I’m a therapist who loves working with 20 (and 30)- something new Yorkers working to make changes in their lives.
Basically, Brittany would be a perfect client. I’d love to meet her.
As a therapist and a runner (and having seen the movie already twice in the theater, haha), I’ve had some Therapy For Runners-type reflections.
No big* spoilers… but by the end of the movie, Brittany has figured a lot of shit out. She’s gotten her goals and priorities in line and, at the core of it all, has realized how to trust and rely on others. Oh, and she ran a marathon.
*okay, maybe some general theme spoilers. But the title of the movies says she runs a marathon, so I figure that’s a given.
While watching- and as one of the 50,000 people in the movie shown actually running the 2017 NYC Marathon (and contrary to the news reporter in the movie, the runners did NOT love the rain. smh)… there’s a lot the movie gets right. As a therapist in Brooklyn, there are definitely some parts that are a bit of hollywood magic. I tell my clients (and remind myself, regularly) that there is no easy button. I’ve seen a lot of blow back in various running forums online about the movie not being very realistic in terms of Brittany’s transformation. Going from barely running one block, to running a marathon… in that timeframe, may be a bit of a stretch. But in those scenes, there’s a lot that IS CORRECT. At least for a runner like me (and maybe for a runner, or future-runner, like you). I was never athletic, running did NOT come naturally. Since I’ve been running now for about 7 years, and have done 2 marathons and more halfs than I can count… I had forgotten what getting started was like. But the movie brought it all back. I remember downloading one of the couch to 5k type of apps, leaving my apartment in Bed-Stuy and slowly way walk-running maybe a 4 block radius. It was slow, not fun, scary, terrible and overwhelming and all.the.things! But I did it. And each day I went out there, maybe I went a bit further, or it felt a bit easier… maybe.
Making a big change in your life (whether it’s starting running, or making other changes) is never a direct A-to-Z line. It will be all over the place. Sometimes going forward, but many times going backwards or in ever-frustrating circles. There will be challenges, barriers, successes, distractions, good days, and bad days. Many days when you won’t want to trudge through the hard stuff. A lot of days when it would be easier not to have to do it all alone. That’s where I feel like there could have been a good role in Brittany Runs A Marathon for the support of a therapist. [raises hand, I’ll be your therapist, Brittany].
Brittany was a clear success story in the movie. She gets fit & strong, changes her life, improves friendships and romantic relationships, AND runs a marathon. I’m not saying that I think all of that is impossible, I know for sure that it’s not. I just know that it’s a hell of a lot harder than the movie makes it seem. And I’m gonna keep working to motivate myself to make positive changes in my own life, and keep working with people to help them be more of the self they really want to be.
I’m really excited about the future of Therapy For Runners, and some new ideas that have been percolating. A lot of what’s in the works is a better way to help support more people enact these big, positive changes in their lives. Stay tuned for more information coming soon (before 2020). Feel free to sign up for the newsletter below (I don’t send a lot of emails, don’t worry). As always, feel free to reach out to me anytime.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about above… here’s the Brittany Runs A Marathon movie trailer:
And for fun, here’s a before & after pic from my 2017 marathon day: