I’ve been flirting with running off and on for a couple of years and every time my pre-programming, the one that started when I was growing up and it was uncool to be sporty, talks me back into the idea that running’s just not my thing. In my mind I am a runner. I am completely in love with the idea. My body just doesn’t let me follow through on that vision.
But recently I’ve been getting messages, well examples, of people who are like me and have moved past the programming. First it was my friend from high school. We used to be in the “alternative group” at school which meant that we were not jocks or cheerleaders or in any way associated with exercise or bodily self-improvement. We made art. We weren’t so shallow as to worry about outward appearance (Yeah, right.). Gym class was uncool and, quite frankly, a nightmare. When I found out that my friend had been running it was almost like everything I’d ever known had changed. Some things you just assume will always be the same, right? Right. But I think this kind of shocker starts to set in once your friends all start to reach a certain age (not you, of course, just your friends). You start to realise that you can’t drink 6 pints of beer and then dance it off in some sticky-floored club as long as the evening is punctuated by a dodgy kebab at 3am. If you’d told me this in my 20s I would have walked away from you, you mad person, you. And, it seems, my high-school friend thought the same. She asks, poetically, if “a bear is chasing” her. Why else would anyone run? Why else indeed. And since there are no bears in Auckland, save for a couple in the zoo, problem solved. Stay away from the zoo and there is no need to exert oneself.
Oh, but wait. Yet another of the diehard, formerly leisurely people has fallen. Sally over at Unbrave Girl goes and does a freaking run on the Great Wall of China. “Show off”, I say, “She was probably one of those track meet geeks at school”. Well, slap my face and call me a throbbing shin splint…she wasn’t. She informed me in a Facebook “conversation” that she was never into it at all. She’d hit that point in life that my friend had and just felt the call. I mentioned my flirtation with the idea of running and that I had even downloaded a Sofa-5k running programme, you know, just because I like charts, and she said, “Yes, do it! I know someone who’s done that and it was successful.”. Dammit.
About the writing thing…although I’d been writing for years, I’d never planned to actually show any of it to anyone until one person mentioned to me that I could maybe get some of it out there. Hmmm, I said. I don’t know about that.
“But I’m not a writer so how could I do that?”
“You just hit send”
I had to tell myself to stop messing about and recognise who I wanted to be, who I was. So, I called myself a writer and just kept writing. And people actually wanted to read some of it. And they still do, it seems. Weird. Problem solved!
So, now I’ve applied the same logic. No second guessing. No wishy washy “well maybe I’ll try it for a bit”. I’m a runner. I’ve bought the running tights.
P.S. I’m two weeks in and I have been out in all manner of crappy Auckland winter weather save one day that was a cyclone. I know. I won’t let it happen again.