There have been several incidents recently that have made me rather sad
- Sports Personality of the year (SPOTY) nomination list having a narrow range of sports and no women
- Liz Jones article “Sinewy arms are NOT a good thing – and neither is sport“
- UKs women are the fatest in Europe
Other people have written articulate responses to the first two issues including Chrissie Wellingtons about SPOTY and Katherine Wyld response to the Liz Jones’ article. I am probably not as articulate as them but feel I need to write down just some of my thoughts & feelings. My feelings are heavily influenced by my obese, unfit, unsporty past and fit, sporty present.
Sport or physcial challenges undeniably changes you, it changes you body aesthetically but also it affects your health, mental and physical. Yes there are moments that are uncomfortable/self conscious/uncertain/painful but just one small achievement, of reaching a perceived unreachable goal, or feeling completely alive is enough to far outweigh any negatives. By putting myself in uncomfortable situations I expand my comfort zone and gain so much that I can’t articulate it all. Sport has made me mentally stronger and taught me about myself, about others and about the variety and beauty that life has to offer.
I have met and become aware of incredible people who have inspired me to achieve what I thought I couldn’t. I used to think that other people can run I can’t. Me? run 5km? you must be having a laugh I am fat and unfit and can barely run to the end of the road. Following encouragement from friends and slowly increasing my running I ran 5km. Me? run 10k? yeah right, I could barely run the 5km, some encouragement and having a bit of fun running outside, I ran 10km and finished with a grin on my face. Me run the Bath half marathon in March 2012? who knows if I will be able to but I know that I am enjoying trying. I have days when I don’t want to go for a run or get on my bike but something pushes me out the front door and into the world and I come back sweaty and grimey but with a grin on my face.
I am aware of so many incredible athletes that have strengths (mental and physical) that inspires me to push just that one last time when I feel like giving up. Twitter is a great social network for connecting people with similar passions and interests but may never meet physically. I have never met Chrissie Wellington (but would love to) her achievements (4 times Ironman World Champion) are incredible. 2 years ago I would have said Chrissie who? and would have thought Ironman was just a film. An Ironman is a triathlon consisting of 2.4-mile (3.9 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.3 km) bike and finished with a marathon (42.2km) run. I would never have thought that I would even consider training for a marathon let alone a Ironman and yet here I am contemplating both.
I don’t find my body aesthetically attractive, I could probably point out more faults than the harshest critic. I have a large (5ft9/10ish) broad un-femine frame, I have excess skin on pretty much every part of my body, large calves from running and cycling. I have a rather large and continually increasing collection of scars. My shoulders are wonky, I have a metal button in one shoulder and a bent collarbone on the other but despite all of this I think that my body is amazing. I abused it for years with bad nutrition and inactivity but with dedication and training it is capable of running over 10km where I used to struggle to climb 2 flights of stairs.
To me sports are an antidote to modern lifestyle of sitting at a computer in a air-conditioned work environment. Sports give you a passion for personal improvement. We wonder why we have an obesity crisis but with people putting out negative impressions of sport and not main-stream media not highlighting the variety of sports out there how can people be inspired to simply move more and experience life.