In three days’ time I’m leaving you (for the third time) to go run the Comrades. I’ve written a lot about running to you – how hard, rewarding, life-changing and painful it’s been for me.
It’s my 10th time making this journey and I hope to see that finish line in time and in tact. This year has been challenging physically and mentally, and I’ve had obstacles in trying to get over myself, my injuries and a waning interest in doing the long-distance thing.
Last week I met a guy I last saw when I was at school (trust me – a long time ago) and his jaw dropped when he heard I was running the big C. See, I was a bit wayward at school and I know I’ve written about being overweight, bunking PT, not being driven, and lacking in good self esteem. And as many people do, I changed, and almost rewired my brain/motivation/confidence, thanks to some positive influences, a great therapist and the intention to just do better in life.
And each kilometre I ever run, I think of that smoking teenager, and how full of angst and confusion she was. And I think of how I rewrote my script, and guided my own way despite having lacked guides in my own life for a large part. And I’m pretty proud, and while I’m not the first or last person to ever do anything cool or beyond expectations, I still smile every time I do something that I could never at one point conceive of.
Many people at Comrades share this story, and many in life do too. It’s proof that you can and need to be your own best cheerleader, compass, guide and coach, while taking as much help as possible from the outside.
While I run on Sunday, I will think of you, of the distance I’ve travelled, and of the people who helped me get there. And I’ll remember those who couldn’t be there, those whose legacies live on in that long 89km stretch, and to my gran, who believed in me before I ever knew what I could do.
I’ll see you when I’m back. And while my legs will be sore and I won’t be able to run around much, my arms will be so strong for hugs, lifts and throws.
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