my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise
I should qualify that this post isn’t about the people who are a bit slower than me in a race, but rather, the people in the background, who support and encourage me in my pursuit of running improvement and running fun.
I’ve left this post until the dust had settled on my post-race euphoria, as I wanted to think in a more level-headed way, about who I thank, how I thank, and what exactly I thank people for!
So often, it seems to me anyway, that the ‘thank you’ actually says more about the person giving it, than the person receiving it and I think that’s wrong. You’ve seen the embarrassing gushing and fake surprise people put on when they win something at the Oscars or other award ceremonies. So often, names are read out in a hurried list with a quick thank you for all that they’ve done and this seems like a real shame, for what little time they get in the spotlight must surely be multiplied 100-fold in terms of the effort and support they had to give to enable the Oscar winner to do their job properly.
In thinking about this, I felt like I really wanted to put on record my version of thanks to the people around me who support, encourage and enable me to get my exercise ‘fix,’ which in the current season of life, is from running (whereas in the past, it has come from football and cricket).
First of all, my wife. While she doesn’t necessarily share my passion for physical exercise, or understand my seeking out of competition and challenge wherever I can find it, she does encourage me in my running, she celebrates and commiserates with me, and tries her hardest to understand what I do, why I do it and tolerates it! She’ll never be pushing me out of the door to get out of the house, at least I don’t think so, but I know that letting me go on a long weekend run is a sacrifice for her. She stays at home, looking after our two children full-time, so to then see me go off for a couple of hours at the weekend too, must be difficult at times.
I love that she is willing to look after the kids on her own that bit longer to enable me to go and get mucky on a long run at the weekend, and that she generally remembers to ask how it went when I get back!
She’s also far more realistic than I am. Her groundedness ensures I don’t end up running (or attempting to run!) weekly marathons and tempers my optimism – a match made in heaven!
Other key people I want to take the opportunity to thank include my good friends Phil and Tom, who both, in their own ways, motivate me to want to do better. I can’t put a finger on any one thing that they do, because its the result of a multitude of things, that work together to squeeze that little bit more effort out of me.
Some of this is to do with accountability (see a previous article I wrote reviewing the Endomondo and Strava apps for the smartphone) and some of it is to do with trying to impress them. I won’t lie, I do like to impress others. I guess as a teacher, it’s one of those little things that you kind of need in a way, a little scoop of peer recognition and acceptance. My friends who know me best know that I’ve always been at least a tiny bit of a show off and I can’t help myself sometimes…much to my wife’s embarrassment, when this trying to impress takes the form of me dancing like a hyperactive maniac on the dancefloor at a wedding reception (sorry!)
And another way my friends spur me on is that I want to beat them, haha! Whatever it is, I want to win…and usually I am content to just beat myself, but if there’s someone else I know in a race, or who’s beaten me over a segment on Strava (or has even just matched my time, Tom – Cripps Hill!), then I’ll be itching to get out again and try to better them!
Finally, I was just thinking about friends (Dave, Ed) and family (Greg, Jonny) who have given up their own time to transport me to and/or from races I’ve entered. It shouldn’t go without saying that I am so grateful for their willingness to sacrifice their own time to help me out in travelling to the start line, or getting me home again when I’ve ended up further away from home than I started (Greg and Jon at the Ely to Cambridge race!)
It is truly a wonderful thing they do, in that they are, by helping, supporting you and acknowledging your efforts. They stand in the cold, cheer you on for the briefest of moments, take pictures of you purely and simply for your own ego to swell, and provide camaraderie in a sea of unknown other runners, who all seem to have massive entourages, don’t they?!
So, to all of you, here’s a heartfelt thank you for how you’ve helped me in the past, and hopefully, you’ll continue to help me in the future. In addition, I’d like to offer my own help in return to you, whatever it happens to be for, whether running or otherwise!
So, in closing, who should you say a big thank you to? Even if it has nothing to do with running, maybe there’s someone who you’re overlooking, who could really benefit from you taking that moment to really appreciate them. In many cases, kind words are enough, and I know that I for one could and should give them more often.
Next up: The power of the blog!
keep on running,