Tag Archives: runners

Get Over It

“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.”

042812101008_edit0Oh, 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.

mebrrrAnd 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!  racecollage4And 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.  ME2And 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

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Community

community

Com·mu·ni·ty \kə-ˈmyü-nət-ē\:  a unified body of individuals
–         Merriam Webster Dictionary

The more I get into running, the more I realize what a community we runners really are.  And these last few weeks have driven that point home for me more than ever before.

First of all, of course, there was the Boston marathon bombing.  Have any of us ever seen such an outpouring of love and respect among our fellow runners?  So many runners donned their printed out “bibs” in honor of Boston and logged mile after mile in honor of all who were affected.  Each and every one of us knew how easily it could have been us.  I have never witnessed the Boston marathon, but I did travel with a group of friends to watch the Wineglass Marathon in New York last year.  The place I was camped out to get pictures of my friends as they finished, was exactly the spot where the bombs went off in Boston.  It easily could have been me.  Or someone I love.  And every runner feels the same.  We are empathetic towards our fellow runners and their families because it hits so close to home.  We don’t know what to do to help, so we run.  We run in honor and respect for the members of our community, whether we “know” them or not.  They are our family.

And on that same note, I have made a few dear friends through running whom I have yet to even lay eyes on.

When I first started running a little over a year ago, I used the Couch to 5K Running plan to get started.  I then “liked” the Facebook page of the same name so I could watch other people through their struggles and successes to know that I was not alone.  Before long, I began posting as well, sharing my own stories and milestones.  It quickly became my primary source for motivation and inspiration and is, without a doubt, the reason I stuck to the plan and was successful.  On this site, I interacted with many people, but a few in particular stood out.  One of whom is my friend, Connie.  Connie was a non-runner who was determined to run a 5K for her 60th birthday.  I was inspired by her story, so I followed her closely and soon began to chat back and forth since we were at the same point in the plan.  We “graduated” almost simultaneously, together with our other e-friend Kristen, and have since all remained close friends and fellow runners.  We are even making plans to all meet in Rhode Island to run a 5K together in the fall.  (Kristen is from Massachusetts, Connie from Rhode Island, and I am from Virginia).

Yesterday, I went to my mailbox and found this:

shirt

A gift from Connie.  A running t-shirt that says “EyeBeeLeaf.”  The note says:

“We believe anything is possible.
  We work hard to achieve our goals.
  Here’s a gift from Connie to wear when you run.
  Eye Bee Leaf.”

How amazing is it that this friend, whom I have never even met, cares enough about me and about running in general to so generously reach out and provide support to another runner?  This truly is a community.  A family.  And it was no coincidence that this shirt arrived just a few days before my first half marathon that is coming up on Saturday.  As my friend Connie likes to say, “It’s Kismet!”

I so can’t wait to meet my friends in person in September!

And while we’re on the subject, check out this message I received on my last blog entry about my fear of this upcoming half marathon:

“Good luck! From Melbourne, Australia!
I just wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying your writing. I found you when I was searching running blogs as I’m a new runner myself and totally obsessed. You write so evocatively and thoughtfully, and I often find myself smiling or nodding along to your musings! Best of luck with your half, you’ll smash it!
Warm regards, Zoë “

Wow.  Just wow. 🙂  All the way across the world, in Australia, is another member of my “community.”  And I didn’t even know about her until today.

I also received this message from my local friend Shannon this morning with regard to this half marathon:

“There will be a great adrenalin rush in the beginning, but remember to pace yourself and run your race.
There will be people who pass you and you’ll feel you are not doing good enough, but pace yourself and run your race.
You will worry that you won’t be able to finish at some point, but just keep going at your pace and run YOUR race.
There will come a time when you will think “I got this!”  But still pace yourself…and run your race!
It’s a lot like life.”

I hope she doesn’t mind my sharing her poetic words.  They were too good to keep to myself.

So, see what I mean?  We are such a caring community of runners.  Such a family of like-minded individuals from all over, who all know what it is like to change our life one footstep at a time.  I’m so honored and humbled to be a part of such an amazing group of people.

I am a runner.

***

“Running is not, as it so often seems, only about what you did in your last race or about how many miles you ran last week.  It is, in a much more important way, about community, about appreciating all the miles run by other runners, too.”  
– Richard O’Brien