"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."

I have always been an active person. I love sports, I was a PE major and I am very competitive. But while living in Taiwan there seems to be less opportunities and less motivation to go out and find sports teams or events. And now that I do basically nothing outside of school I feel as if I have lost that "athlete" label I once so proudly wore. I work too much and eat junky western food (because I am a little over the Taiwanese cuisine) and I can feel it in my body.

So, finally I decided to do something about it. And now, I run. I have started running once before while living in Canada. I wanted to train to run a 10km race with some friends. When that plan fell through the running stopped. The idea of being in a race was my sole purpose for training and I was no longer motivated. This time it is different. I am running to regain that part of myself I feel like I left behind. Although I am not playing team sports with all my friends, running is something new and challenging. I have a wonderful friend here, Mandy who is on a similar path and we push each other. We each run at our own pace and distance but I know that she will be there to start the run each day, and when I finish we will have a chat about how our run went. We motivate, encourage and vent to each other. I also have motivation from JP. Although he does not really understand why I would run if no one is chasing me ... he is very proud of my dedication.

all smiles after my first 10km

Mandy and I in the mountains

Running is something very different than I have ever done before. I am not playing against anyone else. There is no score. There are no teammates to pick you up or opponents to crush. Running is a mind game. A very difficult and competitive mind game with yourself. It demands that you know your body and it's limits. Running forces you to block out your thoughts of stopping or slowing down cause your body can do so much more than you know. Excuses creep in. It's raining, it's too hot, I'm tired, I ran yesterday, I' m sore, I will run tomorrow but you need push on. I have learned to breathe out the stitches, control my own pace and to mentally argue with myself and win!

When I started 2km was my marathon. And now after a month of consistently pounding the pavement I can run 10km in an hour. There is no secret to running. You just have to do it. You have to go out everyday and push yourself either a little faster or a little farther each time. What has really helped me is that Mandy and I celebrate every little milestone. Each 1km further, one minute faster or even working out for 5 days in a row. All of them are small victories that will add up to the ultimate goal. What I want is to be an athlete. Not only in mind but in body. I want to be physically healthy and fit.

More than anything, I want to be confident in myself and know I am strong.

"You have to wonder at times what you are doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self satisfaction and a sense of achievement."


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