My relationship with running

Growing up I was a sick kid. I had asthma since I could remember anything until around teenage years. Back then, I would have to go into hospital at least few times per year and I would get very ill at least once every 2- 3 months. So I had developed the belief that my body wasn't built for any sport or exercise. I hardly ever ran in my whole life until when I was in my early 20s.

That was when I started to hang out with this group of friends who were really into doing extreme sports. And ultra running was one of them. It was like there was a running bug going around the group when everybody started to do crazy distances just for fun. And you know, when something is very contagious, it is super hard to avoid. I slowly got into running as well with 3km at the gym once per week. Surprisingly, my body adapted to it after couples of months. I started to believe that I could also run like a normal healthy person. What I did not realise was that I didn't need to be fit to run. Running helped me to get fitter and healthier.

On my birthday one year, my good friend signed me up for a 10 km race as a birthday gift. I was pumped! I thought it should be a piece of cake. All my friends doing these 50km, 100km in the forest. I should be able to run 10km easily. It turned out only 5 minutes in the race, I was already feeling miserable. While everyone sprinted, I could barely catching up with my own breaths. My legs were already shaking and in pain. I felt like throwing up. My mind kept telling me to quit running and start walking instead. Did not want to fail in my first ever race, I played a trick on my mind by chanting a mantra in my head. I chanted "gratitude... gratitude... gratitude" quite soulfully. Everybody says running could be a moving meditation, isnt it? But at some point, my mantra turned into " I hate this! This is torturing. How dare she sign me up for this! Damn her!". I ended up cursing my friend all the way through the finish line lol. However, something shifted by the end of the race. I finished and I did not stop to walk at all. I was so proud of myself. And importantly, I felt great. My body was loving it by the end.

I went home that day dreaming to become an ultra runner. I started to read books on running. The first english book I have ever read from cover to cover in my whole life up to that point was Eat and Run by Scott Jurek, one of the greatest ultra runners in the world. Before that, I have never read a whole book in english except for text books. Soon after I finished the book, I found myself at the starting line of the 6 hour race in Auckland. The event was 6 -12 -24 hour race. While some others do the 12, 24 hour challenges, I participated in the 6 hour race. I ended up wining a trophy for 1st women in 6 hour race. Amazing!!! How did that even possible? I barely had had any proper training and was a total newbie to ultra running. Well, it was purely luck. In my race, there were only me and other 2 ladies in there 70s. Yes, 70s! It is quite common to see old folks running long distances in ultra running. They have great stamina and determination to run steadily and finish strongly. Anyway, that glimpse of success boosted my confidence to the roof. I learned to run with better posture, to pace myself, to eat better, and to train my body properly for more ultra events.

6 years later, I am still running regularly and still doing long distances. My relationship with running has helped every other aspect of my life to improve, for example my relationship with myself, with my body, also my relationship with food. As food and lifestyle play such an essential part to help me run longer distance, and to prevent injuries. My english also got a lot better thanks to running.


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