Learn to love the stuff others hate

Pain. Cold. Mud. Early mornings. Blisters. Rashes. Sweat. Burning lungs. Cramp. Stitches. Sore muscles. Aching limbs.

Running isn’t exactly a spa break. Mystified friends often make those noises runners know very well: the sort of “well, good luck to you, I only wish I could do it, but it’s not for everyone…” sort of comments, implying that there are some people who are just cut out for running*, and then there’s the sensible rest of the world.

I totally disagree.

Anyone who knew me pre-age 30 would have put me firmly, immovably in the non-sport category. And yet, here I am, at 40. It’s February 8th, and I’ve already clocked over 143 miles of running this year, 41 days into a running streak.

The other eye-roll I see a lot comes from the exasperated frustration of people who think I run (and try to stay healthy in other areas of life, like eating well) simply to prolong my life. What they don’t get is that I’m not trying to escape the inevitable by dragging out some dry, worthy, ascetic existence… I’m making sure that as far as I can, I’m fully enjoying being alive!

Her coach told her “love what everyone else hates”.

Liz Yelling.jpg

Liz Yelling speaking at the KHVIII Relay Race

Last week I had the fantastic opportunity to spend the afternoon with an amazing athlete and coach, double Olympian marathoner Liz Yelling. She was the guest of honour at the King Henry VIII School Relay, a brilliant national annual race for senior schools organised by my husband, Tom. When delivering her inspirational speech to the runners after the race, Liz told us that part of her training was learning to embrace the things others hated. So when she was lining up for a race, and could hear the grumbles and complaints of her competitors, she knew she had the edge. Liz relished the mud and the cold and the difficulty, and it made her a champion.

Because without the pain, there’s no victory. Without the process, there’s no achievement. As the much-posted meme has it: It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would be doing it.

“…the hard is what makes it great”**

I firmly believe that everyone could do it. And if they did, they’d discover that running is pure joy.

Pain. Cold. Mud. Early mornings. Blisters. Rashes. Sweat. Burning lungs. Cramp. Stitches. Sore muscles. Aching limbs.

Strength. Inner fuel. Warpaint. Achievement. Development. Experience. Energy. Strong heart. Determination. Strategy. Power. Satisfaction.

We love it.


*or a similar endurance sport, such as cycling or swimming…

**from A League of Their Own, screenplay by Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandell

2 thoughts on “Learn to love the stuff others hate

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