If one was to ask me three or four years ago what I would do during the weekend, without any fuss, I’d instantly say I’ll be out with friends to grab some drinks and party until the wee hours. You can say I was living the glorious life of a twenty-something back then. Being in my prime, all I cared about were the clothes that I would wear and the money that I had to spare for a Saturday night-out.
Now that I am on my 28th, I would always look back and laugh at how crazy my life was before. Add to that the unhealthy lifestyle that I was proudly sporting. Exercise was, obviously, just a pie in the sky. There were times when I tried to be fit and healthy, but they were all just futile attempts. I got terribly sick when I did Crossfit, almost drowned while snorkeling, never learned to ride the bike, and discontinued my Muay Thai sessions for no reason.
My hopeless relationship with exercise led me to conclude that maybe, it just wasn’t for me. I gave it a try one, too many times, but it didn’t work. It was like dating someone your friend set you up with repeatedly, but there’s no progress because there wasn’t any spark to begin with.
But it was in November last year when I was able to iron out my plans for 2015. I came up with a bucket list of things that I want to do and achieve for the year. I arm-wrestled with myself to include “joining a fun run” in the list because I thought this would be the perfect year to finally make this happen. No excuses. So, when an opportunity arrived to join one last March, I immediately grabbed it like I was going to run out of slots.
For someone, who used to hate running with a passion, this was a real challenge. I wasn’t made and trained for this. No cell in my body was cut out for this. Heck, I did not even own a pair of running shoes! But despite these, I took this self-imposed challenge like a boss. I made the medal at the finish line my end-goal. I wanted to give myself something, which I can be truly proud of – something, which my old self will be so envious of.
Long story short, I finished the five kilometer-run in 44 minutes – too slow for the pros, but it wasn’t bad for a first-time runner with zero training.
Obviously, I was over the moon when I was handed my finisher’s medal. I just ran a short distance, but the feeling went way beyond five kilometers. I loved it so much that after my first ever run, I took it upon myself to join at least one run every month until I am able to do a half-marathon (21km) by the end of this year. A little too far-fetched, but I am confident that I will be able to do it. To start, I already have three runs lined up from this month until June.
Indeed, my first real run last month was one of the biggest turning points in my life. There have been huge changes in my lifestyle, which are actually for the best. Unlike before when I would always look forward to my weekend night-outs, I usually just stay at home on Saturdays and wake up as early as 5 in the morning the next day to run and train. I stock up on banana and other healthy food to make sure I’m well-nourished before training. I read up on running blogs and articles to learn more about running, as well as upcoming races. I also ask for advice from my friends who have been into the sport for a long time about different running techniques, including the do’s and don’t’s. To top these all off, a huge chunk of my shopping budget has now been diverted to sportswear, uncompromising my sense of style, of course.
Up until now, I am still in disbelief that I am actually hooked on running. I bet my old self would still try to drag me back to my fun and carefree lifestyle a few years ago, but I am certain that I am never going back anymore. Running, for me, is not just a sport; it is a way of life. It changes you and makes you a more disciplined individual. It challenges you to exceed yourself in every run, to not give up, and to cross the finish line. It teaches you hard work.
Really, I have seen myself literally stumble and almost faint on the treadmill. But look at me now… I just purchased my own pair of running shoes.