Like many growing up I always hated cross country – the idea of running in the freezing Yorkshire whether from 3 til 4pm on a Wednesday afternoon never sat right with me. So much so that for the entire of year 9 I faked an ankle injury to make sure I never had to take part. The ironic aspect was that I’d still be fine to play football matches (as a goalkeeper) Wednesdays after school – without fail.
On the rare occasions that I did take part the hour was painful – I’d usually sprint to the front, look back and the rest of the year, then watch as they’d overtake me and then attempt some feeble walk/jog for the remaining 59 minutes.
The Cross Country Course:
As I grew up the hatred of running continued to grow, the idea of it seems boring and tedious. Until I reached 20, when I stupidly enough decided to sign myself up for a marathon.
I trained for 8 months – the feeling of waking up at 6 in the morning in the British winters to complete a 10km was one that I’d never imagine myself to have.
I completed the marathon in 4 hours 32 minutes – not a record breaking time or one that would give anyone else but myself reasons to celebrate. However, looking back on this feat it taught me a new level of mental toughness, physically a marathon isn’t difficult, mentally it’s torture. Overcoming the battle of self-belief is one that applies to all aspects of life from work to play.
The Marathon Finish
Taking what I saw as one of my biggest weaknesses growing up and completing one of the most difficult tasks in that area has given me the self-confidence to conquer anything if I set my mind to it.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the 10,000-hour rule which claims that the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing the correct way, for a total of around 10,000 hours.
This applies to you as well, the reason we have weakness or things we are bad at, is because we don’t enjoy them. If you don’t enjoy something you natural spend last time doing it. To conquer your weakness you need to spend time practicing them.
After the Marathon, I gave up running and fitness, went to university and fell out of love with the exercise. During the last 24 months, I spent a lot of time focusing on myself and what I enjoy.
I rekindled my love for running – more because I needed to – for my health and thus formed the foundation of the 12 Runs, 12 Cities in 12-months challenge.
Another one of my weakness at school – writing.