Lim: Accidental runner

·3 min read

I did not set out to be a runner. I just became one by accident.

I’m not a competitive runner. I only run for fitness and fun. I wasn’t good at any sport when I was young. So, when running was all the rage, I had zero interest in it. But life is full of surprises.

While I did like going to the gym, after a sabbatical of more than a decade, I felt it was too late to return. But some things are written in the stars—like cancer and surgery. The gym beckoned to me. From there, I thought, why stop now?

But then came the pandemic. And before long, I found myself falling off the wagon. The misery of 2020, however, pushed me to take a leap of faith. In December of that year, I joined my first virtual run. Since then, I’ve never stopped running.

Today, I run for many reasons. I run to burn calories, to build my core, to strengthen my legs but also my lungs. I run to help my heart pump more efficiently. Five years ago, my resting heart rate was 65. Today, it is 53.

I run to clear my mind, to listen to dance music and to escape into a time and space for 90 minutes uninterrupted. I run to stay fit but also to stay sane and yet, feel giddy. There is no substitute for the happy hormones released after 90 minutes of cardio. After a run, I could dance all night.

Running lifts my spirits, puts a smile on my face, makes my heart race. I know what you’re thinking. But this is way less complicated.

But running has also taught me patience, discipline and determination.

You have to listen to your body. You cannot force it to do what it is not ready to do. You have to learn to wait, rest and recover. You’ll find that when you get back, you’ll do even better.

It’s easy to be lazy. So, you have to set goals so that you will choose to spend 90 minutes running on the treadmill rather than sitting on the couch glued to Netflix.

Start with small, achievable goals. Because when you achieve a goal, you will be motivated to do more. That’s how I started. And that’s what I continue to do today.

Every time I get on the treadmill, I start with small goals. I tell myself to just go for 5K but in my heart, I want to run at least 10K. When I get to 5K, I go for 8K, then for 10K. After breaching 10K, I know I can go even further.

Every run is different. Some days, I feel like Superwoman. Some days, I feel like an old woman. Sometimes, I can’t beat my personal record but I will try again, next time. In fact, I try—every time.

Don’t kill yourself. Know when to stop. But don’t give up. Live as you run. Pace yourself. But know that you’re never too old and it’s never too late to start something good in your life.

I did not set out to be a runner. I just became one by accident. I’m actually quite the planner. But I never saw this coming. Life really is full of surprises.

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