“Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.”
– Norman Vincent Peale
So, for the past few days I have been sitting here wondering what my next blog topic would be. My last blog about my dad was pretty heartfelt and emotional, and I wasn’t quite sure how to follow up after that. How do you switch gears after writing about something so personal and moving? How was I going to find something else to rival that kind of emotional response to spur me to spill my guts in another blog entry?
And then, (grrrrrrrrr) I saw THIS. An article called “Ok, You’re a Runner. Get Over It.”
And I got PISSED.
(Should’ve known it wouldn’t take long to get my blood pumping over something again…)
I can’t even believe I’m lowering myself to post a link to this nonsense, but I didn’t know how else to comment about it without allowing you to take a look for yourself. In case you don’t want to take the time to read through all the B.S. (for which I don’t blame you one bit and wish I had been smart enough to do the same), let me give you a basic rundown on what Mr. Jerk Face was saying in his rant. (That is, if I am allowed to use the word rundown. Because, ya know, it might look like I’m broadcasting that I’m a runner. And we can’t have that, right, Mr. Jerk Face?)
So, Jerk Face (who has a name, but I don’t care what it is) says, among a bunch of other crap, that runners only run “to be seen.” Or, in his words:
“There is no more visible form of strenuous exercise than running. When runners are dashing down a street in the middle of town or through a subdivision, they know that every driver, every pedestrian, every leaf-raker and every person idly staring out a window can see them. These days, people want more than ever to be seen.”
Oh, dear God, Jerk Face, do you have any idea how wrong you are? One of the sole reasons I remained a non-runner for as long as I did (aside from being lazy) is that I did not want to be seen. It was such a struggle to don those running shorts and t-shirts and go out on public roads and plop my flab up and down for all the world to see. And I don’t think I’m alone in saying that. So many of us want to become healthier, but we are embarrassed by how we look in the process. We see those runner magazines with the tiny little girls with the six-packs stretching their tan legs out as they glide effortlessly across some trail…but what we don’t see is the majority of us who are the ones holding these magazines and poring over these articles and debating whether to get up the courage to take those first steps out the door. We are the 30-something year-old moms with the stretch marks and love handles squeezing over the top of our spandex. We are the real women, the imperfect women, who want anything but to be seen. We are the out of shape, somewhat chubby runners who try to hide in the back of the pack at our first 5k race and pray that our sports bra is tight enough to not cause an embarrassing scene as we waddle down the course.
And then, ever so slightly, over time, we become the slightly less lumpy, slightly more energized, slightly more confident women who can now run three miles without stopping. And then, before you know it, we’re the woman who hesitantly clicks the button to sign up for her first half marathon, wondering what on earth she has just done. And then we become the woman who pours her heart and soul and dedication into pushing and pushing and pushing until she can run 4 miles without stopping. And then 5. And then 6, 7, 8…. And with each mile, our pride edges up ever so slightly and little by little we start to realize that we are capable of so much more than we ever thought possible.
And then…we become the woman who has mastered her first half marathon. Who has put all of her energy into succeeding at something she never thought possible. We become the woman who purchases her first little oval “13.1” sticker and, with a tear in her eye, places it right there on the back of her car to remind her that she did it. She did it! And she wants all of the other women out there passing by in their cars to look at that little oval, and then see the normal, every day, non-magazine model driving the car that proudly sports said bumper sticker and see that she looks just like them. And she wants them to think, “Hey. If she can do that, maybe I can too.” And before long, we become the women that have inspired others to go out there and get some of this beautiful thing called self-confidence. This beautiful gift of knowing what it feels like to be proud of yourself. This beautiful gift of coming out of hiding and showing the world that we are survivors and can do anything we put our minds to.
So, Mr. Jerk Face, to sum it all up – I salute you. Thank you for writing this article.
Yep, that’s right. I said, thank you.
Thank you for reminding me that I have a passion. Because some days I forget. Some days when I feel tired, or slow, or lazy, I forget that I’m a runner. And then I see something like what you just wrote…and the intense pride for who I am and what I do swells up inside of me and pushes me forward. Your article makes me feel more motivated than ever to go tie up my shoelaces and earn more and more of those little stickers to plaster all over the back of my car. Because you know why? Not because I’m a bragger. Not because I’m mean or spiteful. But because I have succeeded. I have overcome much more than little puny articles like yours that have tried to stand in my way. I am a two-time cancer survivor. I am a divorce survivor. I am a single mom. And I am a RUNNER.
And you can bet your sweet ass that I am proud of that fact. Finally.
And you know what you can do?
Get over it.
“Press on. Obstacles are seldom the same size tomorrow as they are today.”
– Robert H. Schuller