Well we have seen men and women in their peak physical form, they seem to have boundless energy and are able to perform magnificent feats of superhuman ability.
Well, here’s my take on fitness. Really really fit people, are not really fit. In fact there is no such thing as a really really fit person. Any athlete will tell you, in my context, any martial artist will tell you, all dramatic demonstration of their skills and abilities are achieved through a huge level of SUFFERING.
No one knows about the injuries, the fatigue, the exhaustion, the weariness and still have to continue. the bitching and whining we all experience. Yes, these bouts do happen to really, really fit people.
The answer is that they are able to take in all these suffering AND perform. Not a single one of them hadn’t been injured badly before, suffered a cramp, dealt with fractures and bruises. After all these, they still execute amazing feats. This makes them inspirational.
No, they are not flawless, Their excellence is a summation of their injuries and their ability to continue despite of all that, that makes them worth watching.
So the next time you see a really fit person, don’t think about the glory, think about the person’s untold dark days and long lonely periods of doldrums.
I realised that there are some other details I’ve not explain well in my other 2 posts.
No, I didn’t lose weight, nor was I aiming to when I started this challenge. The strange thing was the weight loss should have come as a sort of given effect, as I am putting more activities on the road, every day, but no, my weight stays on stubbornly.
What actually happened was my blood pressure started dropping. This was more acute when I run in the morning and take the readings after that, evening reading has traditionally for me been a spike, but even that was brought down during my runs at night.
That was an encouraging sign as it does indicate that my body is responding positively to the increased cardio-vascular stress and load.
To be frank the challenge was more like an experiment. I wasn’t sure if I can keep to it, as there are many unexpected things that can happen to break my running streak (pun intended). I could fall ill, got hurt, it could rain, and a lot of other events.
More importantly it is a self-commitment to see how far I can take it, before the challenge, I do felt stiffness/pain on my lower back, and instantly the mind came up with this perfect excuse/reason: “Yeah, shouldn’t run so much/long! Give ya back a break!” Or days where I planned it poorly, and ended up exhausted even before I hit the road, I’d tell myself: “Why the heck are you doing this!” Or “At your age?” Or “Hadn’t you got enough? Aikido, Cycling home, and then another 5km?”
While there are tonnes of reasons why you will tell yourself not to do it, I always give myself 2 reasons why I do it:
1- It’s only for 30 days, consecutively, so don’t break it.
2- It’s only 30 minutes out, it’ll be over before you know it.
These 2 mantras helped me get through the toughest run, which is always about the mindset. Even during the run, these excuses/reasons never leaves me alone. But action builds traction. I learned that as long as I keep at it, I’ll get through it. Except when it rains.
I’ve already mentally prepared that even if it rains, I’d run. Unless it is a massive thunderstorm. Then I’ll have to resort to Plan B, and thankfully I have a treadmill at home for such continencies, which I only used once.
The other time which I had to look for a gym/treadmill, was a Thursday where I have to see Ian off, flying to Japan for your 9-day school trip. I knew then the night will end late for me, so I left work a little early, popped into an ActiveSG gym, ran the 5km, showered and head off to the airport.
The mind is a very tenacious mechanism, and we need to be careful where we apply the tenacity, it can work for us or it sure has hell can work against us.
The other thing was a reality check which was closely tied to our mindset. We have to hit the action button constantly to make sure we are who we are, and not who we think we are. I also wanted to see how my body espond to a higher physical tempo, will I break? Will I fall ill? Thakfully my body held up well through the entire 30 days.
Putting 5km every day on the road, helps me constantly check myself. If I can do it, then there is no lying about it. And if I pretend to be fit when I am not, then there is no way I can do what I did. And despite of my physical ability to do it. The lazy me, did thought of cheating, like cycle instead of jogging, or do a quick 3 km and qualify it as an effort. The mind is tricky and sly, it is a constant battle to keep at it, and not stray from the goal.
There is a popular saying that it takes about 3 months for a habit to set in. I think that is bullcrap. It takes a long longer, and it takes commitment, discipline, and constant eye on the target to keep at it. And breaking it? It is just a matter of days. And the body will want to stay at rest, and continue its optimum rest position.
But what I learned was to be kind to myself, while it is a 30day challenge, I walsy give myself a caveat. I am not going to die achieving it. If I need to break it, so be it, I’m fine, and I am not going to be unhappy about it.
Besides, this was my 3rd attempt, as I’ve failed once a long time back, and again in Sept this year, where I must stop due to a bad bike fall.
At the end of the day, I took away valuable lessons in exercise, and staying in control. You see, to be able to put on your shoes and run, would mean that you have faculties under your control and influence.
While your world might become crazily out of control, as long as you can run and exercise, you will know deep down inside there’s still a part of you, that you have control and influence over. It is important for us to build our self-confidence over our own effort to shape and work our body, this is one faculty, no one has permission to control, except ourselves.