26 Reasons to Run a Marathon

In about 4 months I will be in the starting pens lining up to start the Chicago Marathon. After many months of strenuous training, I will have flown a staggering 3937miles to run 26.2miles. Sounds crazy right! What kind of an ‘idiot’ does this you may ask; and why? Let me put you out of your confusing misery. I get asked why I run marathons all the time, I don’t have one solid reason and I don’t think I ever will have one; what I do have is an aggregate of 26 reasons why.

1. Fitness
I’ve been health conscious since a young age; and as we grow older, our priorities tend to change and majority of the time we begin to neglect our health and fitness. Having that marathon or even that odd race planned in the near future will keep me going to the gym or pounding pavements at least a few times a week. Resulting in a steady health condition at the very least.

2. People
Since my first race in 2014, I’ve met some great people on-track and off-track. I’ve had some interesting conversation with fellow runners during a race, mostly on major races where people come from all different corners of the world.  If you’ve met me in the past three years and we became friends, marathoning may be a good reason for that.

3. Do (Aspire, Act, Achieve)
The simple act of saying that you are going to do something and actually following up and doing it. During my adolescence, there are numerous things I’ve started and stopped and/or gave up before getting to the end. Now every time I start pursuing something, I make sure that I actually follow up and finish it; and that applies to all areas of life, in career, relationships, life goals etc.

4. Travel
Running has just become another excuse to travel to places I’ve always wanted to go to, I did my first International race in Amsterdam in 2015; and the furthest I’ve travelled to is Berlin in September of 2016. Now I will be going to Chicago. I tend to spend a few cheeky extra days exploring the city, trying out the local cuisine and meet a few online friends (instafriends for those that know) and maybe go on a bit of an Instagram mission too.

5. Achievement
If you’re a runner, you’ll know one of the major perks of running a race is the medal that we receive in the end, the solid trophy that is the ideal climax for the months if not years of hard work, persisting, persevering, training on days we did not even feel like, keeping a healthy diet and fighting through numerous pains. It is not what I solely do it for but it’s something tangible representation of my motivation and unwillingness to give up. I now have quite a generous collection of medals hanging in my room, each one unique, each one with a story.

6. Pain Threshold
The first kilometre is nothing, the first five I feel like I’m on autopilot and the ‘superman’ feeling hits me around the 12k mark. The wonderful feeling soon goes away when closing onto the halfway point. Then the pain starts, the mind voices begin to talk; you’d want to stop and walk but you can’t there is a time penalty for that, you haven’t trained this much and travelled this far to half-arse this, you have to keep going.

The constant throbbing pain will hit at one point whether you are an elite runner or just trying to get across that line no matter what. That pain is one of a kind and it does sort of set a standard for one of the highest pain one will ever feel, there is so much beneath that. If I can do this, then it makes many other things possible.

7. Charity
Majority of runners tend to run a marathon for charitable reasons, it is indeed a great way to raise money for a cause you believe in. I’ve raised a fair amount for charity and continue to do so in many future races to come.

8. Self-Belief
Believing that I could complete such a mountainous and strenuous task and actually doing it really had an impact on my self belief. Doing it over and over again has more of an impact over time and will only strengthen my self belief.

9. #Goals
It’s always healthy go have a goal to work towards while training, to me it justifies all the grind and sweat that goes in and out of my workouts. I also find it that it affect others around me, it might motivate them to start hitting the gym again or even convince them to take part in an event (on the rare occasion).

10. Checkpoint
Marathons usually occur during the spring or fall seasons, and as it is something that has an impact on my day-to-day activities. I usually have a set of tasks and goals that I want to achieve (in life) before the next marathon.

11. Life
I say that a marathon is a metaphor for life, the ups, the downs, the pacing, the consequence of going faster than one should, or even being too slow. In short, there are many obstacles in life and we should not let them limit us and instead beat them down and just keep going till the end!

12. Inspire
This point is quite similar to #Goals. Running races and disassociating allows me to be inspired to do more ‘artistic’ things in life. Do more; and in the process of that inspire others!

13. Fearless-ness
I remember that slight feeling of fear when I signed up for my first half marathon; and even more so when I applied for that first marathon. I’ve now done over 15 races, the fear just gets smaller every time as confidence increases. Over time I reach out further into unknown territories that are more fearful to me. Fearfulness is foolishness.

