Running like any sports offers more than just being outside and the opportunity to burn a few calories while trying to convince people that you are doing what you love. Running has taught me so much, not only about the sports itself but about life too.
For the past month I went back home to visit my family in South Africa. I was (almost) surprised at how at any given opportunity I would tell anything and anyone that cared to listen about my running project (those who know me well, will tell you that I do tend to talk a lot, in my older brothers famous words “ngagwinya impempe” meaning I’m like someone who swallowed a whistle).It was lovely seeing my family, who always reassure me that Im on the right path no matter how much I doubt myself.
Being back home and participating in 2 half marathons as part of my training plan afforded me the opportunity to see old running friends, catch up and of course recharge my batteries. It’s not easy attempting to run a marathon simply because life always has a way of getting in the way. I know it sounds weird, but its true. Try planning something that needs a commitment of about 4-6 months and you will see how your plan will change because of how “stuff” has come up. In order to run a marathon you must train, you must eat well, you must look after yourself and above all you must make the time, no mater how busy and demanding it all gets. From time to time you also have to learn to say no.. No to late night outs and fun things that require you to sleep until past 14:00 the next day in order to feel human again (well at least that’s how long it takes these days to cure my hangovers)
In between being a student and still trying to find my feet in another country, I’ve realized that when it comes to life (and running) you can never wait for the perfect conditions to get something done. On some mornings your training plan says 22km and your body says “if you get out of bed Im leaving you”, but you have to keep pushing. And sometimes when your legs cant anymore and all you have is will then you keep pushing. Running, like life, is about telling yourself to just put one foot in front of the other and to keep going… never stopping until you reach the finish line. Some runs, like days, are better than others and from sometimes its about taking things one day or one run at a time.
We can’t all be runners and we shouldnt all be runners(please dont as this would mean that I would really come last in every race) but we can apply the same principles we learn from sports to any part of our lives. That it’s not a about who finishes first but rather that you finish, that you do you and run YOUR race at YOUR pace. We are all destined for different things and very often we concentrate so much on what others are doing that we forget that we have our own race to run… which is at the end of the day the most important.
So next time you think of comparing yourself to someone else, ask yourself “your pace or mine?”