better than

Perhaps it’s part of human nature to underestimate one’s abilities…

Today I ran 5.4km in under 32 minutes. I ran/jogged continuously for 5.4km, and I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve ever managed to do that.

Previously, I’d go for hour-long runs, but I’d stop and walk after every 1-2km. A few weeks ago, I ran 4km in about 25 minutes, and I thought that that was going to be my limit. Shows how much I know.  

To be fair, the 4km run was after a day of work, and toward the end of the week too. Today’s run was after a day sitting around at home, just reading and sitting in front of the computer. I also had a lot more sleep this time.

Knowing that I could run continuously for 25 minutes, I decided to set myself the goal today of running for 30 minutes. Seemed reasonable. At the very least, I wanted to get to 25 minutes again.

I think it’s been a long time (a week? maybe more?) since my last run, so I was feeling a bit uncoordinated at the start. I had my doubts about making it to 30 minutes, but I told myself it didn’t really matter – just try for at least 25 min.

My right knee and ankle felt a bit weird at the start too, like I’d landed on my right foot a bit awkwardly at one step. I wondered if I should stop and stretch it out. Don’t worry, I told myself, it’s nothing – just need to adjust my stride a bit, and pay more attention to the path ahead.

After these small obstacles, the 30 minutes actually passed by pretty quickly. I don’t know if it was an illusion of the fading light, or if it was because the park was so deserted, or because I was just so focused (while simultaneously keeping the noise in my mind down to a low whisper) – whatever it was, I feel like this was not only the best run I’ve ever done, but also the easiest.

I added on the extra 1-2 minutes to get back to my starting point (hence the approximation of 32 minutes), walked for a little bit, and then sprinted about 230m home. Sprinted. It felt so good.

I was talking to a friend a while back about this constant need for self-improvement. We always want to be better than ourselves: faster, stronger, smarter. But what is the point? Sure, it’s an admirable thing to strive for, but what happened to “good enough”? Are we not allowed to just be satisfied anymore?

At the time, I think I said something to her about not being static, or maybe I said something about self-fulfilment. Tonight, I’m overjoyed about my achievement – my betterment of a previous best – but, tonight, all of that is secondary to this post-run high that has me feeling more “normal” again.

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2 thoughts on “better than

  1. I have learnt to run for 40 minutes – and some is uphill – since starting on January 1! Frankly, I didn’t think it was possible but I see the improvements every week. It feels good, doesn’t it?

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