Resist the urge to not call yourself a runner.
So I ran 17.5km under the rain this morning. That’s it. That’s the post…
Running in the rain is actually one of my favourite ways to run. I sweat less because my body temperature is being controlled by the environment. I’d usually prefer to run when the rain has just stopped or is drizzling very lightly but the rain today was mostly turned on to its fullest intensity. I started the run before the rain started which is usually the way to go about a rainy run. Because if the rain starts before I’m running, then I’m not going to run. I’m going to give excuses. While I’m already doing the thing though, it’s much harder to excuse quitting.
Which brings me to the first metaphor of today’s run.
One big wonder of mine is how entrepreneurs keep going. Especially on days where it feels like such a good idea to quit. Yup, there are times when quitting feels like a good idea. And there are probably times when it is. I feel that urge to quit a lot in my writing life. In the middle of a story or article that’s taking weeks un-end to finish; by this point, I have lost the excitement I had when I first started the piece and I am asking myself questions like “why did I even start this?” “Why am I even doing this?” “What’s the point?” I have many stories in my ‘incomplete’ folder that I don’t have the answers to these questions for. I don’t know if I ever will. Some stories, I do have the answers to and those stories have become part of my medium page or are lying somewhere in my drive waiting for someone to accept them and get me published.
That’s another thing I think of quitting: attempting to get published. I have been trying for a pretty long time and on some days, I really do think I should give it up because I can’t remember why I started or what the point is. Why do I want so much to get published? I guess it’s some form of validation. I don’t really feel like a writer if I am simply writing for myself but at the same time I want to do all my writing for myself. It’s why this medium account exists and why I have so many different publications and why I have never quite gotten the hang of freelance writing: because I want to write for myself. But why do I write for myself? It’s not getting me any visibility or money or validation? So what’s the point of going on? Why don’t I just quit?
Why don’t I just quit?
It’s kilometre 5 of a 17.5-kilometre run. I know that’s how far I am going to run but why don’t I just stop?
The hardest part of a run is starting. I think maybe this is the same for a lot of things. And that’s the second metaphor of today’s run.
Starting is the hardest part.
Most runs actually start before the run itself. The decision to run is as much a part of the run as the running motion itself. Okay maybe not as much but before I get to the point of not quitting, I have to first start the thing. There are so many excuses I can give myself to not start a run. It’s too early, the sleep is too nice, it’s too cold outside, it’s too hot outside, the roads are messy, the roads are hard, my clothes are too far, my legs are still sore from the last run, I have already had a long day and I am tired, it’s too late to run, it’s too early to run, this city is not safe… It goes on and on. The decision to start is one of the hardest parts. Right after starting is the point of the run that’s usually the hardest to get through. When my body has to warm up. My legs are still tight, my heart rate still low, my metabolism still down and my body temperature still cool. The first five kilometres are pretty hard but once I get started, I know I can get through to the end, be it under the sun or in the rain. Moving to the final metaphor of today’s run. A metaphor that answers a question you undoubtedly have on your mind.
Why the hell did I run that far in the rain when I am not a professional?
I ask myself that question a lot too. Why am I pushing my body so far when I am not a competitive runner? And this is the answer.
Be the Runner I am
You see, there’s definitely a lot of temptation to not call myself a runner because I do it for myself. Much in the same way, there is a huge temptation to not call myself a writer because I do it for myself. I have learnt that I have to resist that temptation to not want to call myself a thing because I am not called that thing. Because I don’t compete in races doesn’t mean I am not a runner. I am learning to give myself credit for the things I put my heart into. When you are me and you have run more and more every year for the past three years and when you’ve gotten better at running the way I have, then you have earned the right to call yourself a runner.
I am going to be running 19km on Sunday, 27th of October and you are welcome to join me if you are in Yaba environs. You don’t have to run with me the entire way.
That’s it for today’s metaphors.