14. Mental Strength
If you are a marathoner you will understand that it is beyond fitness and health. In the bigger picture, it is a journey, A journey of the mind, if you believe, then you can. The more you believe, the more possible something gets. Each and every attempt just increase your mental strength.

15. New Normal
For the majority, a marathon and/or any other distance races is a bucket list item, and it’s a one shot one tick sort of thing (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that); however I’ve managed to turn this into my lifestyle. My normal has now changed, in terms of fitness I am able to do a 10K with next to no training; and a half marathon with very little training (not showing off, but just showing that it’s possible).

16. Relativity
When I completed my first half marathon, completely in pain and waiting for a massage; I saw a guy walking around with over a dozen medals around his neck. My initial reaction was, oh wow, what a champ! A few years later, I am that guy. These are one of the prime examples when relativity came into play.

17. Perspective
Similar to the pervious point. Viewing myself from different timelines, some things that have seemed impossible, is now the norm. And some things that seem impossible now may become a reality in the future.

18. Realist 
It took me three marathons to realise that some personal records are unobtainable (without the hard work behind it of course). Setting unrealistic finishing times is a recipe for disaster, one can seriously get injured. It taught me to be to be realistic with many things in life, aim high but be smart about it, it’s not good to be deluded.

19. Persistance & Perseverance
‘Water cuts through rock because it is persistent’.

Pushing and pushing through boundaries, jumping curves and getting to the next level is what persistence is all about; and when you fail and fall, getting back up and carrying on until you achieve what you set out to do. That is perseverance, follow these two and you will be unbeatable. What a beautiful marriage! Apply this to life and you will achieve great success!

20. Disassociation
As I’ve mentioned before, marathon separates the mind and the body. And as it’s mainly about the mind, you have the ability to control it. You can are able to ‘zone-out’ i.e disassociate and think about other things. As the body is in constant motion, the mind can be anywhere it desires. It also helps not to think about however many miles you got to go until you finish.

21. Patience
The misconception of patience is to wait for something to happen. In actual fact, is it working for something that takes long, keep going till the end and finishing it. Patience is not waiting but not giving up on something that is time intensive.

22. GVO (Positivity)
Endorphins hence happy hormones is one of the chemicals released during running. Also called runners high, keep moving and have a constant release of this ‘unicorn juice’. A positive mindset will lead to a positive life.

23. Mind Control
As I’ve mentioned numerous times before, marathon is a mind game. As long as the physical side is in good order, your mental mindset will strengthen with progress. If you believe, you can!

24. Confidence
One of the major ways to increase your confidence is to work on self-confidence. Once you start to believe in yourself, your self-confidence increases as a side-effect; hence increasing your external confidence overall!

25. Therapy
Running is therapy, I’ve overcome many mental health issues since I’ve begun this journey. This probably needs a whole separate blog on its own; but to name a few my anxiety has tremendously gone down, my confidence has increased and I’m constantly wanting to keep moving out of my comfort zone.

26. Learning
Beginning from zero and progressing this far (and of course, I’ve got much further to go) gave me a confidence to be never afraid to learn something new, it is possible to start from zero at any time in life and progress to a higher level if you have the willingness to go it.

26.2. Awesomeness
If you’ve made it to the end, you’re a champion. I applaud your patience and unwillingness to give up, you may have what it takes to complete a marathon (winky face). As an added bonus, I’ll give you an additional reason why I do it. I’m sure many runners can relate when I say this, it simply adds a layer of awesomeness to life.

Determination #motivationmonday

marathons and mutton rolls.jpg

A simple spring roll; filled with the perfect ratio of spiced tender meat and square cut potatoes. Delicately wrapped in a fine layer of pastry and covered in an egg paste before it’s coated in scrumptious breadcrumbs. Carefully dipped in hot oil and fried until golden brown. A crispy outer layer contained in a soft spicy filling. Love at first bite.

Are you drooling yet?

This is a mutton roll. It’s simply not food, it’s poetry.

As many great things in life, this heavenly piece of creation has it’s consequences. Calories. It is not only filled with a delicious pâte, it is packed with calories and all kinds of mean things that do no good to the body. 

It takes a sheer amount of determination to say no to such a thing and the heart breaks a little every time.

