Before and After

This weekend, I read the loveliest article on the internet. This is easier said than done, these days but it’s true. Thanks to an online women’s running community that I’ve joined, this article popped up. I wholly recommend reading it in its entirety.

In brief though, it’s written by a lady who started running a year or so ago and was snapped last year finishing her local parkrun with the most enormous smile on her face. She had the opportunity to write in her local paper about how running has changed her over the year and her words were so wise and so beautiful that I wanted to share them here.

I used to look in the mirror and think I would be happy if I were thin, almost putting my life and happiness on hold until I reached the ultimate goal of being thin. I now realise that it was never ‘thin’ that would make me happy, but rediscovering again what made me happy and having the skills to go out and do that for myself.

She goes on to say this:

I have seen some physical changes in myself, not as profound as some people would expect. I have been asked in a magazine articles for ‘before and after’ picture as it is assumed I have lost loads of weight. I’ve lost a bit and 2 dress sizes, but the most profound changes are not in butt size or the size of jeans I wear but in my happiness.

I nearly cried at this bit.

There’s just so much wisdom here. Running isn’t necessarily about a Before and After photo. Some people have those photos and we should celebrate those transformations. But for most of us, Dawn is right…the difference that running really makes to our lives is in our happiness levels!

me tam happy
My happiest run in 2017 (so far)

Yes we run because it keeps us fit. Yes, some of us run to offset the amount of bread and cake we eat. (Raises hand). Some of us run because we’re fast and we might win something. (Lowers hand). But we can all recognise the importance that running plays in our self-esteem,  in whatever capacity that might be.

A while ago, I talked a little about how running gave me self-esteem and a sense of achievement when I was a Stay At Home Mum.  Rereading that post, I can see the similarities between what Dawn said and how I felt when I wrote that post – that there’s something about the process of running and our identity as runners that changes us and builds us up.

At the moment, I’m several pounds heavier than I like to be and I can feel those pounds on my bottom. I’m slower than I have been for a year or two now, and that dismays me a little. I’m 42, I may never get faster again. But even IF I never get faster, I will continue to run. I love the process, I love the sport, I love the people it puts me in contact with. I will go on running simply because it makes me happy.

wilts cottage flowers happy me

I’m adding Dawn to my list of running heroines. What a great reminder to enjoy our running and to be grateful for the gift that it is.

Enjoy your running this week!

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