My number has arrived. 7492 to be precise. I am near the bottom of a long list of women who are running a race on Sunday June 5th in Glasgow and I’ll be the first to say I’m not a natural runner. I’ve trained for one 10k and one half marathon in my life so this will be the third official race that I have taken part in, and in those years I’ve struggled painfully with every sweaty inch, foot and mile I have covered in my cheap running gear and worn-out gutties. But when those glistening, svelte athletes protest that ‘running is all in the mind’ I actually agree with them. I have never had an easy mile without mentally having to convince myself that it was the case.
In the beginning I repeated phrases in my head such as This is so hard!, Why am I doing this? and Is it over yet?. Over time I realised I had to retrain my brain into say other more helpful phrases. Some people like to visualise themselves crossing the finish line, or grasping onto their gold medal. I have uttered a variety of sentences which were never pre-empted, but merely stumbled upon through hours and hours of having conversations with myself whilst out putting one foot in front of the other. The most important thing for me to remember currently is that I am choosing to run. I am not being forced to run to lose weight or hit a specific time. I am choosing to run because I enjoy the process (in small amounts), and because I can. I am blessed with the ability to run so why shouldn’t I just for the hell of it? I’m not running for speed.
In fact, for the first time I am moving at a pace which suits me and is honestly bang in my comfort zone. I’m not pushing myself to my limits. I’m not out to win prizes or impress anyone. I’m running for enjoyment goddammit and I want to be able to relax, breathe and take in the fucking scenery for once.
It’s not going to get any worse than this. That’s my current mantra. If you’re a runner maybe you’ll understand, that once you’ve got the first mile under your belt you’ve warmed up, set your own pace and if you hold it steady there it’s probably not going to get any worse.Unless you shit yourself of course.