Chapter 7: The power of the gawp.

Up until this point, I still hadn’t managed to run 5k without stopping, walking or generally gasping for breath and I was still running alone under my own steam and motivation. I’d experienced problems with earphones, GPS, but worst of all knees!

My next run was the day after my 44th birthday. The night before I’d gorged on Chinese takeaway and drunk enough gin to fill a distillery. I’d discovered my happy running place just a few days previous and knew that if I didn’t go out running whilst I was still at the coast then I’d be home the next day, back running on the old busy B-road, which in comparison to a seafront jaunt is not very appealing.

So the old trainers came out again and off I went, plodding down the seafront, oozing raspberry gin and chicken kung-po as I went. I avoided the community hall which for some reason had been the source of a mental block a few days before, and instead headed down the side of the park.

All was going really well, in fact surprisingly easy considering my new age and the previous evenings unhealthy alcohol and food intake. That was until I reached a road junction. A car was driving past me and the old man driving (I use the term ‘man’ loosely) slowed his car right down and proceeded to gawp at me in an unnerving manner.

My mind started going into negative overload. I know I’m not fast and I know I resemble a beetroot in more ways than one when I’m running, but do I actually look so bad? Am I an embarrassment to myself? After all, I’m no spring chicken anymore and having 3 children in a short period of time has taken its toll on my figure. Perhaps I shouldn’t be out there on the roadside if I’m such a distraction? I carried on running, my thoughts running wild. I genuinely didn’t know what I’d done to deserve such a gawp.

I got back home and reflected. I desperately needed positive thoughts to kick in, otherwise my general reluctance to run would overtake any future desire to put my old trainers back on again.

After a lot of soul searching I eventually decided that even if I did look comedic, at least I was out there giving it a go. My health was improving and my family were proud of what I’d achieved so far. That in itself is worth more to me than any old man staring at me from a clapped-out car. Who knows, perhaps he was jealous. Perhaps he was thinking “if she can, I can”. Or perhaps I even inspired him to put on some old trainers and get out there himself.

I started this blog in the hopes that if I can inspire at least one person to give it a go then I’d be happy. If he is the one then my work is done, however I strongly suspect that he isn’t and so I will continue on this writing journey until I definitely know I have achieved what I set out to.

Am I alone in such an experience, I think not. I’d genuinely love to know how others overcome such confidence bashes. I could keep running under the cap but one day I’d like to run tall and proud.

One day I’ll do that, and until that day I’ll ignore that man, his gawp and the feeling he gave me and keep plodding at my pace. Its my race after all.

To be continued…..

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