Anyone can do it!
Last Sunday I watched the Scotia Bank Marathon/Half Marathon race. Although I loved cheering on the runners, it was not the easiest thing to do as I was supposed to be racing it myself. My goal is to run it next year, healthy, and with no pain or injuries. It is pretty remarkable though, when you get to be a spectator and see all of the racers passing by, working hard to accomplish something amazing. The chills I got cheering on the racers last year is what truly pushed me to race my first half earlier this year. I loved cheering others on but I wanted to be the one racing, having others cheering me on to achieve my goals.
The fitness instructor and personal trainer in me began to observe every movement from the runners. How efficient was their running form? Heel strikers or mid foot strikers? What kind of shoes are they running in? What are their arms doing? I said in my class this past week that running is the most ‘natural’ thing for us to do, meaning we can all accomplish it for the most part. However, it is the most difficult thing to master as the form and technique can shave off seconds/minutes to one’s race time and protect the body from injuries. So yes we can all do it, but how it looks from an elite runner to a beginner can differ immensely.
My friend cheering with me quickly reminded me that even though form and efficiency of running can always be improved, the fact that so many people have dedicated hours, weeks and months to train was something remarkable. Observing all the runners passing us by at the 18km mark we saw different ages, fitness levels, genders, and backgrounds. The coolest thing about running for me is that no matter how much experience we have, we all have the same goal when we toe the line; to make it to the finish line.
A quote from Bill Bowerman that we live by at Nike is “if you have a body, you are an athlete”. Running truly exudes this. We all run for different reasons. For some, it is to be the fastest person on the course. For others, it may be to honour those who can’t run themselves. Maybe it is to challenge ourselves and accomplish what we once thought was impossible and out of our reach. Regardless of motivation to run, we all step on the same line to start and cross the same line to finish. That is something extraordinary to be part of.
Take this with you in whatever physical activities you try. You have a body. You are an athlete. You can do it. Some of us may be elite, some beginner, but at the end of the day we can participate in some pretty awesome things.
Be fierce. Be strong. Be vibrant.