At a recent event…
Q: Parul, describe your journey as a runner/marathoner.
Me: Looking stunned, wondering how to answer this, as it was a room full of achievers- not only faster runners, but better runners and ultra marathoners. But my journey has barely begun I am thinking.
I mumble something about my sub-4 marathon, but the thought remains in my head.
I am at a loss as to what I should do with myself, when I wake up with the body alarm at the late hour of 5.45 am (instead of the usual 5 am). The next morning, my pondering continues as I use this time- post race as a period of recovery.
What makes us limit our dreams? How often we hear around us…I can never do it. That we can’t imagine ever reaching where someone else has reached. So I feel, that- that is because we base it on our current level of fitness and our past experiences. And we can never imagine moving out of that zone…. The target looks too far, too impossible (if I can say that J). Our brain cannot see the path.
As we improve in something, be it maths or science in school, or weight loss, the initial break through happens relatively easily. With lesser effort. Then it is the rewarding feeling which eggs us on to make further progress. To cross the boundaries that we never thought we could even reach.
After I cut my time by 24 minutes last year (4:09- FM), the general expectation (of others, and secretly me too) was that I can easily cut another 9 minutes and go for the much desired sub-4. A scary thought! And easier said than done I felt. It may work mathematically- and certainly not in real life. Anxiety and self created pressure was paramount.
There is something about moving out of your comfort zone. I discovered it last year- now I am addicted! Now I live there. That new place, which you are kind of acquainted with, and don’t quite know so well. The place which is constantly evolving. That place where you discover new things.
But the truth is, once we move to a new plane…scale a new peak- we can see further. Much further. And the horizon seems closer. And we can see the path to the new goal. We can see this road only because we made the effort to climb this far…scaled the tall steep steps. This new land, else, would have only remained in our imagination- a place which we know existed, a place which others lived in – but we could only hear about it with envy. We could see the locked door, the entry to this land, but we did not have the key. Now I realize, there was no key, only a password- Courage.
For some, the goal maybe running a marathon, others a sub-5 or sub-4 marathon. The end of the road. Their destination. But most of us- once we achieve what we have set out to achieve, look for another challenge. Hence, for me today…my journey has just begun.
Putting my last race behind me, I look ahead. I am the master of my destiny. I look ahead to create a new challenge. I have learnt a lot over the years, my abilities have changed, and so have I, as a person and a runner.
I will dream. But the fear to dream big has merely reduced. I remain a realist, and set smaller achievable goals, but those which will eventually complete the larger picture. The journey should be fun, but the destination from here seems intimidating. That is the place I want to go. The road becomes narrower and steeper. There are no handrails here. But the view is phenomenal. All I have on my side, is a memory, the confidence that with dedication I will be capable, and faith, which will drive me to keep at it.
In life, if we know that pain is awaiting us round the corner, then we can prepare for it. We gather fortitude, strength and endurance. Eventually when the pain comes, it could be much harder than what we had anticipated, but maybe the preparation will help us cope a little better.
Pain comes to those who need to evolve to a higher plane.
Pain comes to those who are tough enough to handle it.
Awake, Arise, or be forever Fall’n…
– Satan, Book 1, Paradise Lost