Sometimes when I sit down to write a blog post I have a really clear idea of what I want to say, the way I want to structure my writing and what I hope to achieve by the end of it.
This is not one of those times. But, I’ve already procrastinated over this post for a week and it’s pouring with rain today so it seems like the right moment to sit down, and just hope that the words will come once I start.
I’ve given this post the title ‘Becoming’ and, whilst I want to talk about becoming a runner, it’s actually about becoming me. About becoming the person I am meant to be. If you’re also on a journey, I hope there’s something in here that will inspire you to be able to do the same.
I regularly share transformation photographs on social media… transformation Tuesday, throwback Thursday and so on. Sometimes I post a photograph from 2015 or earlier alongside a recent picture, or I might post two running photographs to illustrate the progress I’ve made.
Yes I’m proud. I have worked so hard. I will never claim that it’s easy to change your lifestyle or to lose weight but I will always, always tell people that it’s worth it. I share transformation photographs to demonstrate what’s possible if you’re prepared to work hard and be consistent, and, if you follow me on social media you’ll know that I often say “if I can, anyone can”.
Now perhaps I don’t mean that literally. I’m well aware that not everybody can run and, when I say it, it is absolutely not my intention to make anyone feel anything but inspired. I mean that if I can wake up one day and make a conscious decision to change my life and set a positive example to my girls, then ANYONE can.
You don’t have to run. And if you do run, you don’t have to be concerned about pace or progress. You need to choose your own method, choose your own vehicle for your journey. The only changes worth making are those which are sustainable – find something that you enjoy and which works for you.
If you have read my earliest blog posts you’ll know that I’m not exaggerating when I say that running didn’t come naturally to me. I had hated it my entire life thanks to some pretty horrible experiences at school. But, I am incredibly stubborn and, three years ago, I decided that I was going to slay those demons and run. I had no idea whether I’d be happy once I could run a couple of miles or whether I’d want to do more – I only knew that I was 34 and I couldn’t walk the 400 metres to school without feeling out of breath… and that terrified me.
There wasn’t some special day or time on my journey where I ‘became a runner’. It wasn’t the day I finally ran 5k without stopping. It wasn’t the day I got my sub-30 parkrun. It wasn’t the day I got the sub-2 hour half marathon that I desperately wanted.
I was a runner from the moment I put my trainers on and mindfully set off for my first run. I didn’t go very far before I had to walk and, when I did run, it was very slowly… but, I was running and I was making a conscious effort to improve. I was a runner.
I’m a few years into my journey now… and I’m still not entirely sure what the destination is. I only know that I’m very very happy on the ride and that I’m learning so much from it. The fact that I’m able to help and inspire other people still blows my mind a little, but it makes me the happiest I’ve ever been.
I posted this transformation photo on my social media this morning. This is an extract from the post…
“You’d think looking at these photos that the most dramatic transformation is the physical one and I acknowledge that I do look very different.
The real transformation is this… physically the person on the right takes up less space in the room. But, in every other way… that woman in the sparkly jumpsuit is much bigger than the woman on the left.
Yes I’m slimmer. But far far more importantly, I’m happier. I’m much much braver. Louder. Brighter. Less willing to blend quietly into the background. More stubborn. More driven. And absolutely determined to help as many people as I can make the same transformation in their life.”
Please enjoy your journey. Please don’t question yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t interpret what is meant to be encouragement as criticism. Yes a faster runner will talk about “easy pace” and the speed that they refer to may be the pace that you dream of hitting on race day. But they don’t post their times to make you feel sad or discouraged. They are on their own journey.
You do you. And don’t be afraid to live your life loudly… you are not too much.