I love watching people run. People of all shapes and sizes out moving in the most natural way is beauty to me. I may not have always thought this… but I think it now. I truly appreciate how wonderful it is to get out and run... and I appreciate just how courageous a person has to be to take those first steps. After all for some it’s more than just the heavy breathing or the sweat dripping from their faces or the humbling affects of age… it’s overcoming the self consciousness of not feeling your best… of feeling out of your element… feeling old… of maybe carrying around that extra weight that snuck up on you after years of neglect, but getting out there anyways… courageous… and I see them. I see people running on occasion that do not fit the typical runners mold and if I didn’t think I would get smacked or be misunderstood, I would want to encourage them… I want to yell “You look awesome! Keep it up!”… but no matter how sincere my intentions, I doubt it would be taken well… so I don’t say a word. How do I know some people feel a little self conscious or intimidated to go out and run? Maybe I’m not entirely certain… but I suspect it because that’s exactly how I felt when I started running… out of shape and out of my element. I’ve also had conversations that reveal a lot… with friends… with co-workers… and with strangers… this past weekend was a good example.
I spent a few hours this past Sunday morning helping Team World Vision get ready for the upcoming running season by manning a table at my church. My roll was to answer questions and get people interested in signing up to be part of the running team that would run the LA Half and Full marathon to raise money for clean water in Africa. I wasn’t alone though… I had a few friends with me, so it turned into a pretty good time. But we each did our part… answered questions… encouraged people to sign up and get more info, but not surprisingly we heard a lot of reasons why they couldn’t or didn’t want to run… none of it being lack of desire mind you. The reasons ranged from bad knees to lack of time, but most of the reasons stemmed from some form of self consciousness. The “I’m a terrible runner” came up a few times… “I can’t run” was another popular one… but surprisingly, the most common one was “I’m not a runner”. What does that mean? I think our group may have looked intimidating to some… not certain. But they were willing to come up to take a look, just not commit. What I actually heard in those responses was… “I’m not fit “looking” and I think people will laugh and stare at me if I run and I’m afraid to be the worst one so I won’t even try”… Maybe I’m not entirely accurate, but I bet I’m close.
There were a few though that signed up… a few people that weren’t so sure when they walked up, but was lent enough encouragement to take that first step… none of them runners… but willing to run… courageous I say… and I will be proud to have helped them in a small way… the beautifully courageous…
Anyone want to go running with me?