Today, ladies and gentlemen, is a record-breaking day! Yours truly just ran the furthest she has ever run (in one go) in her entire life: 20km. That’s a milestone not only because I did it without any real break from start to finish but because I was struggling so much in the beginning I had contemplated pulling out of the training.
A week earlier, I caught the flu and was hacking/coughing/sneezing my way through the week. But training would have to go on as usual this weekend simply because skipping it would mean needing even more time to get back to full capacity later on.
The thing I’ve learned through the years of karate, running, etc. is that as far as building strength and stamina are concerned, consistency is key and procrastination is just a high interest mortgage you inevitably have to pay in full. Time is always on loan to us; if you were able to steal away some training time today, you can expect to spend more time tomorrow to get the same result.
Enough analogies and metaphors. The bottom line is that I went ahead with the training.
But the short spells of dizziness settled in early as I set off at East Coast Park with my running buddy, Mark. This is not an unfamiliar sensation to anyone trying to do strenuous exercise just after recovering from sickness, surely. But it got so bad during the first few kilometres that I had seriously considered putting a halt to the day’s training. To paraphrase Andre Agassi, I didn’t want to write checks that my body couldn’t cash. If I weren’t at 100% yet, why risk it and try for 20 km at this juncture?
But here’s another thing I’ve learned: things are seldom as hard as they may first appear. While the going could be rough at the start, and sometimes rough enough to to tempt you into calling it quits, if you persevere through that rough patch you will often be surprised at how much easier it gets thereafter — and how quickly.
At around the 7km mark, I started to hit a steady pace and the legs finally did what they were supposed to do (read: born to run!). In a few fleeting moments, my mentality had changed from “should I tell Mark I can’t go on anymore?” to one that was solely focused on finishing the 20 km we had set out to run.
It seemed unthinkable that just a few moments ago I had even contemplated stopping. Funny how, once you just persevere long enough, the rest of the path opens up for you.
To be fair, it wasn’t all roses and lilies for the rest of the run. I’ll admit that in the last 1 kilometre I was reduced to singing “5 little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell off and bumped his head, 4 little monkeys… etc.”
Anything to tide you till the finish line, you know?
So, lesson du jour is: things are seldom as difficult as they seem. Ergo, have the patience and determination to persevere and you will be surprised at how the rest of the task simply falls in place.