Many years ago, I was going through Will Smith’s interviews on YouTube on a lazy afternoon. I had watched his movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” and was mesmerized by his performance in the movie. I wanted to understand his personality and ideologies more and would end up watching a lot of his interviews. During one such browsing session, I stumbled upon his award show winning speech which left a huge impact on me.
“The keys to life are running and reading. When you’re running, there’s a little person that talks to you and says, “Oh I’m tired. My lung’s about to pop. I’m so hurt. There’s no way I can possibly continue.” You want to quit. If you learn how to defeat that person when you’re running. You will know how to not quit when things get hard in your life.-Will Smith
During those days I was completely cut out from any form of physical activity. As a kid, I was never into sports and ended up being that overweight kid who avoided the sports class in school. I never had a dislike for sports or any exercise in particular, I was just not into multitasking back then. School only meant studying for me, I was never part of any extra-curricular activity (a thing that I totally condemn now).
My tryst with running started when my best friend enrolled us into a 5 km marathon about 4 years back. I had never run more than 100 mtrs in my life till that time but somehow had the confidence to complete this run. You can sense my total disregard to the concept of distance and time here. In my mind, 5 km didn’t seem that difficult a target to accomplish. My confidence was crushed when I barely huffed and puffed my way past the finish line in 55 mins on the race day. Although my timing was horrible, this run somehow managed to release a great deal of endorphins in my body and gave me a sense of accomplishment. But that was it, I made unsuccessful attempts to make running into a habit many times after the marathon. I even purchased running shoes and active wear to motivate myself only ending up being stored safely in my cupboard. I just didn’t have the will to wake up early and run during the weekends.
Two years back, I was reunited with this sport when I was rock solid on my resolve to lose weight. I started slow but was determined to be consistent this time. I barely could complete 2 kms in the beginning but didn’t lose hope. I slowly increased the distance of my runs with each passing week and was able to build up the confidence to enroll myself into a 10 km marathon within 3 months.
Today, my love for this sport has completely transformed me for the better. As Will Smith said, it helps us quieten that little voice in our head which says “No” to any hurdle/struggle/change. Running gave me confidence to begin any new task headstrong and just dive right into it. The longest distance I’ve covered in a single session in the last 2 years has been 26 kms. Before the start of each long run, my mind always presents me with many negative emotions and doubts about completing the run. However, I’ve managed to complete every single run target I’ve set for myself and crossed the finish line feeling like a super woman each time.
There are certain habits which you know would work wonders for you yet difficult to imbibe. In my case it was running. I just had to force myself the first month and then it benefited me ways which were hard to ignore. I ran 5 kms after 4 months today because of the lock down and had the most surreal start to my day.