I am sure that if you are a runner, or an aspiring runner, you are familiar with exclamations such as: Run?! Why on earth do you want to run! Those words are all too familiar to myself.
For many years I have had a secret dream. It was one which I had buried very deep, and nobody knew about it. I had at times tried to pursue it, but gave it up fairly quickly. I was convinced that it was an impossible dream, only meant for people born with the natural ability and correct DNA code. Then one day I saw somebody I knew, also a woman, more on the mature side, doing what I have always dreamed of doing and a little seed started to germinate. You see, she was a runner and she had only started later in life. After a few weeks of watching her, I finally gathered enough courage to approach a coach and asked her if she could help me to at least run a 5km sometime in the future. She laughed and said that it was very easy, I just had to do it. This answer did not help much, as I knew that it was not that simple. After all, I have tried to do that before with poor results. A few days later I told my husband that I would really love to be able to run a 5k. My husband, as sweet as he is, burst out laughing at the idea of me running, ever! So, I decided not to speak of this again. Instead I started walking seriously.
A few months later we went on holiday with my daughter and son-in-law. She had started running the previous year. Every morning the two of us would go for a walk/run. She would jog next to me while I did some fast walking. I loved it, but secretly wished that I could run with her. However, I was too scared to make a fool of myself. At the end of that year she ran her first 10km. My husband and I drove all the way to their hometown to support her for the event. I was super proud of her.
The following year, she called me and said that her dream was to run the Two Oceans half Marathon taking place in Cape Town, South Africa. However, she did not want to run it alone, but knew nobody who would do it with her. Well, you know how mothers are? We will try our best in order to give our children what they want. Before I could help myself, I told her that I would do it with her! What?!!! Yes, you read that right. I, who had never even run a 5km, volunteered to do a 21km race with my daughter! Man, was I crazy!
Once I came to my senses I realized just what it was that I had promised. Fortunately I remembered that my sister-in-law had once spoken about a walk/run program which had helped her to start running. I contacted her and she immediately shared that program with me. My husband was working away at that time, so every morning, sunshine, rain or cold, I set off on my quest. I started with a 2 minute walk/ 1 minute jog for 30 minutes. One minute felt like an eternity and I prayed for the sixty seconds to pass. Two weeks later when my husband returned home, I was well into the program. I never looked back.
Today, six years later, I not only have various half marathons behind me, but have also done many marathons, as well as six Ultra's, two of which are Comrades Marathons. I AM a runner! The moral of the story is, never allow anybody to tell you what you are capable or not capable of doing. If you have a dream, pursue it. Find a way to give your dream wings. There is ALWAYS a way. As a bonus I have found many wonderful friends amongst the running community and I often run with my two daughters and my two sons-in-law. Running has become a lifestyle and I love encouraging others like myself who think that running is an impossible dream.
In my next post I will be sharing a few ideas on how to start running and having fun while doing it.
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