‘No, I Can Push a Little Further’
There are certain moments in life where you learn a lot about yourself. They can be brief, fleeting moments that, if you’re not paying attention, can just fly right by without you noticing. I was lucky enough to be present when one of these moments happened for my Team Bangs on the Run member Sarah Mei over the weekend and it’s been replaying in my head ever since.
I met Sarah Mei last year when I was training for the first Team Bangs. We’d been following each other on Twitter for a while. She joked with me about how she could never run, never do what I was doing. I assured her if I could, she could. My attempts at persuasion fell on deaf ears. Every time I saw her and tried to convince her to get with Team Bangs, she’d laugh it off. Eventually, when I was picking the girls for Team Bangs 3, I finally managed to lock her down, but I knew the journey would not be easy.
It’s fair to say Sarah Mei has struggled with training. She started a blog called ‘I’m Running, I Promise’ to document her journey. I would read it and it seemed she was enjoying the Team Bangs experience, just not so much the running part. Over Christmas I watched as she seemed to be getting out there less and less. Now I was worried. I could tell she was really starting to panic about whether she’d be able to do this. Last week, I said she and I should go for a run together on Sunday. She’d only managed to run 1.6 miles at this point (a distance which is not to be sneezed at), but I knew she could do more.
Sunday morning, she came to my house bright and early, we jumped around a little bit on the street to warm up, then we were off. Slow and steady we went. Not a few minutes into it and Sarah Mei was telling me what was hurting. It was quite a list. I remember this from when I first started running. It’s not easy, your body hates you for a bit and it seems like every little thing hurts. I talked to her with every step, basically to try to distract her from the fact that she was actually running.
Before we knew it, we’d run 1.29 miles – the furthest she’d ever gone without stopping. We walked for 30 seconds when she got really tired. Then all of a sudden, we were at 2 miles. We kept going, me talking her ear off, she chiming in with the occasional nod or grunt. As we approached 3 miles, ‘the moment’ happened. Conscious that she was tired, I asked her if she needed a little walk break and Sarah Mei said ‘No, I can push a little further.’
Seven little words equal a massive moment.
I know that everything in her body at that time was telling her to stop, but she managed to override those feelings and make the decision to push herself further. It wasn’t easy, she was visibly struggling but when she said those words, my heart danced a little dance. I said there was something good coming up on our route and just like a sort of training angel, Mo Farah’s Nike ad for #MakeitCount was staring at us from a bus stop. ‘Don’t dream of winning, train for it,’ says Mo. We both smiled and high fived the sign.
When all was said and done, Sarah Mei, who thought she couldn’t run, ran 4.2 miles that day. The look on her face when we finished was priceless.
But there’s so much more to this than the running though. I know some people think I’m ‘preachy’ about running but it’s just genuinely that I know how it’s turned my life around and I want everyone to have that experience, even if it doesn’t come through running – I just hope that people find something they can connect to that gives them that feeling. I had my ‘No, I can push a little further’ moment on my second ever run. And here’s where I think even non-runners will relate – for me, it’s about applying that principle to every aspect of my life. What if, when I want to give up, I just pushed a little further, did a little more? On that project at work, with a friendship, with an idea I want to give up on, and yes, on that run I can’t be arsed to do – what if I just push that little bit further than I did last time? What could I be capable of?
Sarah Mei thought she was incapable of running more than 1.6 miles, but over the course of an hour, one random Sunday morning, she ran 4.2.
So, what could you do if you pushed yourself a little further?