Before I begin the story of how running is gradually changing my life, I should let you all know that while I love the outdoors, hiking, being fit, playing different sports, I am not quite fond of running. Never really enjoyed it, found it monotonous. I could find so many reasons (aka excuses in this case) to bail out of running. I could also come up with various adjectives to make running sound like a “dull”, “boring” and a “no-fun” sport in addition to being “monotonous” until one day I decided to sign up for my first 10K race to raise funds for a non-profit that support education, shelter and food for under privileged children. I do NOT hate running. So, I thought to myself that this might actually be fun challenge to take up. Start running and start LIKING it! 🙂 That’s how my life-altering (okay, I am exaggerating on the life-altering part to make it sound dramatic, but it has definitely impacted my life in a great way) story of running began.
Last year I ran my first “big” race. I used big in quotes because it was the longest race I have ever run. I ran a 10K (~6 miles) race last June. Before I actually ran 10K, I was really freaking out. I told my friend, “I have never run more than a mile in my life, although I am an active person and keep fit, I am not sure I will have the stamina to get through 6 miles!”
My friend, with calm face and sweet smile on his face told me that he knew I could do it. In that moment, I felt two emotions rushing through my veins, small sense of pride, that my friend believes in me even though he has never seen me run before. That made me think deeper about myself and human nature in general.
I guess, the reason we achieve new successes and accomplish unbelievable feats, surprise ourselves with new victories every time is not because we have done even something remotely similar to that before or that someone else has some sort of vision, a looking glass into the future, so to speak….
1) We know we can achieve certain goals even they may be hard or scary at first, is because we believe in ourselves and we know we have what it takes to achieve that goal — COURAGE TO ATTEMPT
2) Other people close to us know may believe we can achieve certain goals is because they believe in us, but also because they have known us through our words, our actions, the way we carry ourselves and even the way we care.
The second emotion I felt was pressure. When someone puts faith in us, most of us feel a bit of a burden (burden is not always a negative emotion) to stand up to their expectations. In this case, I felt I had a lot on the line. I had to prove that I have stamina, that I can run a race to its completion, no matter how long it takes me — NO QUITTING. So I guess, mentally I was preparing myself for race day by building my confidence and telling my body not to listen to my mind when it would signals indicating that the body is tired and it needs to rest.
In an attempt to “warm-up” for my race, I ran 2 miles 2 days before the race. Come race day, I completed my race in an hour plus 10 odd minutes. I surprised myself and was very happy to see the time I made given that I walked a little bit, in between my running laps.
This year, I have decided to run my first half marathon. Like last year, I am freaking out, this time more about my diet since I am a vegetarian and I do not eat eggs like many other vegetarians do.
At this point, I feel the need for a little segway into definitions. In the US, unfortunately, not many people are well versed with the definition of vegetarian and assume that we eat fish. Vegetarians do not eat animals of any kind, they consume beans, legumes, nuts, etc.. and dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, etc… Vegans are those who go a step further than vegetarians thereby cutting out completely any products that may be even derived from animals, so they avoid dairy products. Now, the people who include no other animal meat but fish in their diet are called “Pescetarians”.
Okay, coming back on track, being a vegetarian, I fear that while I am eating healthy, I may not be consuming sufficient amounts of proteins and carbs to fuel my body and increase my endurance. Luckily, last month, I stumbled upon a vegetarian marathon runner’s blog (a separate post for this find will come soon). Since then, I have been pumped about running this race. I have not starting serious running outside, but I do go to the gym and get my cardio exercises done to gradually ramp up my endurance. Yesterday, I ran 5K in the gym. It felt amazing. This weekend, I hope to go for my first 5K outdoors run.
BTW, in an effort to not only eat healthier but also to include protein, fiber and carb rich ingredients in my diet, I plan on making walnut-arugula pesto pasta for dinner tonight. I shall post the photos and recipe tomorrow.
Before, I leave though, have you watched the movie “Forrest Gump”? If not, I higly recommend it. It’s a very inspiring movie about a boy who overcomes his disabilities to become happy and successful in life. There’s a famous line in the movie “Run Forrest Run”. Okay, I am saying again, if you have not watched it yet, watch it now! 🙂 It also has my favorite (well, one of my favorite actors) Tom Hanks.