As much as I still love a good run, I haven’t exactly been a super-committed runner in a while now. These days, I’m doing a couple 5ks a week but I haven’t tackled more than 10k for a really long time. I’m slower and I feel a lack of drive. I’m running for exercise, but I don’t mind taking walk breaks and I hardly feel like pushing myself. But I miss being a 10k-a-day kinda girl! So, I’ve been soul searching to try and get to the bottom of it.
I try and remember what motivated me a few years ago when I was so friggin gung-ho. Why did I start running in the first place? What did running mean to me? What were my motivators? What pushed me out the door early on Saturday mornings to go run 20k? If I’m honest with myself, I think my driving force back then was to overcome a lack of self-esteem.When I started running it was my path to self-improvement. Deep down I wasn’t a confident person and I felt that if I was at least a decent runner, then I would earn people’s respect. If I pushed myself through race training and across a finish line as fast as I could, then I could prove that I was good enough. But over time, and several thousand miles in the last eight years, I eventually found a lot of inner strength, I grew as a person and I’ve pulled on that strength many times to overcome obstacles and achieve other goals.
These days I feel like I have nothing left to prove. I like who I’ve grown up to be. I’m confident. I’m content with who I am. I still have goals, yes, but I am also very proud of my accomplishments off the trail as well. I have new, grown-up ways to measure my self-worth. I’m not running from my problems, and I don’t NEED to run fast to feel good about myself. There are many other feathers in my hat these days besides a decent marathon time.
So thank-you running, for pushing me when I needed it. Thank-you for getting a fire going inside me when I was a scared, timid little thing who needed reassurance, praise and to be told, “YOU ARE ENOUGH”. Without the strength I gained through running I don’t know if I would have gone back to university and finished my bachelor’s degree. I highly doubt that I would be getting ready to start grad school. I might still be clinging to an expired relationship, trying to fill a void of self-love with ego-flattery. Thank-you for helping me to finally, once and for all, genuinely like myself separate of external validation.
As spring and a new running season approach, it’s time now, to find a new source of running motivation. But, no longer will I rely on superficial goals like six-pack abs, or flattery and attention as a crutch. I know that whether I’m a size 16, or a size zero, my worth is the same. I know that whether I’m single or worshiped by a wonderful man, my worth is the same. And even if I never qualify for and run The Boston Marathon, my worth is exactly the same.
I must remember that regardless of anything else going on in my life, I always feel my best after a great run. So maybe, I’ll just rely on the buzz and the fact that I am always just one run away from a better day.