I remember going on vacation out of the country I went to the beach with my book. Everywhere was your typical beach activity. I saw this woman a little less in shape than me soaking up the sun, chatting with friends, enjoying the day. I envied her. I was surprised to find of all the beach bunnies jealous of her. I didn't think she was too fat to be topless, which is exactly what I think of myself. I thought damn, I wish I were that comfortable in my own skin. She was slightly manish, but she was beautiful in her confidence and comfort.
I took my top off that day. I don't know that the sun has ever felt that amazing. It was also the day that planted a seed to start running. We never spoke, I doubt she even noticed me. But she started a change in me I will always be grateful for. I didn't start running right after that. But whenever I felt less, I would think back to her. To the courage she gave me. To the way it felt to lay out in the sun on a public beach.
Since I have started running I have been getting feedback from people. I get odd looks and some sneers from people as they pass me, generally sitting in a vehicle. But in general the feedback is positive, there is even a little awe and admiration. At first that made me very uncomfortable, always waiting for that back hand or the punch line. Then it dawned on me, I am doing something pretty damn amazing. Now I am that woman on the beach.
It is so easy to make excuses not to do things when you are not ideal. Like not sunbathing topless because you are not a supermodel. Or not running because you are not a born athlete. But when an average Joe or Jane is out there doing what we are too scared to try.... that is awesome, that is inspiring.
I hear excuses from loved ones all the time about why they can't or won't ever run. Sometimes I want to call them out on it. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. What matters is how it feels, and it feels amazing once you get past the initial shock of doing it. Once you stop thinking about all the reasons you shouldn't do it, and embrace the sun.
I can't run because...
My knees - Actually studies have shown running slows the progression of arthritis. Maybe bare foot running is out, although I haven't given up the fantasy yet.
No time - You forgot we are friends on facebook. I know you spend hours catching up on tv shows you never heard of til you saw it on someone else post about it.
Too out of shape - how do you propose to fix that on the sofa? The C25K program is available in app form now, you wouldn't even have to put down the iphone.
I would never run because...
Not athletic - How long have we known each other? I trip over lint. When athletically challenged finally makes the dictionary, my picture will be right there.
No clowns chasing me - I can borrow Ivan's big shoes, my nose turns red in the cold, I would love to wear a flower that squirts lemonade. I will chase you, all you had to do was ask.
Too hard - So is blood sugar monitoring and insulin shots. Heart attacks are tough too. Ectomies and chemo can be a real bitch I hear.