Rebecca Runs: What a Winner Looks Like

Me. A winner looks just like me.

And it’s not because I won. I didn’t. It’s not because I’m only taking my medal off to shower this week. It’s also not just because I’m one of those damned millennials (“The Trophy Generation”) who think everyone’s winner (even though I most certainly do). I’m a winner because I turned up (Finishing is cool too, but just turning up is enough in my book).

And that’s exactly what everybody’s going to think this week whilst I’m wearing my epic medal round the office. Because I can. Because I’m amazing.

I did it. And I was glorious! Not in a gazelle-springing-elegantly-through-the-grassy-African-Savanna way, more like a python-digesting-a-brown-bear way. It’s remarkable and slightly unnatural, but super interesting to watch in an uncomfortable kind of way. Anyway, I did it.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a hard slog and there were definitely moments. Here’s what I can remember as I didn’t really have time to take notes or selfies (with a time of 2 hours, 41 minutes!!!! Woo!):

The Good:

  • Finding some leftover breakfast in my teeth to sustain me.
  • Passing people.
  • Everyone was remarkably polite and encouraging (“There she is. You got this girl” was my fav).
  • The hand rail on those bastard steps between Ōtarawairere Beach and West End – the only thing that kept me from collapsing.
  • The medal at the end. And I reserve the right to wear it ALL week.

The Bad:

  • Just the regular, i.e. hills, stairs, endless numbers of them.
  • Eight year olds with their prepubescent bodies gliding past me and into the distance. Why are they even allowed to do it?!
  • To be honest, all the people asking if I was ok whilst I was stumbling all over the track – I didn’t like that. This is just how I run.
  • Being passed by the people I just Gawdammit!!!!
  • Oh, and learning that it’s more energy efficient to take small steps walking up a hill than giant lunges which cause me to pause to breathe every three steps or so. (Thanks for mentioning that to me, husband, after I’d completed the bloody race of death)

The Ugly:

  • My face.

What I learned about myself:

  • I can do hard things;
  • I can surprise myself;
  • My body is pretty darn amazing the way it is (thigh gap or not!).
  • Apparently talking while you run isn’t beneficial to your performance (I apologise, particularly to all those introverts I ran with in training – talking your ear off and making you wait while I recovered. Not cool.). Turns out I can run a lot faster and a lot further when I shut my mouth.

What’s yet to be determined:

  • Whether training helps. I mean I’m going to presume it does based on my colleagues who are hobbling around trying to hide their DOMS (that’s “delayed muscle soreness” to us in the running industry) while I’m in a relatively better state.
  • Whether Coach Ray knows what he’s doing – as I ignored most things he said. (Sorry, Ray, I’m not proud of my behaviour).

So now that I’ve established myself as a public figure – celebrity really – in the running world, and particularly Whakatāne. Ok, just Whakatāne District Council. Ok, just the handful of people that know I exist and who have heard me moaning about running for the last few months.

Anyway. I’m famous. And NOBODY is ready for me to just leave the internet. So here’s my open letter to Coach Ray:

Dear Coach Ray,

Thank you for tolerating me over these last few months. I’m going to take a punt and guess that the experience has been a mixed bag for you, i.e. you’re clearly obsessed with running so hearing me bang on week after week about how awful it is isn’t your favourite thing, however, I’m clearly a very endearing and likeable person…so y’know, it’s been ok for you.

There’s also the abusive text messages and the fact that I barely listened to you. Ever. Sorry about that. I just felt like I knew better. And that you needed to know that I knew better.

Anyway, that’s water under the bridge.

So consider this: My blog is most probably the overwhelming favourite on your website (no offence everybody else). This is just math. People hate running, and often hate runners by default. It’ nobody’s fault. We just don’t understand each other.

I propose that we keep this relationship going, that you continue to coach me, and that this time I try my best to do what you tell me all or most of the time. And I will get my thigh gap and you will get your inconsistent blogs – that’s the exchange. We’ll also both get fame and the internet will pay us if I’m right. Oh, and of course people will see the benefit of engaging your running expertise, even though they suck and hate it.

There is a niche market here that we can both benefit from. Oh, and they can benefit from us (because it’s not just about us, Ray!). Most people hate running and hate runners. There’s also a bunch of people, like me, whose lifestyles and bodies are quite obstructive to the practice. But I bridge that gap! I hate running but I’ve been doing it anyway and people love me! I make it real and accessible for sleep-deprived women with saggy post-partum bodies and children hanging off them who want to be healthy and active, and who want to keep that the focus of their exercise (and model it to their whānau) rather than…ahem…a thigh gap (I’m just saying that if a thigh gap became an unexpected side-result of training I wouldn’t argue). And the thing is, despite my moaning and inconsistency, I am actually making progress as a runner. I think.

It’s up to you, Ray. Let’s continue this journey together with our scores of fans.

Here’s my terms:

  • You need to continue coaching me. There will need to be a bit of negotiation around it. I know you’re the expert on running, but I’m the expert on being lazy and chunky at it.
  • Also, you may have to provide me with one of your running-space-enabled-watches. You’re all about running in these “zones” and I just don’t know what those are but I’m too cheap to put out for one. A second-hand one will suffice.
  • I’ll enter a couple more events over the coming months to help with motivation and let’s just see where this relationship goes.

Give me 6 months, Ray.

*To be fair, I haven’t read anybody else’s running blogs on your site or anywhere else (because running is so boring to read about I haven’t even tried. But look, I’ll really start trying to be more respectful towards running and runners), so I don’t know if someone has capitalised on this opportunity, but really, are they as an incredible team as we could be? I think not.

So let’s do this. Like Jacinda (Look how cool she is!).

Ready. Set. Go.

– Becs 🙂

Rebecca will be was writing (sort of) weekly as she continues her journey to achieving her goal of completing the 18km Tois Challenge (tick). Check in next Tuesday for her next article as she continues her journey with more consistent writing and more consistent training and (no doubt sort of) following my advice..

Read Rebecca’s last article here:

Rebecca Runs: Melbourne in the Morning

And all her previous articles are stored here:

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