The last lap


“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

-Thomas Edison

Today was a momentous day for me. Right before our country went into lock down, I was very frequent with my running schedule. I used to run at least once a week covering a minimum distance of 5 kms each time. During my weight loss journey I had gone crazy with my runs. There were times when I did back to back runs of 10 kms every weekend. After the lock down and subsequent rise in the number of cases in our neighborhood, I stuck to home workouts for almost 6 months. I had registered myself for a 10 km virtual marathon (to be completed at our own place) at the beginning of this month to motivate myself to get back to my old running schedule. Last week I went for a trial run and felt like I would die out of exhaustion after 5 kms (no kidding). I had absolutely no clue how I would complete my 10 kms run this week. My mind went back and forth on the thought of giving up on this event altogether. Somehow I convinced myself to run at least 5 kms and call it a day. I woke up 6.30 am, procrastinated for an hour and finally dragged myself out of the house at 7.30 am.

I had planned to complete only 5 kms but midway I decided to give 10 kms a shot. I convinced myself by saying that I could walk the last km, let’s just try doing it. What seemed like a herculean task in the beginning somehow eased up after completing each km. However, I felt like giving up multiple times in the last lap. Well, I didn’t, I finished strong by completing 10 kms in a little over 1 hr 14 mins. I did walk the last km. The round right before that was my most challenging one.

I want to bring attention this particular phenomena that I face during each run or any task for that matter. When I know that I’m about to be done, I feel like giving up. My mind wants me to stop, my patience levels are depleted and I somehow just want to rest it out. In a 5 km run, I face this after I complete 3 kms. In a 10 km run, I feel like giving up after 8 kms. Surprisingly in a 21 km run, my mind absolutely gives up after 16 kms. So what is it exactly? This doesn’t seem like a fixed pattern. I also couldn’t seem to find any link with my energy levels and my timings as well. It’s just that my mind wants to give up right before the finish line.

No matter how hard my mind tries to make me give up during the last lap, I develop a miraculous strength to ignore it’s banter and keep going. And I end up completing the run, every single time. Running has taught me so much about life and our human mind’s innumerable tricks to avoid facing hardships. While I know it does this to protect us, this kind of over protection only ends up in making us a fearful human being. I’ve experienced this last lap syndrome in many of my other aspects of life. Rethinking a big decision right before the deadline, backing out of an event right before I am supposed to leave home, making extreme last minute changes to a project that was completed and verified, so on and so forth.

I don’t really know if it’s a legitimate observation, it’s just something I face very often. Till the time I gather more information on it, i’ll start applying the trick I use to complete my runs during the significant last lap to the other parts of my life when I realize that my mind is acting up. What’s the trick you ask? Ignore and keep moving.

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