So a year ago today, I was running the Eden Project Half Marathon. A wonderful, hilly, gorgeous, hilly, inspiring, hilly, 13.1 mile race through the gorgeous Cornish countryside. Did I mention the hills?
It was an odd one. I’d trained so much, I’d literally sweated my backside off, but things still went wrong. What did I expect? I was new, I wasn’t quite comfortable in my own skin, and I certainly wasn’t prepared. I got blisters from my thick cotton socks (I know). My joggers (yes, joggers!) chaffed, and made me uncomfortable. My fringe was probably sticking upright the entire time. I even slowed down at the finish line instead of going for a sprint! I was not prepared.
But I finished. Still suffering bad lungs, still a bit overweight, and still fairly new to the whole running thing (5 1/2 months post second baby), I finished 13.1 miles. What a crazy thing to do!
I also took the worse running pictures in recorded history. But that’s not important. I took those pictures, I took my recorded time, and I thought – I want better. I’ve done something I never thought I could do, and now I want to do it better. I want to excell, not just succeed. I want to become a Good Runner.
One year later and I’m a lot wiser – I realise a Good Runner is one just someone who gets up and moves their damn feet, and it doesn’t matter what speed or distance or pace they do that in. A Good Runner is someone who runs for a good reason – they like running, or they like cake, or they like winning. All valid reasons to run, and to race.
I know of a lot of runners who say they don’t ‘do’ races, they don’t like competitions. To them I say – it’s not about that. If you run, and if you watch how fast or how far you run, you already compete. I don’t run to be first. The people who finish first weren’t running to be first. I don’t think even Mo Farah runs to be first. I run to beat myself – my best time, my best distance, or my last negative thought. I run to be better than I was the last time. And if I don’t succeed? I work out why and I try not to do that again. Failure is a good way to learn, and success is a reward for the failures.
I am a better runner than I was a year ago. But that doesn’t mean that, in 2014, I wasn’t a Good Runner.
I was bloody amazing.