Today’s blog is a really personal article written by a fellow twitterer and runner – Jill, who’s fresh honesty really shines through in this. It’s often hard for so many of us to keep motivated, and when life throws significant challenges towards us then keeping up with running can be even harder.
Jill shows that this isn’t something that happens one day, but in fact it takes determination, determination to make the small, frequent changes that ultimately lead to bigger successes.
About 5 months ago my marriage fell apart. And not slowly. I left my home one morning thinking all was rosy in my world and by the time I had returned that evening, married life as I knew it had clattered around me like a badly built Ikea flat pack.
The why’s and the how’s aren’t really that important. We’re both at fault for falling into the life trap. Becoming complacent in the day to day, taking each other for granted and point scoring about who’s to blame for all things big and small rather than accepting our own portion of blame.
In the flight or fight responses, I have always been the former. Bullied at school, so I ran to uni in another city. Volitile relationship with Long-term boyfriend number 1 so I ran abroad and worked there for a while. In truth, I’ve ran to a lot of cities both in and out of the UK an only stopped when I met my husband and his ready made family.
And for the first time ever I didn’t need to run anymore. I got sucked into life. And that was ok. And then life started to get complicated.
They say you find out who your friends are when you’re at your lowest and it was whilst I was going through this tough time that I discovered some heartbreaking realities about mine.
People I thought I could trust with my life were suddenly chatting about me like my problems were simply gossip in a celebrity magazine.
It was quite simply, the worst experience of my life.
I didn’t know my friends. I didn’t know my husband. I didn’t know myself.
So I followed my own tradition and ran again. Just this time…literally.
I’ve always struggled with being me. I seem to have spent my life trying to fit in before realising late into my teens that people tended to like me more if I was just myself. But looking back, even then I’m not sure I knew who that was.
I talk a lot about fitness and what it has done for my confidence and mental strength but it’s not all true. Through infinite air I’ve met new people. People who are passionate about fitness. And with that came a whole host of worries.
I worry a lot.
I don’t just worry people won’t like me. I worry people hate me. I worry people think I’m annoying, ugly, a joke. And because fitness is all so new to me this has caused as many insecurities this year, as it has benefited them.
I worry people in Infinite Air classes would rather I wasn’t there. I worry Mr PT thinks I’m a joke. When he shouts encouragement at others in classes I spend days worrying why he didn’t encourage me -was it because he hates me or thinks I’m beyond help?
When I first started training with him, I was convinced he was going to tell me he didn’t want to train me anymore after every session. Every time he looked at me I was convinced he was thinking “not her again-why is she even here”.
I was the same when I joined twitter and started participating with UKrunchat. I used to think people thought I was a fraud. That my questions were stupid. Imagine them eye rolling the minute I joined in on a topic. I can get 10 lovely comments on social media status’ and 1 bad one and I will focus on that negative.
More and more I am hearing the term self love and nearly every blog or article I read around fitness and running centres as much, if not moreso, on the mental benefits than the physical. I have spoken to so many people in the UKrunchat community who have used running to battle and overcome depression that it seems the NHS should prescribe race entries as much as they do anti depressants.
That day, around about 5 months ago I discovered that I had a friend in fitness. Simply, it saved me. I have discussed this in a previous post without going into detail but that day I turned to Mr PT and I will be forever eternally grateful to him. Unless he reads this, as far as I am aware, he still has no idea what was going on in my life. He doesn’t ask and I don’t tell. And for all the worrying about him not liking me, the thing that worries me most is also my single most favourite thing about him. He doesn’t remotely care about my day-to-day outside my training. And by not asking and just making me physically work hard, every problem I have, every thought racing through my mind, leaves me. Just for 30 minutes. But it leaves. Running does the same just in a different way. When the wind is battering against your face, and your legs are pounding, it suddenly makes you see everything clearly. Gives you focus.
Running isn’t my hobby. Running isn’t about me getting skinny. I’m asked constantly why I run. Asked over and over about why I spend so much money on Mr PT. I do it because I’m lucky enough that I can. I do it because it relaxes me. But really I do it because it takes me away. Switches me off from life. And I do it, most importantly, because it gives me approval.
Those medals might just be a piece of metal to some. But to me, they’re a little shiny “you can achieve something if you put your mind to it”. It’s my bragging right. Mr PT has started telling me recently that there is “not much I can’t do”. 5 words. 5 words that do more for my self esteem than any winning lottery ticket could do. Because when he says it, in the same way as when people look at my medals or ask me when my next run is, i feel as though I am making people proud.
Geoff – If you’re struggling with a plateau in your running then have a look at my in depth article on how to tackle them here http://focusedperformance.co.uk/how-to-smash-through-a-running-plateau-4-effective-tips/
I’ve achieved. Because throughout the rest of life, I spend every goddam day trying to make sure I don’t let people down. I spend so much time trying not to be a failure that I think I counter-act it.
That day about 5 months ago, i felt I’d failed at life. And although 30 minutes PT and a few miles haven’t fixed it, they reminded me that if I put my mind to it that I could do anything.
It’s also equally important to point out I also discovered I have some pretty awesome people in my life who I’m not sure I’d have gotten through things otherwise. And some of my friends I thought were brilliant turned out to be just that.
It is also important to let you know that my marriage is still just that…a marriage. Mr Husband and I are working harder than we’ve ever worked in our lives to make sure of that. But in order to do that we’ve had to take long hard looks at ourselves. And that involves really not liking what you see. Something I’ve been running from for a long time.
Its easy to blame people. Its easy to blame life. Its easy to give up.
Fitness showed me that like life, the harder it is, the stronger you become. I need fitness in my life. I can’t do life without fitness.
Running for Infinite Air and The Children’s foundation is just another way of seeking approval. And a reminder that self-pity is pathetic. That there are a lot of people out their that need you to man up and do a good thing for them. Because warts and all, there are people out there that would give limbs for my life. And maybe i need to start being more grateful for it.
Its taken me a long time to write this post and before even attempting to share this with you, I made sure Mr Husband was comfortable with it, and he has been given a full preview of this post before I hit the “Publish” button.
Maybe you never really “find yourself”. Maybe I need to stop trying and actually just accept life as it comes. Maybe I’ll even start to enjoy myself more. What I do need to do, is accept I will never have all the answers. I’m grateful for all life lessons being thrown my way. I’m learning who will always be there for me and realising it’s ok that some won’t be. It doesn’t make them bad people. They’re just not the right people in my life. But for all those that have been there for me, I can only pray that I will get to return the favour and be the support to them that they have been to me…. and that includes running. Because every goody bag and medal is my way of saying to running…. thank you.
And to everyone reading this. To all those still in my life…. Thank you. All hugs virtual or real are always appreciated !