By Kelly W
COVID-19 has impacted me in a way I didn’t think it would, and made me very aware of how much of a social runner I am.
Firstly, my big 42 at 42 in 2020 event of the Australian Outback Marathon in July was been cancelled – no surprise there, everything’s been cancelled and for good reason. On the plus side, I have rolled my entry over to 2021. I will actually be 42 by then, so it will legitimately be 42 at 42, rather than 42 in my 42nd year, it just won’t have the fun ring of 42 at 42 in 2020. But that’s no big deal, as a walking buddy pointed out the other week, 42 at 42 in ’21 is still pretty cool as 21 is half of 42… 😊
Secondly, I hadn’t realised just how much I enjoy the company of my running mates. While I’m a rather slow runner (think turtle running through peanut butter) and I only get to see them all at the start and finish of our runs, I enjoy the opportunity to chat and listen to them all. Some of them are ultra-runners, some are sub 30 minute 5 k runners, some are dedicated marathon runners, some road runners, some trail runners, some slow runners and some on-the-weekend runners. And some runners are like me, eclectic and will have a crack at anything (hence my attempt at 42.2km this year… and the random thought of 200miles isn’t that far really is it…?). But over all that, is the enjoyment of the tales of what they’ve done recently, who’s signed up for what, which runner is away achieving something, what niggles and injuries are we thinking are ready to strike, or worse luck, have struck. The comradery of the social run is simply an endorphin rush I absolutely love, and one I have really missed while not being allowed to socialise.
Thirdly, and this is the bit that’s really got me trying to self-analyse, what’s with all the food? And why am I lacking absolutely zero motivation? I don’t need to know where the scales are as my jeans are no longer comfortable, and my track suit material sneaky work pants are now my most favourite work and after work wear clothes. I’m still working, I’m still lucky enough to be one of those in the community whose job didn’t stop or change in any way other than a short stint of working from home. I’m fortunate enough to live in a wonderful part of the country where I can get out on a path or trail and run without risk of coming into contact with another person. So why have I retreated into myself and started eating like I trying out for the Sumo team?
I was advised a while ago that an event I signed up for in August is still going ahead due to limited entries and the ability to provide spacing between runners. After a week of stalling and telling myself that “I’ll be fine, it’s a 6.71km loop every hour on the hour, I walk that far in an hour, easy done”, I finally realised that maybe I need to start moving again. Conveniently my local gym started 20 participant max. body weight fitness sessions, so off I went to my first one on the Friday with the mental mindset of “it’s only been a few months, how unfit will I be? I’m still walking once a week, I’ve been doing the Push-up Challenge for the past few weeks, no worries”. O.M.G. I literally struggled to move for two days, and it hurt to do the stairs at my work on the third day, I was still minorly sore on the fourth day… and I went back to the session on the fifth day. This session was the eye opener. I know I’ve gotten bigger, I know I see myself poorly (who doesn’t), but when I saw myself in those gym mirrors, and just how much I struggled to get through the session, and when I thought about what everyone else must be thinking… yeah well, I was struggling not to cry by the last 5-minute set, and barely croaked out a ‘thank you and bye’ to the PT as I left. What did I do once I got to where I was going? Felt sorry for myself and promptly downed half a family sized packet of Malteser’s. Yep, that’ll help. And yes, I ate only half, good for me. Can’t say it was will power and positive thinking… there was only half left… pretty sure I would have polished off the lot in my moment of self-pity and loathing.
I’m sad and disappointed with myself. I’m horrified at how easily I’m downing family sized portions at the moment, and disgusted with myself in general. Lacking self-love is a very diminishing feeling, and one that is hard to fight against when you are the only voice you hear.
But! I’ve made the start. Now that WA can meet in groups outdoors with appropriate spacing, I put it out there on my running group page that I’d like to meet up with anyone for a Thursday early morning ‘Haz Beanz’ run – our local coffee spot where we meet post run for a coffee before we all start our day. I won’t be there for the full 5.30am run as I know I’m not able to do that, but I will be there for a ‘me v me’ walk / run 30-minute session, before joining everyone for a quick coffee. It was hard, it was horrible – first morning after the body weight session and cold and very raining conditions forecast, and me trying to combat my own personal fitness demons, but I needed to do this for me. I used that 30 minutes as my own personal psychology session while I tried to nut out what I’m doing to myself and why, and while I try to embrace the start of a new day, watch the sun come up over the hills and harbour, and embrace the start of my new begin. Again.
A wonderful quote I love by Maya Angelou is ‘Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.’ This is how I need to see myself. Have enough courage to trust to love myself one more time, and always one more time. I will start again. I will rise again. I will be a runner again. I will!