My dad used to always joke that the world’s shortest book written is a list of Jewish sporting achievements.
Growing up in an environment where academic achievements were celebrated and sporting success considered pointless, I didn’t realise until my 30s how much I had internalised this message. It’s not like I had some latent athletic talent I was forced to suppress. I was a nerdy dyspraxic, 5 foot nothing teen in glasses and braces – the ultimate picked last for team sports cliche. More than happy to fake yet another period and hide out in the changing rooms with a book while the ‘shiksa princesses‘ swung their shiny ponytails and snatched our school yet another netball victory.
My PE teachers quickly noticed I wasn’t worth bothering trying to encourage and pretty much left me and my Merry band of misfits to our own devices. Sport or any form of physical activity never really crossed my mind since then. I lie. There were a few half-arsed attempts to join a gym with dreams of becoming some tight-bodied kale munching health goddess. Unfortunately, after seeing my red face in the mirror at induction I never went back.
It wasn’t until I went to centre parcs with my boyfriend’s family (sporty and non-dysfunctional so basically the opposite of mine) that I was like ‘people literally do sport for fun and bonding and not just under duress?’ Mind-blowing. Is this warm glow I’m feeling endorphins? I like this.
So how did I fall in love with running? I mean, it literally took a global pandemic to get me off my arse and onto the grass. What started as an ‘oh I’ll try this’, became a lifesaver through some tough times. I remember the achievement I felt on my first km without stopping and now I’m doing 5k with ease (and if that ain’t a metaphor for SCA…).
Ironically since I’ve started SCA it’s dwindled down to once a week if I’m lucky – hello early starts and late nights. But every time I lace up those admittedly getting holey now trainers and sprint out the door I feel I’m coming back to myself. I’m hoping in the summer to join the hardcore and run the 9 miles into school, but I’ve got a while to go yet.