In a sort of crazy spurt to the end, Sunday I clocked my last 18 miles in the race to a 113 incremental miles in the month of August. In the end all the gasp and sputter, push and shove was worth it for if there’s one thing I’ve learned from life it is this: there’s nothing like doing something you never thought you could, nothing like winning when you try again. Along the month I pushed myself in many ways: walking when I could have been standing, running when my legs ached, and skipping when all else failed. I even substituted the post-dinner desert with a walk, the coffee with a friend for a stroll, the stairs for the lift. I tried the little things, and the big things (Like being on the treadmill for three hours.). I ignored everybody who said: are you crazy? and most of all, I woke up everyday determined: I could this, I would do this.
Through the month of August we had a 110 mile challenge at work for employees globally that tracked our running metric beyond the base two miles a day. Not only was this incredibly challenging for me it was also terribly exciting, the comradeship that ensued gave our lunch table conversations more purpose. We were in this for the win.
For there are some things in your life you can take charge, and some things you can’t. Running (and cycling and swimming and boxing and sport) are among the things you can. You can choose to fight and win and chase and never give up and control and summon. Your legs will rebel, knees will groan, sweat will dribble down your sides but it will be exhilarating. Once you push, and shove, you win a little every day.
Most of all, you win yourself. You win a happier you, a more focussed you, a you who doesn’t need to overpower others to win (and therefore tryst with insecurity and jealousy) but rather only over power yourself.
To me, sport is the ultimate spirituality. It is the release of negativity, the strive for a better you, the serenity in the post-run. It is the shield that protects the weaker you. It is among the things that make you feel maddeningly alive. And mostly it fills you with a sense of conviction without pride, victory without greed.
Sport is something we tend to leave behind in our childhood summer days of basketball and tennis in club lawns, and I am even more grateful to have had this chance now.
The lessons in sport are even more valuable when you are older.