When do you stop keeping up and just move forward?

I received notification that my blog has turned 4 years old. Wow! 4 wonderful years of sharing my running ups and downs, my race stories, my work stresses, the joys of my weekends and sometimes, my inner most thoughts.

Reading my very first blog post made me quite teary-eyed. I started a blog to share my frustrations with being such a slow runner. The more I hated my slow pace, the more I loved blogging about it. With each and every race, I was learning more and more about myself. My running forced me to step back and look at what it all meant to me and what was important in life.

But looking back and reminiscing about some of my favourite blog posts, something has started to niggle me…

Two Oceans half marathon 2008

This was me crossing the finish line at the 2008 Two Oceans 8km fun run.

During the 4 years of blogging so much has changed, not only in my life but with my running too. In fact, my running has improved. Dramatically.

What started out as being a frustration and the source of many (many, many) blog posts, I’m not that slow runner anymore. I can confidentially say that I can now run a half marathon in under 3 hours. Comfortably. In fact, my next goal is to run it in under 2:40.

Sarens half marathon Tanya Kovarsky

Running with Comrades green number runner Tanya Kovarsky at this year’s Sarens half marathon. My time: 2:44

So then what’s been niggling at me you ask? Well, it’s what I say about my running. It’s how I talk about my blog. And it’s how I introduce myself on the various social media profiles.

I use words like “slow” and “trying to run faster than 8 minutes per km”. I keep saying I’m a 3 hour half marathon runner. Really? I keep holding onto something that I’ve grown out of and it’s holding me back. “I am what I speak” and I need to stop harping on about my so-called slow pace. I need to change the way I speak, because I’m most certainly not acting like that anymore. And if I’m going to achieve my next goal, I need to speak it into being.

I need to start telling people that I’m —“this close”— to running a half marathon in under 2:40. Because I am. I can feel it, it will happen. Soon!

I will never move forward and reach my goals if I continue to hang out in my past with all my failures.

I love the name of my blog and won’t change it. Keeping up with the Walkers and managing the stresses of life is still very much part of me. And no matter what my pace is, running continues to teach me so much about just that! But I need to listen to my gut and start being proud of my achievements. I am a great runner and yes, I can run in under 8 mins/km!

I haven’t updated any bio’s just yet. Watch this space.

Conversations about stone

Chatting to my running Coach one evening after training, I asked him just how long it would take for me to run faster. He gave me the cheesiest of answers. “Bron, it’s like the artist who works on a marble sculpture. It takes time. Every time you get out there and run, we’re chipping away at that statue.” Pffft, I thought.

But after just 3 months of hard training, I’m starting to see the sculpture forming…

When I started, I was the stone with lots of unwanted rock and baggage. Over the weeks, the Coach has been busy with the “roughing out” stage of the sculpting process by supplying me with a training schedule which toggles between easy runs and quality training.

Using a chisel, texture is being added every time I step out on to the track and road to run. It may not seem like a lot when you’re counting mere seconds, but my running log book has shown me just how far this art work has come.

The warm up lap before we train used to take me a good 25 minutes to complete, it now takes me on average 17 minutes. I used to run 400m in 2:54, then 2:50, 2:42; 2:31 and now I’m clocking 2:26. I even ran (and did not walk) 15,2kms on a cool Monday evening recently as a support to a fellow runner training for Tough One.  I can even almost touch my toes!

If I have to honestly look back to where I was when I started and to where I am today, it a huge difference.Constantine's The Great Foot

My Coach, the sculptor, has changed me, the stone, from a rough block into the general shape of an un-finished statue. Various tools are now being used to enhance this shape into its final form. The chipping away takes time but it has to be right. You can’t rush these things but the wait is so worth it!

We often don’t take time to reflect on the work we’ve put in because we’re so focussed on the goal ahead. But to really appreciate our efforts, it helps to pause every so often, catch our breaths and take stock.

The final stage of the carving process is polishing. I’ve got a long way to go ’till I get to this stage, but I’m not rushing things. Remember Bron, you’re like a marble sculpture.