Learning to Love to Run Again

This is a beautiful guest post by Judith Bowtell from Albany Lane.

At some point in my life I lost the joy of running.

As a little kid, I am sure I loved to run. On grass, on sand, in the park and playground.

I would have loved to have been chased by big brothers and sisters, by cousins who maybe occasionally let me win. I would have played chasey and hide and seek and keepings off. All these games involved movement and running: unconscious and spontaneous.

Then at some point I stopped wanting to run. It became uncomfortable or I became self-conscious. I developed breasts and hips and thighs and running was no longer fun.

Running became work. We had to run around the oval, and I was often last.

Running became humiliating. We had to wear the school shorts and my legs were pale and fat.

Running became something to avoid. We had to do cross country runs, and I would find an excuse not to go.

I played a minimum of sport, and kept swimming up until my teenage years.  I even did the dreaded aerobics in the 80s at university. I did pilates in my 20s and yoga in my 30s. I even joined a gym and lifted weights.

But I did not run.

Until I made a bet with a friend to enter the City to Surf.  And I slowly learnt again how to run.

With the help of a trainer I started to run around the local parks and streets: 15 second bursts to start, then 30 seconds, up to a minute, with lots of walking in between. One minute became 5, 10, 15.  One kilometre became three, five then ten. I entered the City to Surf. I completed. I had learnt to run.

Over the next 10 years I have “run” on and off, starting back at the beginning with small bursts and walking, working up to longer runs, sprints and hill climbs.

I have run throughout Sydney, Melbourne, the Hunter Valley and Byron Bay. I have run along the river near my parents’ house and even along a beach in Vietnam. I have run many times across the Harbour Bridge, challenging not just my stamina but my fear of heights.

I developed my own style, slow and steady. I have been told I heel strike and need to run on the balls of my feet. I tried it, hated it, and went back to my old form.

I get hot, sweaty, muddy and rained on. I am stared at sometimes, overtaken often. I have been cheered on by the local garbage collectors and swooped at by magpies. I have met possums and bush turkeys, lots of dogs and some angry cats.

I get frustrated that I cannot run as fast as my sister and friends, then exhilarated when I effortlessly stride past a marker that was a struggle weeks before.

As I live through my forties I am challenged by knees, hips, ankles and shins that all need a bit more love and attention than they did in my younger days.

Often I stop for weeks or months at a time, to give myself a break and sleep in. I let myself feel tired and have permission to rest.  I try some new things.

But it comes again, that siren song of early spring: when the air is clear and slightly warm.  The mornings are bright before daylight saving starts, and the gardens full of blossoms

I watch other women running, effortlessly striding past or struggling up hills. And I begin to think: is it time for me to run again too.

So I get out the shoes, the sports bra, the leggings, the tank top.

I download music, put the dog on her leash. And together we begin to run.

15 seconds, 30 seconds, one kilometre, five then ten.

No matter where I start, I find my own pace and begin to run.

Not as a chore or a challenge, but because it is fun.

I fall back in love again.

More about Judith:

Judith Bowtell is lead coach, facilitator and founder of Albany Lane: a transpersonal coaching service for people wanting to find an authentic path in life. After 20 years or more working in leadership roles in government and cultural agencies, Judith now supports women to get back in touch with their intuition, creativity and spirituality, finding uniquely satisfying ways of working and living, in balance and harmony with their own values and purpose in life. Many of her clients have experienced powerful “aha moments” or epiphanies just like this: releasing long held beliefs that held them back and embracing new paradigms that inspire and nurture.

“At Albany Lane, we work together to realise that you have everything you need right now to live a life you love. We have enough, we do enough, we are enough.”

If you would like to know more about Albany Lane, subscribe to the monthly newsletter, Inspiration in Your Inboxhttp://albanylane.com.au/inspiration/ and receive a gift certificate for a complimentary 60 minute coaching session for you or a friend.

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