Facing the fear.

There was a time when I thought and wished if all problems disappeared somehow without me having to deal with any of them. There was also a time when I felt that running away from everyone and everything that was unpleasant, challenged me and made me feel like an idiot was the way forward in life. In the process of running away and turning my back at everything that wasn’t in sync with me, I found myself in a big dark patch of life. In a patch where nothing could touch me but everything felt nice momentarily. Also, in that patch, I no longer knew who I was and where I wanted to go.

Like when things work in moments, the art of collecting those moments to make a life is when living and knowledge play a crucial role but if I have been keeping myself away from all criticisms and shielding myself from the negatives, then what knowledge would I have gathered? None, I believe. Hence, I never knew how to turn moments into life because by and large, while I ran very hard from everything that bothered me momentarily, I also found places to hide momentarily. Neither the run led me to a destination and nor did I know what the journey I was on.

Then one fine day, my tired senses retaliated. I had nothing left in me but the desires to just be. That’s when I took the biggest test of all. I had to face my fears and there was no way out. Every single thing that I felt was unpleasant, I had to reason it out as to why and amicably detach. In the process, I realised hardly anything was and is unpleasant. It’s just the state of mind that I was in at the time of dealing with that person or the thing. The more negative I was on the inside, the more bitter my circumstances were on the outside. The more expectations I had on the inside, the harder no-treats zone I bumped into on the outside. The more I thought I could sail through easily; the vastness of the water made it awkward with the massive winds.

I paused and wondered.

In the process to just be, one of the key component was to know that the option to run away doesn’t exist. The way forward is to face the fears, nurture the pain, embrace the learnings and move ahead in strength.

Running is always easy. Ignoring is even cooler. But if one has to embrace knowledge than both running and ignoring need to be embedded in the knowledge of ethos not just based on feelings related to the state of mind.

The unrealistic expectation of a run.

It’s actually pretty simple. It’s just simply running. You will have your own pace and your own rhythm. Don’t have to see or follow what others are doing, just go with your own self and get it done. 
After a series of long and short conversations, when I actually got down to run, I couldn’t run. I wish I could call it a runner’s block similar to a writer’s block. A crucial examination of my own body led me to believe that I probably have bad legs and horrible knees but then I am not a trained medic to conclude on this so confidently. Could it be that I was just looking for a bodily excuse to make myself believe that I can’t run at all?! Not could it be, it actually was. I was looking for a bodily excuse to not run at all. 

My expectations from my own self on running had exceeded every single parameter that I have ever held close to when it came to sports. Even squashing the 5k under 45 minutes was when I realised I could actually do everything that I set my heart to. But then after all these months, getting my heart and mind in that one space was a struggle in itself. More than the body that I could literally push to run, it was me telling my own self on how I can’t run. 

The knowledge surrounding running didn’t come handy today and neither did all these weeks of training with pros made me feel any better. What I missed most was my own heart believing that I could run. Even though my mind could structure a thousand positive thoughts, I let that doubt creep in, a little belief that perhaps I am not good enough to do this. And no matter what levels and depths of positive self talk I indulged in, the result was pretty clear. I didn’t get it because I didn’t have my heart in it. 

So while expectations might just act as a function of the mind and the thoughts, to me it seems it’s a convoluted function of the heart. While the thoughts and theory might point you towards the sky, if your heart isn’t in it, everything’ll be as good as your first try. 

What did I learn when I did my first 10k run?

I don’t remember exactly what prompted me to register myself for my first ever 10k run. I don’t know if it was the social cause of rape and gender violence against women in the democratic republic of Congo or if it was a deep inner desire to do something that I had never done before, I don’t really know. 

The race was in London’s Hyde park on 3rd June and there were professionals and regulars too. There was hardly anyone who was a first timer like me or even someone who had never run before. 

I am not sporty and I don’t exercise. Exercising doesn’t come to me as a part of my existence and it doesn’t come naturally to me at all. So after I registered for this 10k charity run, reality hit me and I sat down counting days and thinking of ways to get through to it in my mind. 

I read a lot of posts online on how to get from 0k to 5k in a week and so on and although they all made perfect sense, I had a body that was completely out of sync with everything. I could barely run. I had no sense of time and I was extremely extremely slow. I remember my initial runs, I wouldn’t know where my breaths were and where I was! I was a mess and a diaster at the same time in equilibrium. 

Then came the race day.

It was time to run.. Everyone started running, so did I. People overtook me from right and left and in no time, I was left on my own at the very end. I seriously felt so silly that I wanted to run in the opposite direction and not follow the crowd in front. I could neither keep up with the crowd and neither could I give up. I wanted to give up but then something was stopping me.. 

Turns after turns and at one point something inside me told me that it was just my race; I wasn’t there to compete with the rest. I was running for the first time in my life for a cause that I believed in. I couldn’t give up! I might be slow and walk and run and finish last, it would still be my race. 

I ran and ran and completed my 10k race officially.. And I didn’t come last. I finished my 10k in 1.20.44.. I know it is not the best of timings for a 10k but I am happy that I did it.

So today while I sit and sip my coffee, I remember the race from June 3; and it makes me smile.. I completed it despite me telling myself to quit at the start, I completed it despite what other runners thought of me. I completed it when I got out of my own way.

And my biggest lesson learnt that day was .. It always is our own race, our own pace.. And most of the times, we are the ones standing in our own way 🙂