Meeting new challenges: Running

Running, I absolutely hated running during my teenage years and early twenties. Do you know that feeling when you’re forced to take a run in physical education class and everyone is starting off sprinting as best as they can, but you just end up almost at the end of the pack? Do you know that feeling of embarrassment that creeps up inside you after you finally reach the finish line? Well… that was me.

After I had changed around my eating habits, lost a lot of weight, and started making sports an integral part of my life, I still hesitated to start running again. For some reason, probably because of the bad memories I had kept in the back of my mind, I had decided that running just was not the right sport for me. I had wondered why so many people loved to run through the streets day in, day out, and most of all, why they were so much better at it than I was.

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Make your training as enjoyable as possible: I loved running around the Kiessee in Göttingen.

However, somewhere inside me, the challenge of overcoming my fear and changing yet another part of my life tempted me. And so, one day, out of no particular reason, I decided to run for a little bit, just for fun. (Yes, when I wrote this I immediately thought of “Forrest Gump” as well!) After running for about ten to fifteen minutes, I had to stop and walk for a little bit, before I took off again. What I realized on that day was that I could do it. It wasn’t my body that was unfit for running, but my mind! All of my bad experiences had built up an invisible wall patrolled by guards telling me that I could go no further, that this was as far as I was allowed to go. But on that day, I was so proud of myself for taking on the challenge that my short stint motivated me to run more often and to increase the length of my stints. Additionally, I began educating myself a little bit about the running sport by browsing through books in the bookstore and took some of my new knowledge to heart. I improved my breathing technique for example and made sure I was running in the right body position.

Two weeks ago today, I finished my first 5k and couldn’t be prouder of myself. During the summer, I had signed up for the traditional annual run in my hometown and had practiced regularly in order to reach my goal. I did not want to finish in a particular time or wasn’t having the illusion of winning a medal (I’m not THAT far yet), I simply wanted to FINISH and complete the 5000 meters without having to stop for a break. And the feeling of running over the finish line was incredible!

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My sister and I after we ran our first 5k. (Photos: Wagner)

Why am I telling you all this and even devote a whole post to it? My success of meeting a challenge and expanding my own personal boundaries is something I wouldn’t have thought possible five or six years ago. And it is another sign for me that I can change and am on a good path to become the person I want to be. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past, you can always set new goals for yourself and work on them until you reach them. And they don’t have to be goals to improve your health or fitness, I am talking about any goal you set for yourself. Even if they’re small goals and may seem insignificant to others, they are one step on the way for you! My own process of losing weight and changing my life around, including making sports an important and fun part of my life, is proof of that.

If you haven’t read my series of posts about my personal journey yet, you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

So get up, find your own personal challenges, and work on mastering them!

As always, let me know about your experiences or ask questions!

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