“It is never too late to become what you might have been.” ~George Eliot
This isn’t the original post I was going to write today. It was actually going to be quite different. To make a long story short it was going to be about how I failed at running yet again. I went for a run last night and only managed to make it a mile before I had to quit. My knee was killing me. I was mad and angry, not only at myself for not being able to complete what I set out to do, but also at running in general. I never had plantar fasciitis until I started running. I never had hip pain before I started running. Now that I have finally gotten those under control and have very little pain, my knee is starting to hurt. I mean, really, you’ve got to be kidding me. I though eventually this was supposed to get easier. I thought eventually it wasn’t going to hurt. I was about to give up. And I mean really give up. Top that off with the fact that the damn scale did not move AGAIN and I was in a pretty aggravated and annoyed mood.
I woke up this morning with a slight “bad mood” hangover. It was lingering there and I was trying to not let it affect me. The kids actually let me sleep until 6:15 (shocking!) and then I hit the gym. I wasn’t feeling much better as I headed up to Monkton to cheer on a friend who was running the NCR Trail Marathon. I was still feeling sorry for myself when the first runner began to cross where I was at mile marker 5. And you know what? He was blind! He was running with someone else who, I’m guessing, was guiding him when he needed it, but was also holding a cane, just in case. I was floored and amazed. It took all my willpower not to run him down and shake his hand.
It wasn’t so much that I was impressed that he was running and he was blind. I mean, yes, I was, but your eyes really have nothing to do with the muscles that run your body so they don’t directly affect your ability to run. What I was impressed with was that he was running, when so many people probably told him it was something he couldn’t or shouldn’t do. He didn’t care what others had to say. He was going to do what he wanted to anyway, people be damned.
I think that is really one of the key reasons I haven’t really “accomplished” much as a runner. I still have this deep rooted fear that people are judging me and thinking things like: “how are you a runner?” or “you’re not really a runner unless you can run ____ distance in _____ amount of time” or better yet “You still have to walk some of your 5K? How does that make you a runner?” I get turned off and scared thinking that people are always watching me when in reality they really don’t give a crap.
The fear of judgment leads to the other reason I’m not really getting anywhere as a runner. I have no consistency in my runs. I do it one day, and then skip a bunch, or do it three days in a row and take the next week off. Some days it’s one mile, some days it’s three. I’m letting my mood affect how and when I run and if I really want to be a “runner” I’m going to have to power through the too tired and too annoyed days as well. That’s why I’m doing this “Running Streak” from Runner’s World. It will make me run every day. Sometimes it will only be a mile, some days it will be more. But the bottom line is, I have to do it no matter what.
I need to get over the labels. I need to get over the need for others approval of my running, or how I look when running, or how far or fast I run. Why do I feel like I have to be good? I don’t. Odds are I’m never going to be a great runner. Odds are I’m never going to complete a marathon. I’m slow, I have bad feet (flat feet, and bunions, and plantar fasciitis, oh my!). I’m still pretty heavy (which doesn’t help the other two.) But I like it, it makes me feel good afterwards, and that’s all that matter; how I feel about myself and about my running.
So, as much as I didn’t really want to, as much as my knee hurt, I laced up the running shoes, threw on the head phones and ran out the door at 6:30 pm tonight. It was cold and my mile was super slow. But I did it and I’m glad I did. I won’t ever regret making the run, though I know I will regret missing one.
I sang quietly to myself as I ran through the pain. If you think about it, that’s how this all began, running through the pain of not liking myself very much. Running through the pain of bad decisions. Running through the pain of needing more out of my life. Running through the pain of needing to feel something, anything.
That’s how this all began but that’s not how it will end.