At school I was teased. A lot. Could it be called bullying? I don't know. I didn't think it was at the time. Children tease each other and can be down right cruel to each other so on balance I don't think it was serious bullying. It did however leave a scar. I have never been blessed with the sporty gene, in fact I don't know what genes I was blessed with. I was reasonably bright at school but didn't probably reach my full academic potential due to poor teaching and a healthy interest in boys and Duran Duran. I wasn't in with the cool girls - you know the ones - pretty girls who were sporty and petite. Being tall and gangly with no boobs wasn't a recipe for popularity at secondary school in 1982.
My worst momenst were in sports lessons, or P.E. as it was called. You may or may not know how it feels to be last to be picked for a netball or hockey team or ridiculed by the P.E. teacher for not having breasts (glimpses self running through post hockey showers clutching towel). Athletics was a hoot. I must have looked like Pheobe running through Central Park. No wonder the Rachel's of my school days thought I was funny!
The sporting attempts of my school days left me with the belief that I couldn't run. After Mr Moule was born and I was very over weight, I knew I had to do something which resembled exercise and so aerobics classes became my friend. That was aged 25 and I haven't stopped since, introducing gym and swimming and spinning and boxing and pump and................... everything except running. There was still a mental block about running. I looked at all the girls in the gym who were runners and thought "I want a piece of that"; never thought I could do it though.
Then my life changed when someone (Bare Faced and Blonde) was listening to my moaning at the gym and said "of course you can run". I thought she'd lost her mind! I came up with all sorts of reasons why I couldn't run like joint problems and shin splints and flat feet but Bare Faced and Blonde (BFAB) just looked at me as if to say "yeah right". Almost under the cover of dark I got on the treadmill and did what she told me. Boy was it hard work. All I could manage was 30 seconds running and 1 minute walking. This went on for about a month until I could manage 1 minute running and 30 seconds walking racking up 3 km. This was last January and by the end of February I was seeing no progress. "What you need is a goal" said BFAB. We booked the 5km Race for Life that evening which gave me 4 months to train. This race is literally a walk in the park for BFAB but she supported me all the way. It was booked and I couldn't let her down. Her life is not a walk in the park at the moment and I dedicated my race to her and her family.
Smultz over. BFAB had enough of my treadmill antics and her next plan was to get outside and see how different running was out of the gym. The result was 3km straight off! BFAB was almost at walking pace (she's a pro) but I was running. Actually running. With both feet off the ground and everything. The whole shebang. The adrenalin was flowing, I just couldn't believe it. How many times is that round the track I wondered. I did a 3km once more and then went straight for 5km on a route shown to me by BFAB. Religiously I ran 5km three times a week until the Race For Life with BFAB by my side.
This is us about 500m from the finish line. You may guess that I'm the taller one. Olive Oil I used to get called at school. I hated it at the time but now I wish I was that slim again. I didn't know how lucky I was at the time. And I'm not THAT tall, a nice 176cm.
Since the race I have kept up my running, my next goal being to run 10km. Slowly slowly does it.The fittness side is a bonus but the most important change has been mentally. I'm not saying that now I think I can conquer anything, but I have grown in self confidence. Pushing myself in to something that I was convinced I could never do has taught me that I don't have to believe what other people say about me. Really it is up to me to find what is inside, no one else can tell me who I am or define me. With my life changing so rapidly from one stage to another, my children growing up and some of them leaving home, this self belief could not have come at a better time. Move over Forest Gump, Kate is going for a run!