They say people walk into your life for a reason. In my case, someone ran into mine and left footprints in my heart forever. They inspired me to run.
I have always wondered what this running thing was about. Other than a #fitspo fad. I wanted to know what that feeling was when people say it feels amazing to get over the finish line or run 10kms or how they feel better when they “run it off”. Anyway, I also told myself “I could never run like that”. I was too unfit , I would get bored or just simply – I couldn’t. My friend’s enthusiasm was contagious. It was all he talked about, thought about and wrote about. I literally couldn’t run away from it. Yet I was inspired by the passion he had for it. It made me try it more. If he could do it, I could too right? And I haven’t looked back.
I am no expert of course, still very much a novice, and I don’t intend to be either. Because right now I am just enjoying discovering, challenging myself, #training and well, just running.
I started out with a small goal of working up to running the Bay Run (7kms) in whole and did this just by running as much as I could and walking as well. Once I ran a whole 5kms in one hit, I found myself wanting to do it all the time. My lesson here was the first 5 kms is the hardest, but once you get past that your legs kind of just take you. It’s not your legs that stop you during a run, it’s your mind. And at this point, you kind of just go into meditation. That’s the amazing “run it off” feeling. I have also learnt that if you don’t time yourself, and just run, next thing you know you have done it twice. And there is that feeling of “wow” as you realise you just did double what you never thought you could do.
Only a few months later – and not even in “training” mode, my girlfriend, who knows me well, challenged me to a Running Wild event in the beautiful Blue Mountains. I’ve always enjoyed walking and exploring in nature and the bush. It is unbelievably grounding for me. So last week I did it all. I threw myself in the deep end (as I have a tendency to do), I donned my first bib and completed a 16km run in the bush. #trailrun.
And let me tell you I LOVED IT! As sore as I was for the next 3 days, every aching muscle was accompanied with a ridiculous smile as I remembered the moments forging up SO SO many steep narrow stairs,manoeuvring rocks and trees and my ankles plunging deep into puddles. It was so exciting! Oh and I did it in just under 2 hours. That is a HUGE achievement for me.
So the long of running is, it is challenging, it is enduring – in time and on the body – and it requires training, good nutrition and recovery. If you want to be an expert, it requires passion, commitment and dedication. If you want to be healthy it requires rest and repair.
The short of it is, if you want to feel good about yourself, just try it. It is fun, surprising and exciting. It is very rewarding and is great exercise for the body and the mind just to be moving. The endorphins produced alone are enough to want to keep running at it!
But I guess the main message from me is, whatever it is you feel like you cannot do – just do it (Nike 1988). Because the ego I now have from completing that one trail run has me feeling like I can do anything. Truly.
I can challenge myself. I am not afraid of a challenge anymore. What’s the worst case? You will get to the finish line eventually. And I have found for me, running is my body’s most raw form of freedom.
I finally get the hype.