Brittany runs a marathon

Last night I watched this wonderful heart warming movie about turning your life around, believing in yourself and wanting something better for yourself.

It tells the story of Brittany, an overweight and unhealthy almost 30 year old who is told by her doctor that, for health reasons, she needs to lose around 50lbs, she jokes that this is the size of a Siberian husky dog!

There is this scene near the beginning where Brittany is psyching herself up to go for a run, the strength and courage it takes for her to just open to door to the street is massive, but she does it. She is bold and pushes through the fear to something amazing on the other side.

I found myself relating to a lot of this movie, unlike Brittany I don’t need to lose 50lbs but I fully understood how obsessive she became about running, how she became so focused on what she was eating and drinking, how she pushed herself beyond her limits and ending up with an injury which meant she was unable to run the New York marathon (the goal she had set herself).

There are moments in the film where Brittany suffers set backs with food and drink but somehow she finds it within herself to put those things down, knowing that ultimately she is worth more than the quick fix they will bring her.

Oh how I would love to get to that place!

I got how a lot of Brittany’s friends saw her as ‘the fat funny one’ and mocked her for running and believing that she could be a serious runner, one of her ‘friends’ even said to her that she shouldn’t throw away her fat clothes as she would be needing them again. Why do we often feel that in order to make ourselves feel better we have to tear down others around us? That we find it so hard to celebrate others achievements?

But the thing I related to most was how Brittany struggles to believe that the people around her actually care about her, not from pity or sympathy but out of genuine love for her and wanting to support and encourage her, time and again she turns down their offers and kindness and she pushes them away. Why do we often push others away and think we can do better on our own? When in reality, being on our own just leaves us isolated and hurting?

I know that running gives my mental health a boost, and I know that since hurting my knee my sense of well-being has dropped, my mood is low and I’m frustrated. But I also know that it is now that I need to reach out to others, knowing that I am not a burden to them but that actually they would want to support me, if like Brittany in the end, if I can let them in and give them a chance!

I love you Brittany!!

What’s your motivation?

Last week I decided that I was going to begin a runstreak. I had signed up to do RED January (which is where you are active everyday during January).

“What’s a runstreak?” I hear you ask. Basically it’s when you run everyday, any distance over 1 mile, but you go everyday, no rest days.

So your second questions is probably “Why would you do that?”

Back in October I did my first half marathon and even though I’d put the training in I didn’t manage to run all of it and I ran it slower than I had hoped to. Because of that I didn’t really allow myself to celebrate the achievement of travelling 13.1 miles, which really should have been a huge achievement. My dad reminded me afterwards that not many people do park runs or can run 5k, fewer people manage to run 10K and even fewer people do half marathons or more.

So after the half marathon I felt quite flat and low (which is why I signed up for RED January, hoping it would boost my mental health), I didn’t even run for a couple of weeks, then, as I said, last week I decided to get back to it. My aim with the runstreak was to improve my stamina and endurance and to hopefully pick up my pace a little.

However, by day 6 my knee was complaining about the extra running and despite having only started the streak less than a week ago I was already feeling like I couldn’t stop and if I quit I would be some kind of failure.

Today I started to panic about what might happen if I missed a day due to being ill or having some family commitment. Would I get up crazy early or go out late at night just to get my runstreak in? And I realised that my thinking was starting to become a little obsessive about the runstreak. Maybe you’d already noticed that by the number of times I’ve written ‘runstreak’ in this post!

This shouldn’t have really come as much of a surprise to me but it did. I know I’ve had obsessive thinking in the past when it comes to exercise and food, but every time I tell myself that I will be able to manage and stay in control this time, that it won’t go to the extreme that it did last time.

And then I’m reminded how when we are trying to control and manage our lives that is when things start not going so well.

Why do I always think I can do God’s role far better than He can? Why do I not trust Him for my life and why do I feel like I need to be in control for things to be ok? For me to ‘be ok’?

Because at the moment, with me being ‘in control’ things aren’t going that well. I’m pushing myself to do something which has caused my body to suffer and still all I think is

Just push through it, keep going, because if you stop you’re a pathetic waste of space, you’ve told everyone that your doing a runstreak and you’ve failed, how humiliating and embarrassing, don’t you look stupid

So I think as hard as it is, I may need to let go of this runstreak and not allow it to hold me prisoner to it. I need to give myself the permission to stop, to not force myself to run in the pelting rain like some badge of honour and not to force myself to keep pushing even when I’m in pain. That is the surest and fastest way to get me to hate running and at the moment I do love it, it is my time to clear my head, boost my mood and chat to my running mummy friends. But I don’t think I need to do it religiously everyday in order to get that, because that is putting my faith in the wrong thing! Running is not my religion!