I’m not a runner and I don’t like the gym. These were words I often said up until June this year. In fact if you have attended one of my talks about goal setting you may have even heard me say it.
Tick Tock Ten
In May this year I attended the book launch of “Deca IronMan” Gerry Duffy. His book Tick Tock Ten mapped his journey through one of the toughest sporting challenges know to man; A Deca Iron Triathlon. To those of you not familiar with the Ironman event, competitors are required to swim 3.8km, Cycle 180Km and run a full marathon of 42.2 km. That’s an Iron distance triathlon. A Deca IronMan requires the competitors to do it ten days in a row, yes you read that right, ten days in a row they run, swim and cycle those crazy distances. And no, I am not thinking of doing one. I attended the book launch and bought his book not with the intention to start running, only interested in the psyche of a person who can do such a thing.
A couple of weeks later sitting around drinking beer with some girlfriends, I spoke about the book. We spoke about running, I started with my usual line and my own personal explanation of why I can’t run. I have weak knees, a problem with my hip that hasn’t been diagnosed and I’m not a natural runner. I just don’t have the physique for running. One of the girls challenged me to start running, initially I declined the challenge but then something clicked. Maybe I heard my feeble excuses, maybe reading the book did spark a desire to run, I’m not sure what did it but on the 3rd of June this year I downloaded RunKeeper and went for a run.
[Note: Many new apps have come on the market since 2013 here are a list of 5 of the best running apps of 2017]
Well when I say run, I ran for 60 seconds. I then walked for 90 seconds and repeated these intervals 8 times. I thought I was going to die. I’m not unfit, or so I thought. I can run around a tennis court for 2 hours, walk long distances and cycle on my exercise bike a couple of times a week. But to run in a straight line for more than 60 seconds posed a problem for me.
This morning I ran 2.5km. To some that might not be a great achievement, to me it’s momentous. It’s half way to my goal of 5km by the end of the year. It’s not just the physical achievement that I’m happy about it’s the mental one. It’s the part where I stopped making excuses and realised once again that anything is possible. I stopped focusing my energy on what I couldn’t do and started to focus it on what I could do! It’s a wonderful feeling.
Last Friday I ran a Productivity workshop. One of the participants at the workshop had a difficult time accepting my way of doing things. I could see her frustration as I suggested certain changes to her existing system. Obviously her boss noticed too and left the room to return with the following quotation from Socrates
“The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new”
Do you find it difficult to change? Are there changes you need to make? What are your excuses?
Stop fighting the new and embrace change, take a chance to do things differently, you may find your life changes for the better, at worst you will have experienced something new.
Photo Credit: The Runner by Graham Schofield
Enjoyed your article. I believe adapting to and ultimately embracing change are fundamental life skills in a world that is changing so rapidly. Like the participant in your workshop, too many of use are trapped in our old ways of thinking. We resist challenges to our routines instead of looking for opportunities. We should lead lives designed for agility instead of fragility and rigidity.
Hi Tony, thanks for your comment I like the sound of an agile lifestyle, it’s only when we live outside our comfort zone that we are truly living!
I love that quote! I think my biggest challenge with change is the tendency to slip back into the old comfortable way of doing things. I do this especially when I’ve reached a point of challenge or when I’ve come to a point where I’m not sure what to do next.
Your progress with running is inspiring!
Hi Patti, That’s so true it often happens with me when I get injured or am sick. I suppose it’s about recognizing the behaviours that prevent us from getting back on track or in your case from moving forward. When I listen to my inner chatter I’m more equipped to deal with the excuses that I make for not doing what I know I want to do. And guess what I’m injured at the moment and itching to get out and run.
Very inspiring article Ciara! Honestly, I can relate to your story. I always make excuses. I wanted to go to the gym but it seems that I’m having a difficult time to work on my hectic schedule, or maybe because procrastination reigns over my thoughts. But after reading your article, I just want to tell myself that I should have no excuses and I can do this. Thanks for sharing your experience. 😉
thanks for your comment. I hope you make it to the gym, it always makes us feel better in the end. Good Luck
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