[Forward: I’ve been having a bit of a crisis of confidence recently, which has led to me skipping several runs, which is not good training for the Great North Run. Anyway, I came on here to write a blog post and found this draft which I wrote back in April and hadn’t published. Given the crap I’ve been feeling recently, I think now is the right time to publish this, if nothing else just for me.]
My Body Made Me Feel Better.
Yes..you read that correctly. BETTER.
I went for a run yesterday, I managed 4 miles, my training program wanted 5, I was pleased with 4. Despite being cloudy and dismal and threatening rain the whole time, the weather was actually just right; warm with odd spots of breeze. I speed up whenever there is a breeze. I feel lighter and imagine to myself that I look lighter too. I also speed up around people. Even if I’m at the end of my run, I’ll just speed right up. I don’t know if that’s because I’m showing off – to show that a girl, no, a big girl like me can run, or if I’m just running to get past them, like an insecurity.
I don’t often feel insecure when running. I used to, back when I first started. I think the reason I don’t feel insecure while running is because I plan, very carefully, how the run is going to go before I go out, sometimes days before, so that I don’t have to trouble myself whilst I’m out. I plan what I’ll wear, what my route will be, what time it will be and how long it should take me. There are reasons for this. If I run in the morning before work..well then it has to be 5k or less, anything longer and I’ll be headed for an hour run. An hour run isn’t good in the morning because I have to go out early enough to miss the school kids, I also need enough time to come home, have a shower and get Leo ready for nursery before Mike leaves for work at around 8am. So then I need to think about if it’s going to be an evening run, will Mike be home to look after Leo? WIll I still be out when it gets dark? What about dinner? Will I miss Leo’s bed time?
So as you see, a lot of worrying and planning goes into each run, so that whilst I’m out I don’t get bogged down by questions and what ifs. However, there is one thing I can’t prepare for: Skinny Girls.
Oh the Skinny Girl or the SG for short…I’m going with that, I like shortening things. So the SG or sometimes several SG’s will run past you when you are knackered but haven’t really run that far yet. They’ll do this when you are feeling crap, when you are breaking a sweat, when you’ve taken off your glasses because they’ve steamed up, when you feel like you’ve just finished 10k but you’ve barely done 1k. They really REALLY annoy me.
So there I am, running along, shattered, not even completed my first lap of the park when SG1 and SG2 flaunt past me. These girls aren’t training, they are just casually running along with their super tight lycra bums and their floppy pony tails. SG2 had a top on which didn’t quite fit her and exposed her midriff slightly as it flapped around in the wind – or maybe it was designed that way. The girls looked around 20 or 21 -which isn’t THAT much younger than me let me add, but enough.
I watched them go past. I remembered them pulling up in the car park – I’d had a 20 minute lead on them and they’d over taken me. The shame. I watched them bounce off into the distance, not breaking a sweat, not even out of breath. I looked down. I saw my tummy and my chunky legs as my feet pounded the ground beneath me… and then thought about Leo.
You know how people say women’s stretch marks from pregnancy are bit like battle scars? Well, I hate to sound gross, and albeit a little cheesy but for a moment I thought of my body like that. All the nasty bits, the loose fat that I stuff into my jeans, flabby arms..I won’t continue, this isn’t an attack on myself or some sort of self loathing, it was actually self appreciation. I’m not for a second saying I’m a healthy weight, or that it would be OK to stay this way, but I am saying it’s OK for a while. Its OK after pregnancy and childbirth to be this way. It’s OK to not lose it all in one go. Its OK to only manage 4 miles not 5. Its OK to not be an SG with floppy hair. I don’t know the SG’s stories, but I’m assuming they’ve not both had babies 9 months ago, so comparing myself to them in that moment was stupid.
I ran back to my car, nearly died of exhaustion (a tad dramatic perhaps) and then went to collect one of the loves of my life. My little boy, who I thank so much for this body, which nurtured him and looked after him for 9 months so that he could be here making our lives so special.
And for the record, I did two laps of the park – the SG’s did one. Just saying…