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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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. 

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!

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

2016 in Races

I have really exceeded my potential in 2015, with five races, two of them being marathons, one abroad too. I’ve been trying to thread running into my life, into my daily/weekly routine and make it part of my lifestyle.

In 2016 I hope to “rip apart” the following courses:

  • January 31: London Winter 10K run
  • February 14: Worthing Half Marathon [possible]
  • March 13: Silverstone Half Marathon :D
  • March 26: Regent’s Park Run
  • April 3: Paris Marathon :D
  • April 24: Virgin London Marathon
  • August 21: Isle of Wight Half Marathon [possible]
  • September 11: Great North Run
  • September 25: Berlin Marathon

People often ask me, why do you do this? what’s the point of this? There is no straightforward answer, but to put it simply it makes my normal seem awesome. It helps me balance life, not be afraid to fail, just to say f*ck it and go for things; and of course stay fit and motivated.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily” – Zig Ziglar

It helped me get rid of several internal demons, but lets save that part of a separate blog post.

These are the bunch of medals that I’ve achieved so far. One from 2014 and the rest from 2015.

Medals001

It’s been somewhat of a slow journey but I’ve reached a total of 1000 km on nike+ [username: jonnyk3 if you’d like to add me]. Let’s go for another 1000 km.

nike1000001

Oxford Half Marathon

I spontaneously applied for this Half Marathon just a month ago. I have the Amsterdam Marathon next week and I thought this was a good way to ‘prepare’ for that race. Quite ironic because I wasn’t completely prepared for this race. When I ran my first half marathon [Royal Parks Half] exactly a year ago, I spent a lot of time and effort making sure I can run that. Maybe I’m a little more confident or maybe even overconfident,

So as usual, woke up early in the morning, fuelled up on a smoothie, fuelled up the car, then made my drive to Oxford. This was actually the second time I’ve visited Oxford and after many years; it’s a shame because I only live about an hour away. Oxford is a place full of hidden gems and I will definitely go back to explore it in full glory.

I was accompanied by my older sister; so naturally she did the photo/video coverage and sometimes holding my gear too. Anyway, back on topic; the course is wonderful, mostly flat all the way through so definitely PR territory for anyone who wants to improve their half marathon time. Although for my I didn’t beat my best half marathon time and ended up getting a 2:34. Mostly due to lack of preparation and I didn’t push myself and face injured before the Amsterdam Marathon next week.

Enjoy the picos and props to vitality for sending me a complimentary pic moments before crossing the finishing line.