As a kid, I grew up only doing sports in school and one year of fencing when I was ten years old. I didn't like fencing much, can't even remember how I ended up doing that but as an adult I see it differently now.
Anyway, my most precious memories are from a few years ago, when all of a sudden I decided to go against doctors advice and started jogging. Running was always something I truly hated as I wasn't good at it, was very tiring and difficult. Then you may ask why on earth I chose running, right? It's a legitimate question and the answer is very simple.
I had an internet friend, a woman in Vienna, who was running every other day. Her story was impressive and had a great influence on me. She started running to lose weight, and after she was able to reach her goal, she kept the good habit and went running every other day. As I wasn't able to do what she did, I was looking up to her and felt motivated to try and learn jogging and then running.
She introduced me to a runners group on one of the social media platform, where I could learn the basics. I knew that's very important if I want to stay healthy and avoid getting injured the first day. Seeing so many middle aged and even older people running to stay healthy, participating in running competitions motivated me even more. I thought if they are able to do that, so am I.
Needless to say I was very motivated, I wanted to do this to prove myself that even with my back problems I can do it. It was a huge challenge and risky too as I could have harmed myself badly. But I didn't. I made sue to study everything first and take it easy, do things in the right way.
Doing Things My Way
I think I spent two month learning the basics, researching what kind of shoes should I buy for my type of foot and what training plan to follow. I got a lot of support from users in the mentioned group, plus there was a trainer who was kind enough to give me a few tips.
Finally I was able to order a pair of New Balance shoes online, which obviously was a very bold move as shoes must be tried on first but back then there was one single sports shop that was selling professional running shoes in my city and they didn't have what I needed. Lucky me, the shoes were perfect for my feet.
Then I started my 5k running training and stuck to my schedule as much as I could, while listening to my body.
Being part of a group has its advantages but also has its disadvantages and if you're not careful, you can experience more disadvantages than advantages. People are enthusiasts, many are supporting and encouraging new members, but in fact you're the only one who knows what your body is capable of. Lucky me, I was there to witness new users when get carried away by lots of you can do it, registered and participated in
competitions, one after another, 5k, 10k and because they were not ready, injuries happened. Cartilage detachment, rupture of ligament, ankle sprain are just a few injuries that can happen.
My Running Career
This obviously sounds funny as I have no such thing and will never have one, it's just a joke. After one year of careful training I was able to get to a level where running 5k was comfortable. Needless to say, this was already a huge achievement for me, so I thought it's time to try myself out in a competition or challenge, to see how it feels.
Lucky me, the Arsenal Foundation organized a community run that spring, which meant no timing, just running and the entry fee, which was more like symbolic was donated to sick children. I'm always in favor of supporting good causes and this wan undoubtedly one of them, so I participated. What can I say, it was great, even though I came among the last ones as my first priority was my health. It was a very nice experience that gave me the necessary strength to continue what I started and register to a real competition, with time tracking and a nice shiny medal waiting for you at the finish line.
I was able to participate in a local running competition twice in two consecutive years and both times could finish the race without any problem and got myself two medals. The first race was in very wet conditions as it was raining from the start to finish, but I was ready for that, has been training for that. I also participated in another charity run.
After that I thought it's time to slowly increase the distance and find out how much I'm capable of. That's how I was able to run 10k twice. This was a dream come true for me, as I haven't thought I'm capable of such thing, but also the upper limit as far as distances are concerned. My body was signaling that 10k was enough, if I continue to push my boundaries, there will be problems, and I listened to my body. That's the smartest thing to do.
The Biggest Win
I've learned a few things during these trainings, that helped me in life. The most important thing I've learned is how to control my breathing. You may think this is nothing, but in fact it is everything. Once you can control your breathing, you can run as far as your legs can carry you.
Learning to control my breathing also helped me in swimming, which is a big win. Now I know how to do it and can swim longer.
I've learned discipline as well. Having a schedule, running training three times a week, rain or shine is something doable, you just have to adjust your brain to it. Going out to do your running training when it's raining, or when it's -5C outside, without getting sick is also an art and can help you strengthen your immune system. I haven't had a cold for a long time ago and I can thank running for that.
There's nothing better than running in the rain, while people think you're crazy. That's freedom! That means the weather does not control you, you control what to do and when. I remember when the third week of my training it started raining and I didn't know what to so. I asked our online coach if I should go running or not. He asked me have you thought about the fact that running is not an indoor sports? He was right and I'm never going to forget that.
I will always be grateful for what I've learned and will try to resume running as soon as possible. My plans are not to compete, but to stay healthy.
For someone who's before-after photo is a walking stick and a pair of running shoes, this is a very big deal.
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