means that every runner, regardless of pace can have a chance to WIN! And those backmarkers who start ages after the clock starts, clap and cheer and congratulate the slower ones no matter what results the handicap produces. They are so inclusive I am blown away! Who would have thought back in high school that this Unsporty Woman would one day join a wonderful running club like this?
And to my beautiful blogging friend the Hysterical Runner whose blog I just ADORE, yes you are right I am athletic, sporty and a very fast runner in the most unsportiest of ways. If you haven’t visited this lovely lady’s blog please do. She runs in the purest of ways – for distance and to feel alive, no races or bling, just for the love of running. But one day she might try an event you just never know (that mountain is calling you). There you go, Dear Hysterical Runner, I’ve admitted in writing that I am athletic and sporty hehe.
Guess what? This Sporty-Unsporty Woman came first today in the Launceston Running Club’s Georgetown 10km handicapped race.
I held a number one finishing token in my hand. Can you believe that???
Unsporty-athletic women can run!
Happy running 🙂
PS my experience of sport I freely acknowledge was partly due to my lack of self-confidence, how those PE teachers coped with me I do not know!
PPS there is a write up about the race today on the Launceston Running Club’s website 🙂 The finish is described as a ‘sprint’ between a very fast awesome runner and me – me sprinting…gosh!