Today was finally my first run to kick it off Run2Grow "officially". It was a simple 3km distance after deciding the 5km Park Run would probably be pushing it as I have barely run in the past 2 years. My goal was simply to complete it at the pace that was right for my body today. Kindness to myself.
As I write this now, somehow seeing it in words in front of me brings a sense of commitment, attachment, and belief that this was a good decision. As I was running though, the story in my head was a bit different. I was running with an intention that was bigger than just me. I ran with mixed thoughts - including all the judgments alongside encouragements that my mind was telling me.
There's something amazing about how a physical challenge can dredge up so many things from seemingly nowhere, and this is where running can work it's magic in post-traumatic growth.
There's a certain peace I've always found with running, paired with some routine criticism, but overall it's always had a "therapeutic effect" for me. Today it was when I passed the Saturday morning park runners starting their 5km route that I noticed myself being more caught up in my mind than in my pacing.
A simple supportive comment from the running community "Runner up, keep left", to warn the clustered section of Park Run to share the path almost resulted in tears for me. First there was the heart warming sense of a running community that I plan to be part of in my training...Then the sense of independent achievements I've lost over the years...The feeling that I'm NOT a runner anymore.
It felt pretty rotten for a good 50 metres.
But then I remembered:
This is the journey.
The runner I used to be, the person I was before a broken spine, before rehab, before pregnancy, before a life-threatening situation, and before becoming a mother...She isn't gone, she's not forgotten, but she IS ever evolving. New anxieties and old perfectionisms stuck to me like glue as I kept going, one foot in front of the other, and before I knew it, that first 3km to this leg of the journey was over. The idea of 42km and running 1,000km along the way seems longer and closer than I thought, but I am ready.
Photo: Proudly holding Magnus' hand as he crossed the finish line of his first 1km Fun Run in the Brisbane Marathon Festival in August 2017. He was the youngest and last to finish and I couldn't have been more inspired. His energy, focus and determination on this day was instrumental in launching my first steps in Run2Grow.