I crossed my own finish line
1st week. MY CRAZY IDEAS. I had my doubts… I have been doing some exercise at home, like yoga and HIIT workouts, and I have always seen people running around Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, Coral Gables and almost every corner in Miami. When I see this, I always think: “They are crazy running in this endless summer, or maybe I should become part of this crazy lifestyle just to live the new experience.”
In June, a really good friend told me that No Boundaries Sports (my favorite bike shop) had a running club, and he asked me to join the club. I hadn’t been riding for a while, so I thought: “Why not?”
They meet every Wednesday at 6 pm starting at the store. They go all the way around the golf course. They do one, two or more laps around it; which I have to say is a very nice place. Then they go back to the store. This course is at least 3 miles.
That Wednesday in June, I go out my old running shoes and went to run for the first time. I would like to tell you that it was great fun and a relaxing experience, but it wasn’t. I “ran” just two miles and it hurt. I felt as if I was dying just 2 or 3 steps after we had left the store, so I decided to walk almost the whole way round the golf course; but I did the job, and I survived. I felt brave after all.
2nd week: BREATHE. I had my doubts again, but I just tried to concentrate on our coach’s instructions. These were: “Beginners have to run for 3 minutes, and rest while walking for 3 minutes. All this for three miles.” You may ask yourself “Just 3?“ Doesn't sounds much, right? It is!
At that time I went to the club with Ceci, who is a very good friend that I met riding the bike. She is always smiling, riding hard with her husband and friends, but like me… not a runner. She was getting into this “amazing” world (as everyone portrayed it).
So Ceci and I started to run and walk, and I realized that my breath was very strange.
I started to ask about the way to breathe correctly when I run. Somebody told me that I had to take two short breaths, I tried but my conclusion was that everyone has to find his or her own way, since I tried that way and it didn’t work. My way is: take one deep breath and exhale in short periods of time.
3rd week: DON’T GIVE UP. When you get closer to the team members, you start to feel part of something, and doubts start to disappear. You know the place, the dynamic, and what happens with your body after that run. Also, you start to understand why people get fascinated and feel satisfaction and proud of themselves. This is why they are always doing epic things, when factors that you cannot control like the “hot weather” come into place, and that’s why those things do not matter anymore.
My results: 3 minutes running, 90 seconds walking for three miles, with my breathing style and my partner in crime Ceci.
4th week. BE PRESENT. I realized that I could have a better running experience, when I was focused on the present. I literally had to forget everything about work, what I had to cook for dinner or any other ideas. It became like a meditation. You only have to focus on your breathing, and you need to have an empty mind.
In fact, our yoga teacher from the running club always told us that we could face any problem with our eyes wide open, as long as we breathe deeply and stay conscious about freeing our minds of ideas.
That week I ran 3.2 miles in 36 minutes, and I just walked once.
5th week. ALMOST THERE. Did I mention that the goal that I set was to run 3.2 miles under 30 minutes, and not walk?
Ceci felt bad that day. She had been preparing for long rides, and she had been feeling quite exhausted; but like the champion that she is, she never stopped smiling.
She decided to run more slowly, and I was trying keep up with the fastest group.
I never liked to stay in my comfort zone, and this was the 5th workout. I found myself feeling just like in my first week; I felt as if I was dying, but I also knew that it was not going to happen. I knew the route, my breathing, my partners, how it worked with my new running shoes; how the weather and everything could generate doubt, so I decided to face these sensations in a different way.
Result: 3 minutes less than in my 4th training.
6th week. IT’S ALL ABOUT PRACTICE. I finished my 3.2 miles breathless. Our yoga teacher got worried when she saw me gasping in front of the store. I even had to confess that I felt a bit dizzy, but hard work pays! I was trying to catch up with the fastest runners of the team, and I did my 3.2 miles in 28 minutes. TA-RA!
I really did not do inhuman work, I did what any human would be able to do. It just took 6 hours to remind me that not only in sports, but also in order to achieve anything that you want in life, you need to set a clear goal. You just need to be constant, aware, and open yourself to the help and support of others.