There are triggers that get us started and motivators that keep us going. They are not always the same thing. My writing this year is often triggered by something I’ve read and so it is today. That shouldn’t be too surprising when the theme for this year is physical activity and it’s a popular subject.
A few years back, I suddenly wanted to run. That was a surprise. An intense dislike of running was entrenched by the age of six. Our small country school, with a total of 30 students spread across seven grades, met regularly with other small schools for a combined sports carnival. This ensured that children were able to compete with others of the same age. Interesting that someone thought it appropriate for children to compete at age levels as if that’s an equitable measurement of skill. Compare that with the effort in Paralympics to ensure equity across and within types of disabilities. Yet we deliberately traumatise children by forcing them every year to run 100m against someone they know is 110 times better than they could ever be.
There were three runners in my very first race. 1966. Two of us would get a shiny medal. I still have mine. But I also have this vivid memory of looking back to see this strange duck waddle action of the poor kid behind me. Next time, she wasn’t there. There were only two runners. This meant both were guaranteed a shiny medal. I still have mine. But I now equate coming second with coming last.
During high school, there was a conspiracy on the 100m track. We all knew that one of the handful of runners was school champion. She’d broken so many local records and competed at state levels. Rather than embarrassing ourselves for the entire length of the track, someone suggested we run as a pack until a certain point and then everyone for themselves. We all agreed. It was the most enjoyable race I’d ever taken part in – up to that point.
Rowena Grant-Frost wrote in Frankie (Issue 51 Jan/Feb 2013) that she started running because she was anxious – “cripplingly anxious” is how she described it. After some research, she decided to run because it would get her outside but in a structured way and she wouldn’t have to talk to people. The first lasted about 20 metres. At the time of her writing, she was up to 6 kilometres. What keeps her motivated? She says it’s that moment when she wins out over her mind after it cries out to stop. On the days when her mind wins, she just gets more determined to try again.
My desire to run in spite of past disappointment is nothing as noble or inspiring as Rowena’s. It took a re-run of Doctor Who for the penny to drop. I wanted to run because in the new series, episode after episode, the tension built to its crescendo and the cry went out – “RUN”. But the writers went further. They insisted, repeatedly, that it was fun to run.
I did once put on some joggers and managed about 20 metres. I had a trigger, albeit unrealised at the time. Unlike Rowena, there was no motivator; once was all I managed.
Now that I understand the trigger, it’s time to test some motivators. The first test subject will be the crescendo. I will keep an eye out for crescendo moments, both good and bad, that I might use to motivate a burst of running, however short initially.
If it works, then not only can I attribute my apprehension of indoor plants to Doctor Who but also a new found appreciation for running.
Where would running fit with my Sweat Cards?
The Hearts suit represents activities from the past that deserve a return to life’s stage. A couple of unavoidable races once a year and the occasional PE class did not a memorable affair make. On the other hand, Doctor Who was centre stage as soon as I was old enough to make some sense of it.
Hearts it is.