‘Bad’ calories can be detrimental, especially if consumed during training. Fitness doesn’t only happen in the gym, the majority happens in the kitchen. Just like they say, you are what you eat.

The mutton roll is the metaphor for the daily battle we go through to resist temptation that may hinder the end result if we give into it; and the battle of determination we face when getting out of bed on a cold morning. And maybe getting ourselves to the gym or fitting that workout in. Stopping ourselves from taking a bite out of that creamy cheesecake or that bar of chocolate.

Luckily for me, I am mostly in control of my schedules and more importantly what I put in my body, it is one of the ‘perks’ of living on my own. However, when my mum visits, the menu changes quite a bit. Lately it’s been quite calory intensive, delicious food of course, but it does come at a cost. Something I have to massively pay for if I don’t keep myself in control.

Coming home to a steaming briyani after a militant gym session is not really ideal for the avid fitness freak. Especially when training for a marathon. One needs a massive amount of determination off track as well as on track when partaking in such an intensive physical activity.

Conversely, there is always a time to take a step back a little and enjoy life a bit and the essence of glourious food. I do have my days when all I do it eat and watch a marathon of movies. A marathon which I quite enjoy actually. Downtime is always nice. 

I had to limit my mutton roll intake in the last few years; ever since I’ve started to get into competitive sport, and this year, it’s more intensive than ever. My mental strength will grow even stronger by the end of this part of the journey.

The struggle is real. Just remember, one mutton roll doesn’t make you fat; and one workout doesn’t make you fit. Find your balance. 

Pain & Happiness

happiness and pain.jpgWe are no stranger to dreams and difficulties in life. We all have ambitions and many of us have been through times of hardship. These are two of the many vital factors that shape us as a person.

Happiness is derived from dream and pain is a derivation of the hardship one has experienced. These develop into a person’s threshold. It’s the highest and the lowest point of each individual person.

It is a spectrum that is different for every person and changes as life progresses. One person’s life cannot be compared to another’s. It is relative. Relative being the key word here.

Someone’s pain may be nothing to yourself, and your pain may be meaningless to someone else. It’s like the saying “Your small life is someone else’s big dream.” Always appreciate what you have and embrace pain, you are never given more than you can handle; and know that it doesn’t last forever!

The best ones turn their pain into their happiness, they build a dream of something that’s affected them largely in life. It is the best kind of motivation in my opinion.

Here’s a couple of examples:

Elon Musk (PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX)

elon musk.jpg

  • Pain
    • Suffered from Malaria
    • Lost first born child
  • Happiness

    • Multi-planetary species
    • Interstellar Space Travel

Steve Job (Apple, Pixar)

SteveJobsCloseUp.jpeg

  • Pain
    • Suffered from Pancreatic Cancer
  • Happiness
    • Change the world of Computing (putting it simply)

Casey Neistat (Youtuber, Filmmaker)

casey.jpg

  • Pain
    • Left school at 15, left home, made girlfriend pregnant, had son at 16
    • witnessed the 9/11 attack at close proximity
  • Happiness
    • Doing what he loves (filmmaking) until death

Your happiness and your pain creates your story. What is your story?

2017un

2016 has been no short of immense in terms of racing, having done 3 Marathons, 2 of which were major ones and a bunch of halves. As running continues to change my life, I will be going further and doing more next year. I’m going to calm down on Marathons and just keep it down to two, one in spring and one in fall. Doing better quality races instead of quantity.

I’ve also decided to introduce myself to two new categories of races, the Spartan Race, which is an intense obstacle course; and the London Duathlon, a combination of cycling and running. Let’s hope that I can make it through this challenge for next year. #wishmeluck

  • Worthing Half Marathon FEBRUARY 12. 
  • Thorpe Park Half Marathon FEBRUARY 26.
  • Silverstone Half Marathon MARCH. 12 
  • Greater Manchester Marathon APRIL.2 
  • Hackney Half Marathon APRIL. 30 
  • Spartan Sprint Race MAY. 21 
  • London 10000 MAY. 29
  • London Half Duathlon SEPTEMBER. 17 
  • Surrey Hills Half SEPTEMBER. 24
  • Chicago Marathon OCTOBER. 8 
  • Swiss City Half Marathon OCTOBER. 29 

2017un-2.jpg

Berlin by Bike

I primarily went to Berlin for the marathon, my second major marathon and third international race.

