Half marathon inspiration...
You may be looking at the cover image and be wondering what a painting of Candice Brathwaite has got to do with running a half marathon. Well let me explain...
During lockdown I started running. It’s a longer story as to how I got to that point, which I’ll save for another day, but I basically went from being a non-runner to chasing down sub 30 minute 5kms and pushing my legs to move further and faster than they had ever gone before.
I’m not a planner. Much like how my paintings are created on the canvas in front of me, without any prior sketching, blocking out or thoughts as to what I want it to look like, my running has been equally haphazard and spontaneous. I never followed the couch to 5km app, I just tried to run that far. Each time I set off I just see what my legs and my mind feel like doing that day.
So one Monday, I set off and wondered if I could make it 21km/13.1miles, aka a half marathon. The furthest I’d run before that was 12.8km, in the pouring rain, but that Monday my mind was in the right place and my legs felt good and I just went. I normally listen to music when running to spur me on. Something with a good beat that will power me up the inclines. But I knew if I wanted to run a half I’d need to pace myself better, as someone who tends to leg it and then run out of steam! So instead I chose a podcast.
Portrait of Layla Saad
I’ve been a big fan of Layla Saad’s ‘Good Ancestor Podcast’ since I first discovered it a few months ago. She's the most wonderful person to listen to and has brilliantly inspiring guests. I chose the episode with the fabulous Candice Brathwaite and the kilometres just slipped by whilst I absorbed the wisdom of these two beautiful souls.
Rather than thinking about being tired I was totally involved in their conversation. Mostly it revolved around motherhood and particularly, the experience of being a black mother. Whilst I found becoming a mother hard, and beyond what I expected, I also came to understand that I did so from a very privileged position, without extra concerns placed upon me by race. I never felt judged by the other (all white) mothers at playgroups. My only concern when choosing their names was 'did they sound nice?' rather than 'can other people pronounce them?' or 'will they hold them back in the future?' I am raising them knowing that the police are there to keep them safe, free of the worry that the opposite might be more accurate.
Whilst I find music super inspiring, what I needed to propel me round that run, was to get lost in the words and thoughts of two brilliant and intelligent women so my thoughts weren’t with my feet or the distance I had yet to travel, but absorbed in the issues they were discussing. In the episode, Candice is very open and honest about her experience and I would recommend you all give this particular episode a listen
Portrait of Candice Brathwaite
Candice's book "I Am Not Your Baby Mother" has been on my reading list for a while but I'm so slow at getting round to reading. As much as I love a good read, I find I start books then go months without reading so end up with a stack on my bedside table with bookmarks halfway through. I will now be making it my priority to get round to reading Candice’s book!
I find it great to open myself up to new conversations, chat with new people, to new places, as you just never know where your inspiration is going to come from. I’d love to hear what has inspired you recently. Let me know in the comments below!