Last week, I was away for work and started talking to some business collegues about running and they asked about how I run so much and I replied that to me, it’s not that much. What is “normal” shifts easily. And what was painful and seemed impossible last week, month or year, can seem completely do-able with some hard work.
I realized, I have never written about my background and it’s important to share how I got here. I didn’t run in high school, in fact I didn’t participate in any physical activity. In university, I also didn’t participate in any organized sports but slowly realized that I wanted be able to run. I had started going to the gym a few times a week but usually just for half an hour to use the elliptical and that was it. So my challenge was to force myself to run.
I would get all dressed and go out for 3km, run as fast as I could and be back at my apartment in 15 minutes. For at least a year, that was it. I had never run more than 10km and didn’t think I possibly could. Then I was talking to a friend who told me that our mutual friend (who didn’t run), had just gone out one day on a whim and run 13km and I clearly remember thinking “wow, 13km, I could never make it that far”.
But that 13km stuck in my head. I realized that I could push myself to go farther. After I graduated university, I signed up for my first half-marathon (in 2011). To me, that was an unfathomable distance. I didn’t know what a training plan was. I just went out and would run as far as I could and then go home. I would run at full speed ALL. THE. TIME. and a couple of times, I pushed myself to run over 20km on runs. There was an exhaustion that came with this that I have never experienced anything similar to since. I would be sitting in a chair and not be able to keep my eyes open because I was so physically exhausted. But there was also an enormous sense of satisfaction that came with training for my first half-marathon. That was the beginning of a relationship with running that has given me more than I would have ever imagined.
Being able to run distances I never thought I would be capable of is so empowering. I have learned that my body can do things I never believed I would be able to do. That belief in myself has shown itself in every part of my life since then. That I am able to push myself to keep improving and continue to go father and faster, is with me always.
I’ll save how I got from half-marathon to ultra for another post!
What keeps you motivated?