Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try

While I have done athletic activities pretty much all of my life (from being a sports student in secondary school to a grown up with a personal trainer at the gym...), I have never considered myself to be a runner and, in fact, never loved running.  In more recent years and facing many changes in life, I came to the confronting fact that aiming at maintaining a healthier life style meant to start running. When I did so, I couldn't run 500 metres to save myself, but I was an efficient walker and so, kept slowly progressing. By March 2014 I took the challenge of running my first "mini-marathon"  (8 km)  and, far from feeling comfortable, I did finish it and felt really proud and excited of my achievement.  I was also very happy as I could see myself  dropping weight and feeling fit and healthier than ever before. From that moment I started to train in a more serious way, with continuous definition of targets supported by proper training plans from MyAsics.com. 
By October 2014, I had my first 10K official running finishing with the time of 1h16m. From there the training plans were set towards the goal of cutting time and about one year later, I got to my ever best 10K official race time; 1h and 18 secs ! That was November 2015. 

I can write many lines about happy and proud I was of my self - I could run better, stronger & faster cutting time and moving down, in one year, from 7m/km to 6.01 m/km. Instead, I'll just write a simple line; YES, major change is possible and YES, it will most probably cause pain. Changing is a step-by-step process and not a smooth transition - so, when the process is full of pain and frustration, how to find the motivation to keep on moving? 

Theories about change recognize that transforming deep-seated behaviors, attitudes or habit habits is difficult, and if such change is to be successful, certain conditions must be met both in design as well as in implementation. Intentional Change Theory framework underpins that successful development programs consist of five stages, where the 4th stage is practice, adjustment of behavior, experimentation and more practice.

So, only with constant effort, experimentation and practice new behaviors will emerge... just like running, a road to self-awareness and reliance even if based in a process where one is pushed to extremes and learns the harsh reality of its own physical and mental limitations. It is itself the journey to change (eg, the training) that fuels the way by offering dynamic goals that helps to bring out the best. So, "walk the talk" means pain, practice and practice and practice - that is the way to do it, to reach each of the smaller goals whilst becoming much closer to the final target. Same to say, "no pain, no gain".

Back to November 2015; a new short-term goal, simple and made in community - to run 10K in less than 1 hour and after that, start to train for the half-marathon! Be sure such words instantly mean "pain, pain, pain"- will I be able to do it? Let's see in next March.

For now here I am - exhausted but exhilarated in a moment where everything seems right, where pain seems just a collection of memories that somehow moved me closer to my target7 February 2016, 20Km, done !