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.

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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?

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’

Internal Demons #VLM

Completed the Virgin London Marathon yesterday. Home turf. One of the World Majors and on the same year the millionth finisher crossed the line. What a treat and a privilege to be a piece in the making of history.  Also “smashed” my PR (personal record) I’m still overwhelmed by the feeling and experience in the last 24 hours.

I’m going to be discussing more about the change in my mindset rather than the race day experience. That being said, London Marathon was one my of my best running experiences thus far, the support from the crowd was second to none, the course was amazing and I was more prepared for this race more than ever. If you’re thinking about applying next year, just do it. Don’t think twice, you will not regret it!

I think this is a good time for reflection of how far I’ve come since I ran my first race back in late-2014. 4 marathons and 5 half-marathons later; an accumulated distance of nearly 275kms. 275kms of being out of my comfort zone. Ironically this is becoming my comfort-zone now. The journey I’ve been through has been revolutionary for me. Finding and discovering many different traits about myself.

“The only person stopping you is you”.

Internal demons are those negative dark disgusting thoughts that create self-doubt, overthinking, over-analysing; everything that brings you down in life, sometimes very very low.

This journey has allowed my to ‘let go’ and to ‘kill off’ some of them and bury them within me. Sounds brutal but I did warn that this article wasn’t for the light-hearted.

Marathon running is more of an emotional sport than a physical one. If you’re a runner, I’m sure you’ll be nodding with agreement. I learned so much about perspective, relativity, dissociation etc (let’s save that for the next running article).

Marathon has become a metaphor for life, everything experience and conquered can be applied to life. The same emotions than allow us to run a successful marathon will enable us to lead a successful life. Running is not my life but it is definitely part of my life. I hope I can continue to say that for many years to come.

Different people have different approaches to removing theses internal demons. Some may dance, sing, travel etc. The common thing between these are that they are all an art-form, as is running. If you’ve been reading my running blogs for a while. I’ve always said that they are more an exercise for the mind than the body, and it is evident from the somewhat-awesome effects it’s having on my life.

I may look the same from the outside but the Internal structure has been reshaped and enhanced.

Stronger than yesterday and still continue to move upwards and onwards. Here’s to a stronger tomorrow.

I made a minute documentary or my Paris and London Marathon experience. Feel free to watch if you have a few minutes to spare.

Superawesome Marathon Film

Just Like Everybody Else. #Happytuesday

Sunday evening, sitting here tangled in my thoughts. An academic with a creative vision. Having achieved an engineering degree; a subject matter that finds a better way or sometimes a new and different way of approaching a problem; it has taught me a lot. Not just how to calculate numbers and analyse engineering related problem; but a little bit about life, how to live a better more efficient life and the general lifestyle that I was aiming to obtain.

It began when I went off to university many years ago; having passed my A-levels and having done everything that I am supposed to have done before I reached that stage of my life. Life was quite a challenge up until that point and I was prepared to face the upcoming challenges.

Having watched ‘The secret life of Walter Mitty’, and a compendium of many other factors have made an impact, a tangental movement of thoughts in my life.

I was having a conversation with my mum one night regarding the future and other matters; and it struck me. I was following a pattern, a pattern that everybody else was following. It kind of goes like this:

GCSE > A-level > University > Job > Marriage > Children > Their lives

I had progressed to the third stage.

I see this as a blank standard life. This is the system, this is life inside the box. It’s not an easy life, it is one hard to achieve, but what would I have really achieved?

Life up until this point was predictable and if I follow that pattern (a pattern which society expects you to follow) then life would be predictable in the foreseeable future. The element of surprise, mystery and spontaneity might be removed from life. Now don’t get me wrong, life has it’s moments, but then those were only moments, I wanted a lifestyle which would contain those three elements.

If you are following that pattern that everybody else is following, then you will have to face the same problems that everybody else is facing. They freak out on a Monday, work the dreaded 9-5, spend most of life stuck in traffic, look forward to a Friday; only create goals when it’s new year (just for the sake of having a new years resolution) and many other mediocre components.

Now I’m not suggesting that you leave education, or quit your job. I’m telling you to look around and see what you are doing; some people are satisfied and completely content living the passable life. However if you aren’t feeling it then it’s time to make a change. This reminds me of something that Steve Jobs said, ‘The life that we are living is created by people who are no smarter than us, we have to take a chance and modify it for the better’

Life doesn’t come with a rulebook, and to a certain extent we are able to take advantage of that and break free. We are a limited when we are younger, but we will be older at one point hence have full control of our life, once we are there we can choose to make the changes needed for a more satisfied and a more broad life. Live the life that has traces of spontaneity, excitement and awesomeness.

Me jumping like there's no tomorrow

I have reserved admiration for people that do not follow the rule of life; and slightly bend it and create their own paths. Some may say that it is a life with a twist.

Some of the people discovered over the years and look up to are:

* Casey Neistat

* Jack + Finn Harries

* Lois Cole

* Ben Brown

* Elliott Hulse

* Lizzie Velasquez

and many many more.

Do not settle; get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Keep stretching and test your limits.

Follow your heart, live the life you love, do not care what others think; and don’t hurt anybody in the process. That’s all.

Inspire the ones who think alike and are fearful of what society may think if the ‘break’ certain rules.

Live in this world, but do not live with it.

Don’t be a number, be a name.

Just a thought.

Aspirations & Achievements #happytuesday

Everyone has some sort of dream, big or small. Having dreams, goals and aspirations is a sign of a healthy lifestyle. If shows that one has direction in life, they know what they what and where they want to be in the future.

However there is a fault in this; people have dreams and most of the time they don’t make any effort in their present to take steps in order to achieve their dreams.

They might have a vision of how their future is supposed to be. However there will be lack of action taken to make that vision a reality.

I myself was one of those people; I had a vision of how I was supposed to be in a time period in the future but took no action to work for that.

Now after detecting that flaw, I have made little changes and I started to pursue my dream.

It’s better to full-ass one thing that to half-ass two things. Become good at one thing at one time. Something to think about :)

Stay awesome.

#happytuesday