Whilst the caption of this article sounds larger than life, in order to break it down and crystallize it, let me start with an example: I ran my first marathon this year at a tender age (bonewise!) of 41.
Aside from the bragging rights that running the whole 42.195K confers (and which, I evidently exercise ever so diligently!), the point that I am trying to make here is this: it is never too late in life to challenge comfort zone or find your greatness (whatever that term may mean for you).
I embarked on running a little over four years ago and have since run several quarter-and-half marathons. However “42K is a completely different beast”, I was assured.
So when I mentioned to a friend that I am planning to run the distance, she just rolled her eyes and said “that is a lot of distance to (even) drive, let alone run…are you *%$#[email protected]# insane?!”. Whilst I will beep out the adjectives she used for me in the interest of decorum, what was remarkable was that her comment instead of adding another layer of self-doubt only egged me on further. The desire to run the entire 42 K was on my mind for over four months but it had always sounded akin to summiting the Everest!
So, I thought to myself – “hmm..what are the odds?” Agree, you can’t run a marathon on a whim. Agree, it is a treacherous, brutal, ruthless undertaking and sucks every ounce of strength out of you, but I knew the recipe to nail it lay in dedicated practice, endurance, right food (simple homemade), hydration and above all, diligence.
So, alongside the everyday odds and chores, I simply set the intention and continued to go about things with diligence and discipline. The target time I set for myself was a royal 6 hours (lest I’d be a ‘DNF’ in the race)! Amidst a whirlwind of emotions for days leading up to and including the night prior to the big day, on race day, I dressed up, showed up, ran and completed the race comfortably in 5:15 hours, which I thought was great(ness).
Two things made me face and sail through ‘the beast’ like a breeze – (1) despite my demanding day jobs, I was consistent and disciplined about my regime with the realisation that running a 42K injury – free and without bonking was a mental game as much as physical, and (2) eating and respecting all food groups (remember Class 2 lessons – carbs give us energy, proteins are for bodybuilding + repair, the importance of vitamins, minerals, fat and so on!) and hydration are key. And that’s it. That is it! I look forward to marauding the beast again. This time hopefully in 4:45 hours.
As someone once famously said, ‘Comfort zone is a great place; except nothing ever grows there’. Isn’t that such a profoundly compelling thought? It instantly resonates with each one of us across all age, shape, size, and temperament.
Whoever we are and whatever our calling in life, each day we get a host of opportunities to challenge comfort zone, seize the day and find that true ‘purpose’ in life – it means different things for different people, but it is meaningful nonetheless. For some of us it could be clinching a mega-deal that day, for others it could be buying that dream car or love being reciprocated or getting great grades, resuming a passion or hobby after years, lending a helping hand, securing the top job, cracking a great college, getting a pat on the back from the boss, seeing our parents fit as a fiddle, completing a complicated task or a homework, helping a colleague, bailing out someone in distress – whatever it is that puts happiness on our face and makes us feel like we have found our ‘greatness’ … for the day!
Achieving that greatness is simple. Every day. Here’s how: it is important to set an intention. Once set, just talk yourself into going after it like a beaver, with focus and a smile. So the next time you hit the snooze button at dawn, just spare a quick thought on why you had put that alarm at the first place and get cracking! You are only as fast, as slow, as lazy or as motivated as YOU make it out to be that day! So no matter what get up, dress up, show up and never give up! After all, a ship is safely parked in the harbor, but that’s not where it belongs or why it was built at the first place! Get the drift?
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About the Author
Namrata Singh is a corporate lawyer by profession based in Delhi and a mother of two footballers aged 9 and 12. She is absolutely fascinated with understanding how stress works on the brain. Namrata runs marathons and practices contemplative practices like yoga and meditation, which she strongly believes has the power of dramatically altering an individual’s entire paradigm with its subtle but significant approach. Namrata can be reached at [email protected]
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