I have talked about this before. If you know me, it is likely we have had this conversation before. It was the reason I started the Be Brave. Be Strong. Be You. Movement, and I intend on keeping it going, showing every single person I possibly can that YOU, yes you, have something to offer this world.
Runners can often fall into the trap (and then fall into it again and again during our lives) of associating our self worth with our identity as a runner.
The activewear video may be a parody, but there is a part of that which rings very true for runners.
I remember when I was a teenager, I was embarrassed to be seen out running. I did not want people knowing that I thought cross country was “cool”. As funny as that is for me to now look back on, in some ways life was better that way. I went out and did what I needed to do, and then got on with the rest of my life; working hard at school, building friendships, spending time with your loved ones.
In a lot of ways, my life hasn’t changed, but the running aspect has.
Not only does everyone now know I am a runner, but I promote it, runners want people to know we are runners, and we wear those clothes around with pride.
Now running is cool, and more and more people are taking it up every day, I LOVE that, but during my life it opened my eyes to one major thing; there is so much more to life than running.
Don’t worry, I am not giving it up, nowhere close!
You now know that I have had the opportunity to make the world team for the half marathon championships, and if not, but in 2015 I had a lot of good races, and upon reflecting, I realized that a lot of that came down to the fact that I did not try to control everything. I did not place my self worth on the result of that race, and I did not think about what others would think of me if I did not race to my potential.
Okay, that last part is not quite as good as it sounds. Of course those thoughts still came through my head, and I even had a few moments in races where I would be thinking about what I would write on my Instagram picture post race or what I would say on my blog post write up. BUT, I knew that at that finish line, no matter what happened, I would still be me, and those people who loved me, would love me no matter what, and the people who would say mean things, or want you to do badly, well, those are not people we want to surround ourselves with anyway.
I still struggle with this, every day.
But in 2015, I really allowed my true colors to come through, and one of my biggest strengths is that I am prepared to share the shitty things that happen to me, including my weight gain.
I am a very optimistic person, and I loved the article I read a awhile back on Huffington Post about why I will not apologize for what I share on facebook, I am a big believer in an attitude of gratitude, and the more you dwell on things, the more bad will appear in your life as you are looking for it.
However, as we all know, running is full of ups and downs. In fact, there are more downs that up, and we often wonder why we put ourselves through it.
It is because running is so fulfilling, so rewarding.
In a world where we have access to almost everything we need at all times, it feels so good to be challenged. So good to see what YOU can do, and discover who YOU are, THAT is what makes us feel the most alive.
Running does give us this, a chance to feel alive, strong, powerful, confident, and do something that is just for us, but at the end of the day, you are still you. Running will always be there waiting for you, but we have to have other things going on, and that’s where so many of us trip up.
When I was on my honeymoon, one of our runs in Australia, I looked over to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and I thought about just how much this world has to offer. As an elite runner (or anyone who is committed to their running), we give up a lot to be good at running, and it does bring us those wonderful moments I just talked about, BUT we cannot live in a state like that for our whole lives.
That, my friends, is why I am urging you to let go.
After those big races, after you have accomplished a HUGE goal, or not. If you gave your all for that goal, and still fell short. Let it go.
Running will be there for you for life, its something that doesn’t hold grudges, or prevent you from ever returning, but missing out on memories and moments that you will have for life, those will pass you by, and before you know it, the excuses will be too easy to reach, and it will be too late.
So that is why on our honeymoon, we took unexpected days off. We ate everything and anything we wanted. We stuffed ourselves so full of fat and sugar that we could barely walk, but you know what, those are the times I will remember.
I worked so hard for my running goals this year, but that also meant I earned some time to just be me. Be the Tina where running falls a little down the list, where running does not dictate my day, and where I can put my love for another human being before my own desires to run fast.
Yes, I chose carefully, I made sure I did this at a time where I was only in base building mode, so it did not really matter too much, but the point is, we tend to accomplish one goal, and barely finish raising our hands in the air at the finish line before we are thinking about what we want next.
I am vowing to take more time to appreciate what my body has done, and give more time to just living than I have in the past, and I hope you will join me.
My running is now back to dictating my life, but with a renewed sense of content thanks to the time where it was not the focus.
Even with this realization, I still have to re-remind myself to let go, just a few weeks later. As I drive myself crazy trying to figure out if I have a hope of being selected for the GB team, I need to keep in mind that regardless of if I am picked or not, it does not define who I am.
Don’t let running define your life, we tend to run our best races when we are happy, in every area of our lives, and I hope I can keep this balance going for 2016 and beyond.
Be Brave. Be Strong. Be You. In every single area of your life!