The canvas at the beginning of my running story was blanker than blank. Whiter than white. It contained nothing. Nada, zero, zip. My running story started completely from scratch. I’d never done any running not even at school; I avoided running in any circumstance – it was something I just didn’t do EVER!
But today that canvas is colourful and bold. Bright with a colour palate as varied and mixed as my favourite out-there running clothes. It’s a happy canvas filled with wonderful events and mile stones; with stories of great runs and goals achieved, lots and lots of average runs and quite a few terrible runs too. Together these stories fill the canvas, making it burst and dazzle with life, light and brightness.
Today I consider myself to be a successful runner. Yes, totally successful! Is this because I am a faster runner who qualifies for big events on time? No way. I’m not and never will be able to achieve such wonderful heights. I am in awe of the work that those who do must put in to reach this wonderful goal. I’m not speedy. I’m a 5:12:00 marathon finisher. Actually in the scheme of things I’m just average to slow. But I still think of myself as a successful runner.
What does running success look like to this Unsporty Woman? I’m glad you asked! It looks like this…
If at the end of a run I can say I did my best then that equals success to me. If on the day I did my best despite the week at work, the perhaps not so good diet, the lack of sleep or perhaps the stress hanging over my head, then yes! If on the day despite all the circumstances I did THE best run possible then that, in my book, is a successful run.
I was hopeless at school sport – any sport pretty much. I was chosen last for teams, I couldn’t hit, catch, kick or throw any sort of ball in the right direction and as for catching? What a total embarrassment. Miss Uncoordinated! I quickly learnt that to save my damaged self-esteem it was better not to try.
Enter running at the youthful age of 44 years. It was all about trying to do better than the day before. I will run to the hay barn (200m from the house). I will get to the silo (400m from the house). I will get to the dairy cattle stop/grid (600m from the house). I will make it ALL THE WAY to the letter box (1.2kms from the house). It was about conquering that which I thought I couldn’t do.
Successful runner. Yes, that’s me! I have transformed myself from non-runner to runner.
This is the 300th post of Unsporty Women Can Run. And us unsporty types can indeed run. So many of us can tell a similar story. So many of us started with a blank canvas but now it’s filled with the beautiful colours of running successes. If your canvas only has a few splashes of colour on it with many parts still to fill, please don’t give up. If I can do this running thing then absolutely anyone can. Truly if I was to enter a time machine and go back and take my finishers medals to show my PE teachers I know they would be wordless with disbelief. Not because they thought I couldn’t do it, but because I’m sure they thought I’d never want to or have the guts to try.
What’s a 300th post without a dedication?
I can tell you how I started with running in the early days and how my husband Pauly was there every running step of the way. He encouraged and believed even when I’d get to that dam silo for the umteeth time and have to walk because I was so out of breath. Every time he would have the right things to say. AND the next day I’d try again.
If you look closely at my canvas you will see the theme of friendship painted, daubed and brushed EVERYWHERE. Where Pauly started, my running friends have more than added to. They believe in me, encourage me and truly without them my running canvas would not be as beautiful as is. Because yes, this running canvas is a priceless work of art – at least to me it is.
This post is dedicated to the beautiful sole sisters I have made in running. I cannot believe that my speedy sole sisters are prepared to run so slowly with me. Their kindness has meant that I have learnt to run a bit faster. This has built my endurance and in so doing increased my confidence. These sole sisters of mine celebrate every success, every good run, every finished run. They genuinely get joy from another’s success. They console when things don’t go so well and always manage to make me see a positive in a not so good run.
My lovely sole sisters this post is for you! I wouldn’t be the happy, confident runner that I am today without you!
Happy running 🙂
PS Actually this is the 302nd post of Unsporty Women Can Run. I wrote this last weekend but needed to sit on it for some reason. Today there was a bit of role reversal and I helped one of my speedy sole sisters to go a little faster after coming back from injury. Who would have thought that I would ever do that? And perhaps I’m not as slow as I think I am. 25:36 and in the 65.37% for women aged 50 to 54 (still off my PB of 25:20 but getting closer). And I’m coming 16th out of 99 women in my age group at my local parkrun. Why am I all of a sudden running a bit faster? Because my speedy sole sisters encourage me and pull me along and refuse to hear me say I can’t. They only listen to I will try! If I can do all this ANYONE can!!!!