This time last year, running an international race was way out of my comfort zone; after Amsterdam and Paris, this has now evolved into my comfort zone, my new normal. So I just jumped on the plane, didn’t have a place to stay, had no itinerary, just figuring things out and making stuff up as I went along. The pure essence of spontaneity.

I’ve kind of warmed up to solo travel now. I’ve made a good number of friends, speak to a lot of interesting looking strangers (especially backpackers, they always have good stories to tell) and just get involved in random activities, doing whatever the heart desires. Keeping an open mind.

I ended up staying in a hostel (for the first time ever), I was always skeptical living in a shared dorm room but it actually turned out to be fun. I’ve met an array of characters from all around the world, old, young, solos, groups, nomads and many people who came to Berlin for the marathon too.

Berlin as a city was quite awesome, even though it is the capital of Germany it was relatively small and can be easily explored by bike. For the few days I was there I was able to explore most of the city, meet a couple of friends, ate some good food and of course run the marathon. Berlin, I will be returning.

Enjoy the gallery!

Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Having missed this immense event in the past two years, I was adamant to attend this year. Bristol is just under a 2 hour drive from my home, we so jumped into the car and made the trip down there. It’s a great place to visit, especially on a day like this even more so on a rare hot British Summer’s day like it was this year.

It is one of the biggest balloon fiestas in the world if not the biggest one. Usually a four day event, from Thursday to Sunday. Lots of people, activities, entertainment and most importantly food. It will definitely be a great day out with family and friends. They have two mass ascents each day, 6am and 6pm, depending on weather conditions of course. This year it went to plan and wow the views the surreal.

We were sitting in the mass ascent from the take-off point. The view from the Clifton Suspension Bridge is apparently epic; I would imagine the  views from the actual hot-air balloon would be super-epic. Definitely will try that out if I get the opportunity. I will be returning.

Enjoy the pretty pictures ;)

Fight Through Life !!

Just thought I’d do a little post about something that has been floating around my head for the past couple of months. I’ll try and keep this one short and simple. Don’t want to make it too long for you guys.

It is currently 12:19am on a Friday night and I’m sitting here at the emergency room as my sister is receiving immediate treatment for her agonising toothache. A prime example of how you randomly get hit in the head with life’s ‘little’ problems. 

Life is a continual battle, from the day we are born until death. You will be thrown problems after problems. Let me expand on that. The first few years is purely survival and provided that you are lucky enough to be born into a stable environment, you will make it to the next bit of life. It’s more of a physical battle than a mental one at that time. Then you’re a little kid you are limited to the amount of things you’re allowed to do, we all know the annoyance we experience when our parents say no to things. At teenage you are bombarded with piles and piles of work and you just have to hope you’re not an awkward teenager, that just would make things harder. As a young adult you just get more work during university/college, after that’s done, you have to work all the time and pay those dammed bills, then kids and all that blah blah. You can see where I’m going. It’s just a blizzard of problems. Very pessimistic. 

In every potion of life there is always a problems/obstacles/challenges. There will never be a point where you can say “I’m done!!” and put your feet up. You will be innocent enough to think that when you are younger, I know I was. Now after this 25 years of ‘experience’ I can say that the best you can do it take out those little moments and enjoy that time in your life, experience the essence of that age. Do what you are supposed to at that age, just live it, don’t miss out. 

Let’s look at the flip side, in the first few years, there is discovery, wonder and learning. When you are a kid, you have no major problems in life, no headaches, no bills to pay, it’s a time to be completely and unapologetically carefree. Teenage is time for many different types of discovery, it’s a time to explore and try different things. Being a young adult is when you get your first taste of freedom and so and so.  You can see that often the positives outweigh the negatives. Be optimistic. 

Sometimes life can stop throwing stones and rocks; instead  be harsh and throw a boulder at you, which may or may not bring life to a halt (depending on the mangnitude of that smash and your mindset as an individual). To that I can say that life can be a complete sh*tstorm and you have have to keep wiping the crap off your face and keep moving forward. Have no regrets and only look back to reminisce those good moments. 

At the end of the day, we don’t remember much of the negatives, only the good bits. 

Life goes on. Just keep livin’