Few years ago, I had an ideal notion of what a runner was like-sporty, one who makes running a career, joins serious marathon of 42 km stretch, heavily toned muscles, owns all sorts of branded running shoes and updates himself with the latest high tech gadget to boost his passion for running.
Well….. I’m none of the above. And I don’t own any of those. But I consider myself a runner. I only have two reliable Nike running shoes, an old light pocket sized mp3 player and a handy smart phone that keeps me hooked up with Runkeeper- an app that calculates my distance, time and calories lost. That’s all.
As a matter of fact, I discovered only the joy of running in my late 40’s which is kinda late. But after poisoning myself with toxic chemicals of cigarettes for six years, I decided to wage war on smoking and successfully winning the battle so far. Thereafter, I mustered the courage to turn over a new leaf- a smart shift to healthy lifestyle. It was then when running became a part of my rigid twice a week grind. Translated as, if I miss a weekday run- I make up for the weekends.
Long time ago, running was utterly improbable for me since I wasn’t fit for any strenuous exercise due to asthma that I battled with since I was in 2nd grade. Oh well, in as much as the spirit was willing, but the flesh was literally weak too.Until one day, I just felt like somebody smacked me in the head that I imagined seeing stars moving around my head ( minus a little bird flying ) like in cartoons urging me to take a look at the flabs around my hips, sagging arms and a big chunk of abdominal fat jiggling like a jello . So I tried brisk walking. I thought, what the heck! So I did. At least for a couple of years.
The challenged then was that I undermined myself that brisk walking was all what I was only capable of until I told myself, “No, wait a second. I think I can do more than this.” I knew I could.” Surprisingly, you wouldn’t imagine what one’s will power and determination can do. Guess what? I did it. I ran my first kilometer accomplishment that I almost celebrated treating my colleagues some ice cream except that icecream will make me gain more calories( not good for a new runner then.)
Moreover, I didn’t just limit myself to running but I crossed trained in badminton as well. I admit, beating the drum about this small feat is not about physical strength and agility but the minuscule step I attempted was the beginning of my love affair with running. It was literally love at first try.
Did you know that finishing the first 5 km (3.10 mi) run is as rewarding as passing a board examination that after going through a rigorous six month review period- you reach the feeling of completion of your end goal.
My jaw dropped once I read about a Nike running commercial slogan that says “What are you running for?” That’s a good question actually. Well, initially for me, to keep me away from smoking that’s the official and the unofficial ( and the truth) to lose weight.
However, as I was getting the hang of running, I noticed that things have started to change. I’m loving every single moment…every stride…. and every kilometer I pass… moments of solitude…communing with nature… wind touching my face… crisp winter air… sun rays touching my skin… music pounding into my ears and Runkeeper”s nagging voice uttering a resounding “activity completed!” And most of all, I cherish the chance to whisper a small prayer or the time to thank God for His goodness as I pound pavements.
These are more than enough reasons to motivate me get on my feet every Saturday morning. All of these surpassed the physical benefits of running. Running has become more of a joy into my soul and a test of my character, will power, endurance and determination.
I run not only during bright sunny days. I run in sub-zero temperatures, scorching heat, light snowy day, drizzling, tired from work, busy, feeling blue, ecstatic, in love
( that makes me run fast) and heart broken( that makes me run even faster.)
I go straight ahead, all the way round, change route, go short cut, uphill and then downhill- ( which is the best -my cloud nine.) It doesn’t matter where my feet direct me. I just take my running shoes and off I go.
Running ( or any physical strenuous activity) defines one’s character. How well can you endure hurdles to push yourself to the limit. Sounds parallel to our perspective about life, doesn’t it? Would you quit when challenges get in the way or would you stay on steady course?
After falling in love with running, my honeymoon with it comes when running reminds me every time that “ Life is not a sprint. It is more like a marathon.” It’s not how fast you go but how far can you go. Don’t get conscious of how you’d design your future, plan your week or how you’re going to fill up your day. Just go with the flow. You’ll never know what’s going to be like tomorrow and where will it lead you.
John Bingham, the American Marathon runner said “ If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There’s no test to pass. No license to earn. No membership card to get. You just run.”
Take the challenge. Just run. Or do whatever you want to do. Go where the wind takes you. But enjoy the twirl. Then see how far can you go.