Dear Max and Rebecca
By now you might know me as a runner. Sometimes faster, sometimes slower, sometimes running more, sometimes running less.
I often tell people I run if it comes up in conversation, but last year I had a long’ish patch during which I couldn’t really call myself a runner, because, well, I wasn’t running much. I’d say something like: “I run, but I haven’t been running that much lately”. “Or, I’ve run Comrades before, but that was so long ago”.
It was getting harder and harder to properly define myself as a runner when my only real exercise was thumbing through Instagram, or walking to the canteen for more scones and cappuccinos.
I did a few sloooooooow races in the first half of last year, but I’m not sure I could count them on one hand. I went to gym so infrequently that in November, I realised I had to go to gym 27 more times in order to retain my membership through Discovery Vitality, without having to re-join and re-pay.
In October, I wanted to lose weight and be able to really call myself a runner again, and so I hit the road. Or more like a slow thump. I was scared and I’d lost all my confidence, and I pretty much went from running a glacial-paced 5km to a 21km race somewhere far far away in Pretoria.
As I always say, especially when it comes to running, that the only way out is through, and I had to work through the nerves, the fear, the leg jiggle, the zero confidence to get to that start, and see myself through to the finish.
I began to remember why getting up at 4am is difficult but so rewarding. I began to remember how good the leg pain after a race feels. I began to remember the challenge – physically and mentally – to get to the finish, to work through the “I can’t do this” and “I’m done” thoughts. I began to remember how incredible many runners are, and that the spirit I experience propels me, and is worth everything you put into on the road.
It’s been very tough getting back into things after being out for so long. My body doesn’t feel as strong, and it feels my mind has never been this weak. Many times I’ve said to people that I don’t have what it takes anymore, that I don’t have the head nor even the motivation for long-distance races.
But… I’m working through this and remembering that who I once was mentally as a runner is who I can be now (I hope? Even a little? I mean, I have Two Oceans coming up so I need to sort it out!).
It’s so good to be back, though I curse a lot and still doubt myself. And while the finish lines are often hazy at the start, I’m so grateful to have found my feet again.
Liked this post? Follow this blog to get more.