Driving home last night I see a woman – at 1206 a.m. – running. It’s not her I notice first but her tiny dog (the opposite of my lovely, long legged, graceful greyhounds) with its little legs a flying blur under its little, fluffy body.
And then I notice the woman behind the little dog:
A year ago I would have seen an over weight, older, woman wasting her time trying to be a runner, too embarrassed to run in day light, wearing baggy clothes, not getting any where very quickly.
A year ago, there was no way I could run sixty seconds straight, and I had a very different view of women who ran and a very different internal voice running the show.
But last July I made a life altering decision – I started running – partly to wear out my new greyhound, Savannah, and partly for fitness and weight loss. There were hiccups and self doubt and craziness, but I started running, and I ran and I am still running (although less at the moment due to the buggered up toe drama).
I had a horrifying moment when I was learning to run, when I was teaching my brain how to be a runner – I “ran” past some cute, petite, hip young ladies – you know the kind – and as I “ran” past them, I heard the chatter: “Fat … can’t believe … who does she think she is … jiggling … bouncing … gross … Just who does she think she is anyways? … Fat.” And I went into this knee jerk crazy spin. And I let that spin go unchecked for a moment until I realized they were right – I am a fat chick, and I am running. And my head space grew at that moment. My attitude changed. The voice started yelling, “Get out of the way, ’cause this fat girl is running. THIS FAT CHICK IS A RUNNER!”
That voice resonates now – in scary moments, in doubtful moments – sometimes I have to remind myself of the victory I made when I became a fat chick who runs.
Last night, I looked at that woman and applaud her – I physically yelled at her with all my windows rolled up – KEEP IT UP!! YOU ARE ROCKING IT!!! And I drove the rest of the way home with a glowing pride for this woman who is running in the dark, in baggy clothes with her adorable little dog. She is a runner, and she is running.
Sometimes, I have to tell myself – Keep it up. Next month I’ll start training for a 10K (and it still horrifies part of my brain to type that). I have to tell myself that I know that I can do this, that my little successes and the little changes in my life have made a stronger, more resilient me. Just like the woman running in the dark. I also know that as women, we need to be cheerleaders for each other – to encourage and praise each other as we “run” through this life. We have no need for the cute little hip chicks’ mean chatterings. The rest of us need to yell louder then their hurtful words; we need to yell until every woman’s internal voice is able to cheer for herself: KEEP IT UP! YOU ARE DOING AN AWESOME JOB!!!