Running is for Every BODY

Theodore Roosevelt said “comparison is the thief of all joy.” Yet every day we runners compare ourselves to everyone else. To their times, to their distances, but more often to their bodies. How often I have looked in the mirror and said to myself ‘I just do not feel like I look like a runner because I don’t look like [insert fast girl name here!].’

I was very reluctant to be a part of the cover shoot for this magazine. When Ben and I got together to discuss where we saw this issue headed he said to me, ‘you know people just don’t need to see another skinny blonde on the cover.’ I looked in the mirror, and yup, I’m another skinny blonde runner!

Being on the cover was not just to have another skinny blonde on there (!), it was for me to face my fears and be comfortable posing for the camera. It probably does not seem like it but I do not like to be the centre of attention. Nor do I even like it when I’m standing in front of a camera; I feel like all eyes are judging me. Then put me on the cover of a national magazine, so many more eyeballs to judge me! I’m afraid. I’m afraid of sending the wrong message. I’m afraid of not looking the part. I’m afraid I’m just not good enough.

In the end we are all our own worst critics. We judge ourselves for all the things we think we cannot do. We judge ourselves for all the things we are afraid to do. We let the negative cloud the positive. Instead of thinking about all the things we do, and more importantly the things we do well, we dwell on the things we cannot do or fail to do.

Ben and I decided early on that this issue was about positivity. This issue was not really about body image, though in a way there just was no escaping that. This issue is about celebrating our personal victories. This is issue is about looking at yourself and saying ‘I am a runner.’ This is issue is about changing the conversation (hopefully for the better) as to what the ideal running body is.

Over the weeks watching the stories come in, the people who reached out, and especially the wonderful people who volunteered for our photo shoot, my heart swelled with so much love, gratitude, and respect. One gentleman stands out. The morning after the USports Championships I was walking early to the coffee shop. It was a typical Victoria morning, dark, drizzly and cool. Bundled up, hood over my toque I heard this faint call ‘Sasha.’ I turned around and met a gentleman who told me how my blog meant so much to him. When I wrote my blog, I selfishly wrote it for me to feel better. Knowing that it helped just one more person made my writing so much more worthwhile.

The next time you head out for a run, or if you’re thinking about starting to try the sport of running, do it because you love you. Go for a run for the sense of freedom. Go for a run to know you are part of a community that loves and respects you. Propel yourself forward, one foot after the other, and celebrate all the things that make you who you are.

… Because running is for everybody.