Reposted from June 2017 (as I migrate to this new blog).
What does it take to run a 10k when you hate exercise and love eating good food? A lot of determination and a little leap of faith.
If somebody told me 3 months ago, that this summer I would be eating salads, working out at 5:30 in the morning, and training for a 10k run, I would tell them that they’re crazy. Yet here I am, and I can’t believe how it’s all come together.
I signed up for the Toronto Waterfront 10K (this Saturday!!) out of a moment of spontaneity and a little bit of fear. I still remember when I signed up. Of all the places, I was waiting at an airport in Barcelona for my flight back home to Prague. The airport had limited wifi and I knew I only had access for 20 more minutes. I found this 10k and thought…that’s something neat. Something that I’d really have to plan and sweat and train for. And if I could pull it off, I’d be incredibly proud of myself.
I signed up before I could talk myself out of it. Right after receiving my confirmation e-mail, my life (cough, maybe just my routine – but this sounds more poetic) had changed. I was given a training plan outlining how to go from couch to 10k in 8 weeks. I called up my family to tell them how excited I was to start running. Unfortunately, none of them are running with me – but this became a solo feat and I’m happy with that.
Training was one of the hardest things I’ve done – physically, and as an act of discipline. Here are some of the highlights of “what it took to train” that I still can’t believe I did. NOTE: I started writing this out as a list but I think I’m going to make it more of a poem.
How do you run a 10k?
You just run. You run without thinking about how you should run. You run wherever you wake up – in your country, on vacation, on exchange or even at your cousin’s house.
You run when you don’t have time. You make time. You wake up at 5:30 in the morning and run along Lakeshore. Your mom drops you to a trail on Lakeshore even though she’s worried about whether you can run while it’s cold and raining.
You run while it’s raining. You buy a fucking waterproof case so you don’t give a damn that it’s raining. Your glasses get wet. You get wet. You still run.
You run, not just to run, but to have a better run. You run faster. How long to run a kilometre? 6 minutes 40 seconds. Then 6 minutes 25 seconds. Then 6 minutes 10 seconds. You slip up and you’re at 7 minutes. You take a deep breath, switch the song and bring it back down.
You’re a force that can’t be stopped.
You run for the community. You smile at other runners. On other days, you even give them high-fives because they’re on their own race, too. You spend your time reading about running, nutrition, sleep, workouts and even the kind of shoes you need to buy because you want to be a better runner.
You run because you want to achieve a goal. You run to build discipline against stress, pain, fear, and discomfort. You run because you know that your success in running will inevitably drive success in other areas of your life.
You run because you want to be a runner. And by that, I don’t mean you want to be someone who runs 5 km a week. What I mean is that you want to cultivate the characteristics of a runner. Dedication, persistence and motivation – in the face of every barrier there could possibly be. You run because you care about your health, productivity and even your happiness.
You run even though you’re the least likely person to run. You run even though you hated gym. You run even though you got cut from every middle school sports team. You run because exercise will not be your nemesis.
You run because you still have what it takes. You run because you don’t need to have any pre-qualifications to lace up a pair of running shoes and walk out your door.
You run even even though you don’t know how to run. You know why? Because half the world doesn’t know how something is done – but successful people just go ahead and do it, anyway. Try something and hope it works. Fall a few times, buy better gear and develop a routine that works for you. Fail fast. You run because you can’t wait around until you “learn how to run.” You’re too impatient for that. You run because you don’t need to wait for the perfect run outfit, playlist, running room course or schedule to get started.
You run because you know that the real secret on how to run a 10k is to just run.
Everything else will fall into place…just like your feet in mid-air that have to land and hit the pavement no matter how hard it was to take that first step.