Thursday, September 26, 2013


Something's happened to my sense of perspective over the course of the last few months. I realised it this morning when I was having breakfast with some friends and one asked how far I was running this weekend. My answer? Just 28 kilometers.

A couple of months ago I considered 28 kilometers to be a really long run. I hadn't run that far in three years and it intimidated me a little. But after all the training and building up to bigger and bigger distances, 28 kilometers gets to be 'just' like it's no big deal. I'm now looking at it from a different angle.

Our waiter is also a runner and did his first 10k race last weekend. I asked how it went and he modestly told me he'd run 46mins and now he was hooked. But he would never do anything crazy like run a marathon. And I had to have a bit of a laugh. That's exactly what I said when I started running with the squad. Actually, I went even further - never run a marathon OR a half marathon. I'd run two half marathons before and the last one I did was so awful that I never wanted to repeat the experience.

But again my perspective's changed. When you hang around with a group of inspiring people of all different ages and running abilities and you see them working towards a challenging goal you start to get little questioning whispers in the back of your mind. Hmmm, maybe I could too? And one day those whispers become so insistent that, while you're in the throws of a post-run endorphin high, you actually sign on the dotted line and pay over the big bucks.

It'd be wrong to waste good money and not go through with it so for the next few months you rack up the kilometers. Your shortest run becomes the speed session and you really don't bother getting out of bed to do less than 12k. Years ago my go-to run was a 5k loop (which I've recently found out is actually only 4.5k) and I thought I was pretty hard core doing a couple of those a week. Big change in perspective.

People start to comment on how much you're running. Non-running people mostly. And it's interesting to see things from their perspective. Because from their perspective, what you're doing is a whole heap of crazy! Getting up at 3:15am on a Saturday. Running till your toe-nails bruise. Having to spend most of the weekend recovering from your super-human Saturday effort. Having unmentionable areas of your body chafed. Whimpering when you step in the shower and the water hits said unmentionable areas. Going to the toilet shamelessly in the bushes because there's no toilet around. Accepting that discomfort is just part of the process so you might as well embrace it.

Yep, when you put it like that it is a whole heap of crazy. But it's also an adventure. And a voyage of discovery about yourself. And, if you run in a group, it's an adventure that you take with friends. Friends who get it. Friends who goad you on to dream big, audacious dreams because they're just as crazy as you - or even a bit crazier (you know I mean you Mr I-run-24hrs-around-a-track-then-back-up-a-couple-of-weeks-later-with-a-marathon Smyth ).

So the big question now is, will this change in perspective be permanent?


  1. I totally agree with this - and not only in running! Perspective influences everything, and I think it changes all the time. Love the little GIF you found - perfect example!

  2. I've definitely had my distance...perspective...s t r e t c h e d... from doing marathon training. My colleagues, I suspect, think I am a bit cuckoo. Fortunately I have at least one coworker who does ultras, and plenty of good friends who've only ever seen me sweaty and revolting.

    (And where do you find those GIFs? Do your sons look over your shoulder and go 'Mum what about this one'?)

    1. Sometimes they send them to me but mostly I just do a Google search and see what comes up. It's a huge time-waster but it's fun.

  3. Good post! Running always is an adventure which makes us feel good and understand about ourself. At the same time, it always is an extcing challenge. Completely agree with this, Char.

    Non-running people sometimes ask me how can I get up early in the morning and go running when wheather is cold in Winter. This post gives them an effective answer.

    Have a nice weekend!

  4. My perspective changes based on my current mileage. Today's 10 miler seems really long, mostly because I was a slacker all summer LOL.

  5. So funny how running changes our perspective on many things! Glad that you "only" have 28K on tap for the weekend!!

  6. Love this post! I can identify with everything:) All the best with the marathon, will be thinking of you. x

  7. I love this post! I'm not a runner and never will be, thanks to surgery I've had. But I can walk. And for me it's about doing more walks, and more stretches, and about feeling a whole lot better and getting more energy. And hopefully dropping a few more kilos. But most of all feeling better and getting more energy. And people like you really do inspire me! So I thank you for blogging and sharing your perspective changes and milestones, because they help people like me do more!

  8. Great post Char and it's so true. To me 5km seems unachievable, so anything more than that....

    But I know that once you conquer something you want to move onto what's next. Mostly I think it's natural and healthy.

    I remember though the negatives of that... when I was anorexic etc and allowing myself 500 calories/day seemed so little. And then next thing it was too much. And 2-3hrs of exercise a day was suddenly not enough. And while my initial goal was to weigh 60kg, it soon became 50kg and then 45kg.

    But... I'm an obsessive compulsive freak so am more at risk of that sort of thinking. (Though possibly not any more!) ;-)

    As long as you don't worry about what others think / say / do and keep true to yourself I'm sure you'll continue running in a way and to the extent you want to!


  9. I was thinking a lot of this - this weekend. I love being at a point where I only have a "short" 14 mile run this nice. Just three months ago 14 miles might have sounded like torture.

    And yes, running is all kinds of heaps of crazy but I guess I like a little crazy!

  10. My non-running friends and colleagues are looking at me if I'm crazy too when I tell them I got up at 5.15 am to run. But for me it's something I get used too. I wouldn't want it any other way. Years ago I wouldn't believe you if you said I would get up early to run or exercise.

    So I totally get you even though I don't run as far/much as you do.

    About the loose sand on my walk Saturday: luckily my legs didn't suffer much from it yesterday. I ran in the morning and walked almost 5k in the afternoon with Bella.

  11. I feel like the perspective continues to change. There are times when I can say "only" 10 miles or 12 or whatever and other times I can't. I certainly have done a few things I never thought I would and bathroom issues are right up there on that list. Much less squeamish.


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