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Why is everyone running?

Last night a crazy idea popped into my head and for a reason unknown to me, I followed through with it this morning. Needless to say it had rather unexpected results.

I generally don’t believe in getting out of bed before the sun rises. I like a lazy wake up. I need at least 30 minutes to drink my coffee and think. And then I like to stretch and yawn and throw the covers off and roll out of bed.

I’m currently on holiday. There is nothing but lazy days to look forward to. So you can imagine my alarm, when my alarm went off at 4:30am this morning. And you can imagine my shock and horror when my body jumped out of bed and my mind had to follow suit.

No, I wasn’t going on a road trip. No, I wasn’t waking up to watch the sun rise over the ocean. And no, I wasn’t waking up to catch a flight to an exotic location.

I set my alarm at 4:30am to go for a run. And I actually got out of bed and did it. Who is this person I hear you asking? Yes, I’m wondering the same thing.

Let me backtrack and explain how I got to the crazy notion of waking up at 4:30am. I’m still in Korea and its summertime here, which means it steaming, as in 26-28 degrees Celsius steaming at 5:30 in the morning. And that is when I normally head out for a run.  I’ve been struggling for weeks to run in the heat.

Now let me backtrack and explain how I even got into running. I had been planning for years to become a regular runner. These plans were all in my head of course and that’s where they stayed. Why? Well, because I have the ability to make up the most imaginatively convincing excuses.

Then one day out of the blue, I mean, I don’t even know how these things happen, my brother-in-law started running. And then my sister started running and next thing I know my niece and nephew are running. Suddenly I’m back in South Africa on holiday and the whole family is waking up early to exercise, my mother included. So what’s a girl to do but fall in line?

After this semi-active holiday I headed back to Korea and forgot about running until my brother-in-law invited me to join a World Wide Fun Run on facebook. You know that awkward second after you’ve accepted something and then you immediately think, why did I just do that? Yes, well I could’ve not done it and no-one would have known but I gave my word and if you can’t honor your own word then who can?

That first 5km was run run walk, run walk, walk run run, walk walk, run walk, run walk. I’ve kept going because the overachiever in me wasn’t happy with the run walk situation. I gave myself 2 big goals. Get to a point of running 5km without stopping to walk and then get to a point of running it in 35 minutes minimum.

Each morning that I’ve subsequently gone out to run I’ve made small goals for myself. Small goals like increase my run to walk ratio by a few hundred meters more than the last run. Or try to increase my pace by 10 seconds with each run. These small goals have kept me motivated to keep running.

Last night I got this crazy idea to set my alarm for 4:30am. This morning I shocked myself by getting out of bed at that ungodly hour. I stepped out into a cool morning breeze. Much cooler than any other morning and I just started running. In the dark. In the quiet.

After running for 2.5km I told myself I could do it for 3km. Then when I reached 3km and still felt good I told myself I could do 4km. Then when I got to 4km I told myself, you’ve got this, just 1 more, you can do this. And then when I got to 4.8km I remembered what I wrote last week about digging deep and pushing yourself. I managed to sprint the last 200m to my own surprise. I didn’t know I still had that in me.

This morning I achieved both my goals. I ran 5km in less than 35 minutes. When I woke up I had no idea I was going to do this. I didn’t know I was ready. I got a crazy idea and I followed through with it. I went out into the dark and focussed on enjoying the cool quiet morning without any expectations for a particular outcome. It just so happens that I achieved my goals along the way.

When you think big and set goals for yourself, take action. Small steps. Get into motion and the Universe will too. One day you’ll find that the accumulation of all those small steps and little actions will lead to the achievement of that big goal.

Sometimes you might think you’re in the dark with no idea of where to next. Sometimes you need to trust that crazy idea that came from nowhere because sometimes that is the Universe whispering that you’re ready, that it’s time. Sometimes you need to be quiet to listen.

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2 thoughts on “Why is everyone running?

  1. Thoroughly entertaining post! I enjoyed your thoughts on goal setting and achievement. It can be so easy to set goals and not follow through, and then that becomes habit, and over time the cycle becomes increasingly difficult to break. It is good to hear the perspective of other running beginners. I have found it to be addictive and quite satisfying.

    Happy Trails!

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