Praise where it’s due…

This weekend I did my third 5km run. The last one I attempted was in April, and then I was stopped by a bout of pneumonia. So this weekend was a big step for me. I was trepidatious. I was nervous. I was not sure my legging would still fit; but I was pleasantly surprised. I had also mustered support from an online group called Run Mummy Run. Over 6000 women are part of this group across the country, a virtual running network. I tapped into this to gain the motivation and willpower to help me put one foot in front of another and actually get started on a run I had been putting off since I promised my mum I would take care of myself and not do anything to upset my chest and induce an asthma attack.

I headed off to Wolverhampton to meet up with like minded individuals who run because they feel a need. I wondered why I wanted to run and I realised it was simply to show I could push against the strait jacket of being trapped in health problems, work constraints and ridged schedules and routines. Ironic then that I was more than happy to latch onto a fellow runner who helped pace me as I ran. My goal was to finish and to not walk for the duration of the run.

I realised that the biggest support I needed wasn’t physical, it was psychological. I needed someone telling me that I was doing great, even if it was stretching the truth somewhat, someone telling me I could achieve this and I wasn’t going to walk; I could run the whole way, it was achieve able for me. By the time I crossed the finish line I felt physically exhausted but emotionally buoyed, I was 10 foot tall because I had achieved this amazing 5k!

When I got home, I logged onto the group page and when the results came through I posted my achievement: a personal best and my fastest run this year. I received so many comments of praise and support for my achievement. But I remembered the words of my pacer ” you could do this without my help, couldn’t you?” And I had a moment of pause. I’m really not sure. Just like the little ballet dancer with the magic shoes, I’m not sure I have the skills to pace myself yet. But I now know what I have to work on.

Because I’m a teacher I take everything back into school. This weekend has shown me how I’m preparing my year 11s. At the moment they rely on me, if we do an exam practise they constantly ask questions. I thought it was procrastination but I’m beginning to think it’s nerves and a lack of confidence. I need to empower and encourage them. I need to show them where they are strong and how they can build upon those strengths. I need to be their pacer and give them the skills to do this by themselves in the right time.

I was told during a teaching review that I teach English like a PE teacher, I’m beginning to see the truth in that. I’m also beginning to wonder when I can get out for another run…we have snow forecast for tonight.



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I have been teaching English for 20 years. HOD. T and L. Runner.

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