Running, just for the sake of it?Unbelievable!
I never had any interest in “running”, which I found to be extremely boring, and a meaningless thing to do. The kind of running that interested me in my childhood was “free-running” or “parkour”. It didn’t get me anywhere, since my body was quite rigid, and I had no acrobatic skills. Back then, neither did I know what free-running was, nor anyone who knew it. I just had a thing for climbing, jumping, running over walls and stuff like that. But, I wasn’t good at any sport and I used to smoke my lungs out.
In July of 2015, just a few months after I quit smoking – with a cleaner lung and higher motive – I started on a personal journey towards three extremely big and seemingly impossible goals. Achieving these farfetched goals require highest levels of mental strength, aerobic fitness, and endurance. I knew that, to begin with, I had to get extremely fit, and extremely comfortable at doing painfully challenging things. I began a routine of new physical activities; swimming, biking and running. I found running and swimming quite unpleasant at the beginning. But I loved to ride a bike! Even then, I owned a bicycle, and always enjoyed spending time on the bike. Most of my free time was spent on learning as much I can about what I am about to get myself into.
I started doing regular 5km runs; one lap around Male’ City. After a while, I started to like it, and wanted to do more running. In August of 2015, 1 lap became 2 laps on a regular basis, and time on my feet lasted a bit longer occasionally. At this point in time I was self-training with Nike and Runtastic App, running casually just by myself, and was not interested in racing. It didn’t take long for that to change.
The next local race, Dhiraagu Maldives Road Race 2015, scheduled to take place on 28th of August had some late opening for re-registration. I was lucky to get late entry for 10Km open (Bib #354). I didn’t know much about racing, but the target was quite simple – finish 10km in under 45 minutes, and enjoy the race!
Race day didn’t turn out as I wished. Few days prior to race day, I fell sick with cold and fever – a result of spending too much time in the swimming track. It was a cold windy day and I was coughing my lungs out with mouthful of phlegm every time. Minutes before the race began, it started pouring heavily, flooding some of the roads. The goal pace of my race was not that hard, because I can easily finish 10km in 50 minutes. All I had to was push a little bit harder and make it 45 minutes.
The race was very tough. It took me several minutes to get ahead of the slow-moving crowd in the narrow streets of Male’. Soaked wet and running through puddled streets in heavy shoes, I finished the first lap in 22 or 23 minutes. Exhausted and out of breath, I didn’t think that I would be able to do another lap – let alone maintaining a good pace.
To reach my target finish time, the next lap has to be a negative lap. I have to push harder and struggle in a foreign territory, relatively speaking, to maintain pace. In the last 2 kilometers, I passed many kids and groups of runners, and I was thinking “How did they get ahead of me?”. In fact, they were 5k runners who haven’t finished yet. I figured it out after finishing the race, after I had time to catch my breath. Haha!
Anyway, I finished the race in 45 minutes 17 seconds. I was relieved to have the task completed, but not quite satisfied knowing I could have done much better. When i finished the first race, second one already on after a week – a 5km track race. Too much ranting for today! I’ll write about it another time.
After that I have run a 5k, triathlon, half marathon, full marathon, and an ultra marathon (24 Hour Run). Here is the link to my story about marathon. Looks like I am so hooked on a thing I had no interest in!