MOTIVATION FROM MY COUCH.
I had been recently improving my running pace. Logging in more miles per run, more runs per week. That is until yesterday, that I did a silly movement and heard a loud crack coming from my knee.
The worst part is that I injured it doing something that has nothing to do with running. And just like that, my rhythm stalled. I won’t be improving my pace from the couch.
But I’m not here to sulk or complain. I am here to tell you that this resting period has given me free (and guilt-free) time on the couch. And instead of binge-watching the new season of This Is Us and sinking further deeper into the couch, I decided to see this as an opportunity. And to practice gratitude, even in times of loss and pain.
Because, yes, losing the ability to run, even if it is only temporary, causes me stress and makes me mad. Especially since the way I hurt my knee was so silly and easily avoidable.
I decided to thank life for this mandatory resting period. I decided to adjust my thoughts towards healing. And while processing all of this from the comfortable position of my couch, I have been watching documentaries about nature, sports, running, and trying to stay motivated.
I stumbled upon Breaking2, a short film that documents how a group of people gather and try to put together technology, abilities, and discipline to achieve the unachievable: to break the 2-hour mark on the marathon distance.
It is a superhuman challenge, yet as of 2019, it was achieved by Kenyan professional runner Eliud Kipchoge. He ran “a marathon” in 1 hour 59 minutes and 40 seconds.
It was a technical and outstanding achievement that required teamwork and support. But above all, it required a lot of preparation and research to optimize the conditions to their core. Everything was on point.
I enjoyed not only watching the documentary (which was actually a failed attempt, it was until 2019 that he achieved the goal of breaking the 2-hour mark) but learning about Eliud.
As he is what can only be described as flying through the track, you can see his smile pushing the pain out of his mind. And I emphasize mind because that, to my own eyes, is the strongest attribute of this unique character. He is in excruciating pain yet he smiles!
I found it interesting that he is always surrounded by pacers. I know they serve a technical purpose; to act as a windshield to minimize the wind resistance that can hold back Eliud, as well as help him keep the rhythm he needs to achieve the optimal pace throughout the race.
But as I watched the pacers imitate birds in an almost V-like formation, I couldn’t help but see beyond the technicalities. I couldn’t help but think of the energy that went on between those running bodies. Because even if running is a solo sport, when you gather a group of people with such an intense focus on a specific goal only magic can happen.
I think these pacers share some intangible energy that somehow ignite the performance. Running suddenly goes from a solo act to a team effort. Because when you gather all these people and you put them together aiming towards the same goal. What do you get?
Gasoline. Fuel. Combustion. Magic.
Personally, I have always done my best times during races. My fastest kilometers were amidst this mass of like-minded people clustered together chasing after the same goal: to reach the finish line.
One day, I was walking in the dark at 4 in the morning towards the starting spot of a half-marathon race and I was thinking to myself that I was a lunatic. Who woke up at 4 in the morning, and walked all alone in the darkness for the sake of racing? When I reached the starting line it all made sense. I wasn’t alone. At least a thousand people were warming up, meeting with friends, arriving at the scene. I might be a lunatic, but I wasn’t the only one.
Running to me represents the development of human potential.
Regardless of the degree of difficulty, from a 5k to an ultramarathon, running represents a personalized unique challenge for each individual. And once achieved, the explosion of dopamine in the brain transports you to such a state of ecstasy that you can’t help but Google where the next race is taking place.
For runners, it is not a matter of why but rather of how and when they are getting to their next race.
Everyone has their own challenge and it is sometimes through running that we unravel our true potential. When we push our limits, when we test our minds, we discover what we are truly capable of.
Because the last miles of a race are usually not run with the legs but rather with the heart. And it is not our body we are trying to convince to not shut down but our minds.
Running, like a lot of things in life, is purely a mind game.
So I encourage you, from the comfortable spot on my couch, with my leg perched up and my knee wrapped in ice, to go chase that race. And I mean it literally, and also metaphorically.
Go look for a new challenge. Set yourself a goal and bring it home. If you get hurt? Rest, prepare, adjust, and come out stronger. If you fail? Rest, prepare, adjust, and come out stronger. Let your disappointments propel you rather than sink you. As long as you keep pushing your limits, discover new boundaries, and explore new horizons you will realize your potential is limitless.
And by all means, please let the way I talk about running be a metaphor of whatever you are seeking in life.
Because whatever you are seeking is probably seeking you too.