Saturday, 31 May 2014

Finishing a 5.6km run - What's the take-away?

Being a participant for several years in one of the corporate challenges, I have always been thankful to the organizers that they did not insist on people running the entire 5.6km. Options have been available for people to walk, run and walk or just run. They encourage people to participate in the event.

Image Source : Google Images
Not being much of a runner all these years, I used to anyhow run the initial kilometer or two, then walk or brisk walk for another 2-2.5 km and then run the final length. And all this with zero prior preparation or training.

This year, however, it was different. I was terribly inspired, you see. Inspired by various people and their sticking to their gruelling regimen. Also, they were encouraging and helpful by giving me plenty of advice and guidance. I finally made up my mind to run.

I came across various running programs which promised that I could easily run 5k in so many weeks or 10k in so many weeks as long as I followed the given regimen. After much deliberation I settled on one which looked achievable to some extent.

The first day I started with the regimen, I could not jog beyond 500meters and then it was panting time for me. I came back home and put a tick mark. Two days later, I decided to add another few meters and it worked. That was the game changer for me and also the biggest motivator. From then on, I started to add just a few meters to my circuit every other day. As the results were almost immediate, the motivation was very strong. I also started to pay more attention to my eating habits and sleep cycles.  Caught in a positive cycle, I started to actually enjoy the early morning dates with my running shoes, cool breeze and dripping sweat. 

Days passed and I found that I no longer went out of breath while climbing staircases, could run like hell in case I am late for a movie without being zapped out and here's the most delicious part of all -I had to get some of my clothes altered to a smaller size! In fact, I observed that I took every opportunity that came by, to get some exercise. A poster of Nick Vujicic asking "Are you going to finish strong?", which I saw every morning without fail, inspired me a great deal. The running clinic also helped in it's own way.

This time too, I enrolled for a walking slot in the challenge, despite having reached the capability to jog for about 4.5 km without break. 
Image Source : Google Images

Finally, the day of the challenge dawned and I was ready to test my limits. As the event was flagged off, I promised myself that I would run to the maximum extent possible.

All I did while running was to keep speaking encouraging words to myself, not be distracted by those who zoomed by me or those I jogged past, and to continue at my pace steadily chewing up meter after meter. 

Every time, I passed the various kilometer milestones, my resolve only became stronger. I had to finish strong. There's no other way.

When at last I reached the finish line, I found that I had neatly shaved off around 10mins from my previous years' attempts and that I had not stopped anywhere, including at the water stations. The satisfaction I got that day by running the entire 5.6k without a break and without being tired, made me feel like a real finisher and worthy of keeping the finisher T-shirt that was given out by the organizers. Earlier, I used to give away those T-shirts.

Do I feel I have achieved something? Yes, I do. My main take-away has been that, I was able to and continue to surmount certain mental & physical blocks. I see some positive changes in myself which weren't there before. I also found that the realization and change has to come from within. Only then will the external inspiration and motivation find their mark.

Am I motivated to continue? Of course, I am! More than ever.

Am I aiming for longer distances? Yes. I am.

Image Source : Google Images

Am I aiming to switch the two creatures in the below picture? Yes, I am. :)

Image source : Google Images

Here's a shout out to all those who have inspired and encouraged me (including Nick Vujicic) - "A big thank you. Couldn't have done it without you"