100 years ago, in 1912, the summer Olympics were held in Stockholm, Sweden.
On Sunday the 14th of July 1912 the Olympic Marathon was run with 69 participants. It was a hot day and many runners suffered from the heat, only half of them completed the race.
One of the 34 people who didn’t finish the race that day was the Japanese runner, Shizo Kanaguri. His “disappearance” created the “myth of the missing Japanese” and I remember growing up with the tales of what happened that hot summer day. Apparently he wasn’t feeling well due to the heat and the long travel through Russia he’d had to make to get to Sweden. He was invited into a family’s garden for lemonade and buns (typical Swedish cakes, most common version is the cinnamon roll). He stayed there and rested for a bit and then returned to his hotel, checked out and went back home to Japan.
For years afterwards there was apparently talk about what could have happened to him. What happened was that he became a very influential person in sports in Japan and went on to participate in two more Olympics in the 20’s, but for some reason people in Sweden still just knew him as the “Japanese who disappeared”.
He was finally tracked down by some Swedish journalist and was invited back to Sweden in 1967 to complete the marathon! He finally entered the Stockholm Stadium after almost 55 years and crossed the finishing line, making his marathon race the “longest in history”:-).
Yesterday it was exactly 100 years since the 1912 Olympic Marathon, and a 100th Anniversary Jubilee Marathon was run. This time there were almost 9000 participants (including a great grandson of Kanaguri!) running the same race (well almost, roads have changed in 100 years so they had to make some changes to the course).
I went to watch the race as the runners passed us twice on their way north to the turning point and then on their way south into the city again. It was just a couple of hundred meters from our house. And close by, near to the house where Kanaguri was offered lemonade and buns (the actual house is not there anymore), great grandchildren of the hospitable family were serving lemonade and buns to runners and spectators (including Kanaguri’s great grandson). The circle was completed.
I got so inspired!
There was so much joy, there were so many running styles, there were people who seemed to be having a great time and those who seemed to suffer, there were people with hats, without shoes, men in dresses (1912 style!), people holdings signs, wearing wigs – there was even a women dressed as Superwoman!
Watching the race was exactly the kick in the bum that I needed to get myself properly back on track for my race. So what if I’ve missed a few weeks of training!
And who knows, maybe I’ve got a Marathon in me in due course…..
And that’s just what they’ll do!
In my effort to train for a 10K race, I am learning new things every day. My latest fascination in the whole world of running is all the different shoes available. Yes, I realize that this is probably pretty obvious, but I just hadn’t given it much thought before. And any attempts at running I had previously made were rudely interrupted by bad shoe choices on my behalf.
My fantastic green running shoes are light as a feather and make my running lighter, easier, and more graceful (or so I would like to think:-)).
The fact is that the shoes make a HUGE difference. I love them! And I’ll keep on running as a result.
A self image, the way we look at ourself, is a powerful thing.
Whatever we believe ourself to be, with conviction, then that is what we are.
Sometimes, if it’s a strong, positive self image, it would work in our favour. But if it’s a limiting self image, one that maybe has been created over time without thinking about it’s negative impact, one that stops us from achieving something of importance to us – then it needs to be changed.
My self image when it comes to running, is that I don’t!
Specifically, I have always said “I’m not a runner”, and I may have done all sorts of sports in my life, but running has never, ever been on the agenda. Until now.
Now that I’ve decided to run a 10K race, it’s time to build a new self image, brick by brick.
It’s funny how it works though, the mind. Even as I had made the decision to enter the race, I kept saying to people that “I’m not a runner”. And I’ll tell you what, that’s not a helpful self image to have if you want to be able to complete a 10K race!
So it must be changed, this self image of mine. And the app that I’ve engaged to help me, helps me to do that too. The way the training programme on the app works is that it started me off running 30 seconds out of every 5 minutes on my 45-60 minute walk/run. And then it slowly builds. So now I run 1,5 minutes out of every 5 minutes.
I’m a 1,5 minute runner!
And it works, I am slowly building a new self image when it comes to running. I couldn’t start by saying “I’m a 10K runner” because I (my mind!) wouldn’t have believed it. But it’s worked to say “I’m a 30 second runner” (sure, I can do that, the mind thinks), and then “I’m a 1 minute runner” (if I can do 30 seconds, I can probably do 1 minute) and now “I’m a 1,5 minute runner” (Yes, why not, I am slowly getting more stamina, I can do 1,5 minutes now).
And the feeling is fantastic! Slowly and steadily I am building a new self image, and it’s working.
I’m a 1,5 minute runner! This is currently my running self image.
And next week I’ll be a 2 minute runner:-)
It works. Step by step by step, little by little. That’s how we build a new view of ourself. It’s really cool:-)
My app has guided me through a successful first running/training session!
It’s a beautiful morning and with the extra support of some good trance tracks (thank you Rich!), I had a very enjoyable fast walk (with some short running intervals) of about 40 minutes.
So what have I learned so far?
To be patient. Most training efforts fail because people are too much in a rush, want to overdo it, run a bit further, push themselves a bit harder – and then give up, because it feels too hard. We have to crawl before we can walk – or in this case walk before we can run:-)
My second (renewed) insight from this morning is that most people don’t complete what they start because there are too many temptations to stop or do something different before you get to the goals. And one of the biggest culprit here is of course our own mind, our mind who keeps reasoning with us – “should I, shouldn’t I, maybe I should…instead” – well, you know how it works.
The key to completion is to stop the mind from even having this discussion with you – take away the option of doing something different. And just do it.
And this is exactly how my app is working. It, or she (I’ve named her Sam!) will tell me exactly when to walk and when to run – “Run now! – and all of a sudden that is no longer up to me and so I do it. Brilliant!
I made a commitment to myself, together with a couple of friends, that this was going to be the year of Completion – and it sure is looking that way! I don’t want to stop now.
I’m not sure what possessed me, but I have decided to start running.
And typical for me, I can’t just start running, I have to enter a running race. Oh no, not yet, it’s not until 1 September, but the clock has started ticking. 159 days to go.
So it’s high time for me to create a new habit, the habit of running. Like everything else it needs some discipline to create a new habit – determination and staying power.
To help me in my endeavor, I have enlisted the help of an iPhone app, which has promised to take me from “couch potato to 10K in 13 weeks”. It sounds just right actually, something that will tell me exactly what to do and when:-). But that is of course only part of the solution.
I will stop talking about myself as a non-runner. I have only recently realized that that’s exactly what I do. So my first step is to create a new self image when it comes to running:
I’m a runner!
I’m a runner!
I’m a runner!
There, I’ve started. It’s a small step, but our self image tends to have self-correcting power, so it’s a crucial step.
There’s loads more to come, and I’m ready – bring it on!