I’ve been asked lately: what’s the most extreme thing you’ve done?
I haven't done much in life yet, but the most extreme thing I’ve done so far is running my first half marathon, 21.1k, two continuous hours and 7 min... alone.
Totally alone. No pacer, no cheering crowds, no water stations, no one waiting at the finish line. Alone. That win was entirely mine.
I began at 5 am and finished at 7. It was around 8 degrees when I arrived. I did my warm-up, hid my jacket behind a rock on the side of the road, and I started running. A long segment of the road wasn’t lit. It was dark and cold. Only one thought kept ringing in my mind: "I can do this."
(here were my starting point, and finish line)
(this was when I passed by our group doing their daily run)
It might seem as a minor achievement to some, but to me, it meant so much.
I started running in 2014. Back then, I was overweight and I could barely finish 5k at an 8 min/km pace. I used to run at 5 am before going to school. I ran in circles in the very narrow space around our house.
The contrast between these screenshots is everything:
2014 vs 2020:
Overweight vs fit and healthy
5K vs 21.1K
8 min/km vs 6 min/km
In the screenshot on the right, I was running in narrow circles surrounded by tall cement walls; on the left, I ran in open air, accompanied by trees, rocky roads, mountains, and raw beauty.
I ran -body and soul- from restriction to freedom; from limitation to endless possibilities.
These are the shoes I ran my first half marathon in. ASICS GT-2000. I broke my 15k, 10k, 5k and 1k records wearing these. I’m keeping them as a trophy, and as a reminder that I can… change my life.
This forever will be the closest personal achievement to my heart. I know I’ll run a full marathon, an ultra marathon, and I know I’ll conquer far more difficult quests, climb higher mountains, and attempt and achieve various other athletic challenges, but running this half marathon will still be one of the greatest things I’ve done in my life.
The most extreme thing you’ve done might not seem “extreme” or significant to others; however -considering our human nature, and how we’re creatures of habit, wired to resist change, and find comfort in the known- I believe that anything anyone has ever done that changed their mindset, improved their abilities and pushed themselves outside their comfort zone is extreme.
Where was your starting point? Where are you now? Measure that distance and tell me:
What’s the most extreme thing you’ve done? How far have you taken yourself?