I haven’t actually [got the runs]. What I had was a vision of myself doing something as ridiculous as completing the Toi’s Challenge – an 18km course across town, bush, beach and farmland. Perhaps it was a forgotten dream even, kindled when I finished a rather slow leg of the relay last year and saw all the other inspiring finishers. Anyway, mostly I just like free stuff and I had a one-chance-only-offer to accept a free ticket from work that came with the conditions of training (should be helpful) and that I had to document the journey in an inspiring way. So I took it and like most ideas that I have, it was exciting for a moment or so, but unlike other fleeting ideas of mine, this time I’m stuck. Committed. For the next three-and-a-half months anyway.
So lets be clear from the outset what we’re/Coach Ray is dealing with is a rather wobbly, severely unfit, sleep-deprived, wine and coffee-dependent, 35 year-old, working mother-of-three. I’m not particularly motivated, certainly not to operate in some kind of optimal zone that I see Ray constantly posting about on Facebook. If I get out for a run [walk], then I think that’s pretty impressive in itself. But the run [walk] certainly isn’t going to stretch me to the point I’m very uncomfortable/I’m giving it all I’ve got. I just don’t have that in me. AND a long time ago I made a promise to myself to enjoy the exercise that I do. So it’s a miracle that running is even on that list, because I don’t feel that it’s a fun activity by any stretch of the imagination. Certainly not for me. It’s cheap (especially when you get a free event ticket and you already have some old active-wear and running shoes lying around) and it’s accessible (Whakatāne is flat, small and has incredible bush tracks and access to beaches all around it).
But I’m pretty sure I already know how this will play out over the next 3.5 months. I’ll run [walk] on the days I’m supposed to with good intentions, but probably won’t follow most of Coach Ray’s training schedule correctly.
I’ll moan about it, run the downhills, get distracted listening to podcast and/or in imaginary work-fights in my head and not push myself to capacity. BUT I WILL HAVE GOTTEN OUT!
I’ll mostly do this running [walking] in the bush where one can be excused for walking up the extremely steep and never-ending stairs. It will all be done very slowly (even if I do develop some level of fitness). I’ll remain as positive about the situation as I can be. Ultimately I’ll run/walk/stumble through the event, Toi’s Challenge on 18 November 18.
I WILL FINISH, but the “fun” won’t be experienced at any point before or during the event. It will be the little buzz I’ll feel at some point after I finish – any point from 2 hours afterward to two weeks when my muscles have recovered. And that’s what we’ll call the whole experience “fun” and I’ll say I enjoy running and I intend to continue. But then I won’t.
And somehow I’m meant to be inspirational about all of the above in these blogs? Well, I made the mistake of googling inspirational runners this evening (because this first blog is due tomorrow, and I’ve stretched it out to a week-and-a-half already) and that was a mistake: black women running because they’re underrepresented in the sport; disabled women running; fat women running and losing all the weight and running fast marathons. Gah! What can I possibly offer through this journey that would be “inspirational”?
Well, after some hand-wringing and bouncing it off some friends and colleagues, here’s what I’ve got:
- Maybe a 35 year old working-mum-of-three with a rubbish pelvic floor doing a piss-poor job of completing a training programme, BUT getting out there anyway and doing her best won’t be inspiring to most. But hopefully it is to just one woman, stuck on her arse because a baby with a big bulbous head just ploughed through her lady-bits and she’s finally getting better and through the haze of sleep deprivation she’s starting to wonder if exercise will help her get a sense of control in her life again. Or just make her feel like shit for trying and embarrassing herself, but at least she’s making some sort of positive gesture towards her positive well-being.
- Maybe it will be inspiring to some of my work-mates also doing the mum/work juggle and putting themselves and their wellbeing last like always. Maybe me pushing through the misery of another lunchtime run, and the irritating and time-consuming process afterwards trying to make yourself presentable and professional-looking enough to work, well, maybe if I can do it, they can too.
- And maybe it will somehow be subconsciously inspirational to my kids who will see me or understand that I’m doing something “healthy” for myself and my body, and they’ll learn that it is an important thing to do – even if it’s hard.
That’s all I’ve got for now and that’s Day 12 of whatever this is.
– Rebecca Mackay
Rebecca will be writing weekly as she continues her journey to achieving her goal of completing the 18km Tois Challenge. Check in next Tuesday for her next article.