Friday, 18 December 2015

Don't stop

Although I am slowly continuing on my running journey - gritted teeth and all - the flu coupled with a weekend away has meant that I haven't run for a while. So last night, after waking up early every morning this week with the intention of venturing outdoors only to hit 'snooze' on my alarm, I decided to put on my takkies and give it a go. One of the major reasons I've chosen running as my main form of fitness is because I am inherently lazy. If I have to drive somewhere to exercise, I'm out. If I have a class that I have to go to every Monday and Thursday evening, I try for a while and then end up letting everyday excuses get in the way. (It was a long day at work. My head hurts. It's too hot to exercise at this time.) I like being able to step out of my front door whenever I feel like it and go, because then there's no turning back, no room for deviation. That's what makes living at the base of a mountain so great - in hilly Vredehoek, not so much. I'm also not so good when I don't have an end point in mind. I like to know how far I'm running and where I'm running to and from. That way, I can mentally prepare for what I have to endure. 

Because of the above, I have worked out that once around my block is exactly 1km. Plus, there's quite a nasty hill above Derry St Spar that you have to tackle, making it a pretty decent route. So when I don't have my running buddy in town or the energy to run on Seapoint promenade (too far, traffic, working late, excuses, excuses...), I run around the block. I've never completed less than three laps or more than five to date. And every time, it's a struggle. Last night was particularly bad thanks to my running break and the heat, even at 19:15! After my first hill, having not even run 1km yet, I was already saying to myself that I wouldn't be able to make more than two laps. And from that moment onwards, an inner mental struggle began: 

'Oh my gosh, what was that HILL? You can tell you haven't run for ages, Karen. And it's hot. It's really HOT! It would be so easy to stop right now. Look, there's your front door. Come on, just stop. You look RIDICULOUS. Imagine what everyone is thinking as you pant past them. Just go home, now.' 

As I fought against the burning in my legs, the tightness in my lungs and the very strong voice in my head, a smaller, less-obnoxious voice softly started to speak. 

'Don't stop.' It said. 
'But I want to,' I thought. 
'OK,' the voice said. 'It's not the end of the world. It's just a run. But ask yourself this: what will happen if you stop?' 
After a moment's thought, I answered, 'Nothing.' 
'That's true,' the voice replied. 'But what will happen if you don't?'
'Everything,' I said. And I kept on running.

Friday, 4 December 2015

This time will pass

Life in the publishing world is crazy. And then the end of year hits and we all wonder how the heck we're going to get through everything we need to do by 15:00 on 24 December. Tempers flare, stress levels run high and grey hairs increase. The workload never seems to end and the deadlines feel impossible to meet, especially when the sun is shining outside and you know that your friends are frolicking on the beach with glee. And yet somehow - through all the blood, sweat and tears - we come out on the other side exhausted, but with smiles on our faces. They may be plastered over grimaces but, faint as they are, they are still there!

The point is, no matter what you're going through, remember that this time will pass. Whenever I have to do something I don't want to do or am going through something horrible, I repeat this mantra over and over to myself: "This time will pass". I do it when I'm running and want to stop because my chest feels as though it's going to explode - "This time will pass"; I do it when I'm sobbing over a stupid mistake I made and my world feels as though it's about to crumble - "This time will pass"; I do it when I'm battling with money and wonder if I'll never make ends meet - "This time will pass"; I do it when I have to get an injection and think I'm going to faint thanks to my fear of needles - "This time will pass".

So here's to all of you who are going through a hard time, whether it's mourning the loss of a loved one or trying to keep your head above water at a new job. Remember that you are not alone in your struggles and that things will get better. It may not seem that way right now, but the sun will come up again tomorrow and something will make you smile. And - even if it's just for a second - you'll forget your pain. This time will pass, and I'll do whatever I can to try and make it pass just a little bit faster for you. Lots of love, always .x.x.x.