Running 21km might seem crazy to some people.
But for 10 thousand people yesterday, it seemed like a great idea.
As most of you know, my health journey started with mental illness, and physical illness followed soon after. I was on medication, and doctors told me NOT to do any excessive exercise. I was advised a gentle walk, no longer than 30min; and the gym twice a week. Anything more than that was ‘excessive’.
I knew that advice wasn’t right for me. But I did what I was told until I was released from hospital 30 days later.
Under the guidance of my psychiatrist, I weaned off my medication as I took up meditation and yoga, healthy eating, and exercise. Slowly I came back to life, but still struggled with excess energy, which would often manifest as anxiety, nervousness and insomnia.
I did moderate exercise… but it didn’t feel like it was enough. So I started running. I ran my first 5km and nearly died! Haha But I came home that night and felt calm and slept well.
Eventually I built up to running 10km a few times a week and noticed my energy levels were starting to balance out. From there, I made space in my life for running, as it was so therapeutic for me.
I continued to encounter hurdles in my life, and continued using balanced, healthy living as my foundation for being able to cope with the high levels of stress. And over the last few years, running became an outlet for stress relief and a source of ‘quiet time’.
As well as the physical benefits of enhanced fitness and mental clarity, these are some of the things that running has taught me:
- You Have To Set Your Own Pace
You can try and keep up with someone else’s pace… but it will catch up with you eventually. You’ll start feeling the pinch cardio-vascularly, you’ll feel the burn in your legs; and at some point, you’ll have to admit that you can’t fake being fitter than you are. … In life, it ‘s easy to observe where someone else is at, and think to ourselves, “I should be able to do that”. And we get lost along the way, caught up in a type of frustration and self-sabotage when we can’t keep up with the Jones’s.
We are at where we’re at based on karma, destiny, the effort we’ve put in, our unique circumstances, etc. Going at our own pace in life is important for us to grow in an authentic, sustainable manner.
- You Are Capable Of More Than You Think
How far can you run? If you really apply yourself I mean. If you train, get fitter and stronger; if you stop telling yourself you can’t; if you drop allllll the excuses. How far could you run then? Further than you can right now, that’s for sure.
Same thing applies to life in general.
How much could you grow, accomplish, do, see, give …. If you stopped telling yourself that you can’t or don’t have time; if you dropped all your excuses, and you just tried. And then tried again and again, despite being a total noob in the beginning; despite the number of failures; despite how much harder it is than you thought it was going to be.
What would be possible then?
- Growth Comes From Taking Action
I never thought I’d be able to run 21km. Signing up for my first half marathon made me so nervous. Even going to the event – actually physically being there, in the sea of thousands of elite runners, while little ole’ me not sure about anything, wearing the wrong kind of shoes, and more worried I’d get in the way than actually worrying about how I’d get through it – showing up that day was a massive emotional fear that I had to face up to.
When my first half marathon was over a few years ago, I hated the running part, but I loved the mental growth part! Haha I loved that I did it. I was scared, but I did it.
Next year it got a little easier.
And the next year, I loved it. I showed up totally pumped. Stepped over that start line 100% up for it.
I could have sat around wondering what it would be like to do a half marathon… but I don’t think I would have grown from thinking about it. The growth came with the journey itself. The things that happened along the way, the fears that I faced, and putting myself out there even though I didn’t feel ready.
That’s how my business started. I didn’t feel ready. I didn’t know anything about business… but I knew that if I made the decision, and committed to it, I would figure out the puzzle piece by piece as I went.
Life is relatively the same – we learn a lot when we take action on something that’s outside of our comfort zone.
Running may not be your thing, and half marathons totally may not be your thing!! (haha they’re certainly not for everyone), but I know that all of you have exciting challenges that are whispering from your heart and are calling to be pursued. They don’t have to be gigantic, monumental activities… perhaps a small undertaking that you know you’ve been shying away from – taking up dancing again, going to sewing classes, starting a blog, running for council, taking up a 12 week challenge or entering and obstacle event… whatever it is, don’t shy away from the opportunity to act on something that will help you to grow and break out of that cosy comfort zone of yours!