I started running around the age of ten. My dad would take me with him on his road runs in residential Lusaka, usually in the evenings after his workday. Soon I was old enough to go on my own and it became my thing. I joined the running club at school and on other days I ran outside our home. I wasn’t fast, but I enjoyed being out on my own and feeling free and fit.
Fast forward to age 17 at university in Montreal. I was depressed and like a fish out of water. At 19 I met Maher. Whenever we ran together, instead of enjoying myself and feeling free, I felt slow, and not good enough. He was an under 3 hour marathon runner. Not a joke. But how? Sheer hard work. Vision and disciplined regular training. I pushed hard trying to keep up and kept getting injured. In Zambia I was a big fish in a small pond. Suddenly I was in a large lake and struggling on all levels including education and friendship.
Instead of training differently or learning from the expert in Maher I was comparing myself to him and I was too closed to ask for advice or to do my own research about the subject, my fixed mindset played up and a few years later I quit running altogether.
I did find yoga though which is now an important balancing aspect in my life.
I was jealous. As much as I respected and loved Maher, I couldn’t get over myself. Running was only one aspect where I felt that. I felt the same way with education, with cooking, with working and so on. Over the years something was holding me back and I put the blame out there, but didn’t look within. What if I had asked “How can I change myself?”
I only started to realize this not long ago. Thankfully for us and our family we worked through it in the big scheme of things, and on the level of running I am now back at it.
I started last December on a trip to Zambia. It felt natural for me to run over there on my familiar streets. The red earth and the majestic trees are energizing and deeply grounding at the same time.
At first I would only run when Maher would accompany me. I was slow and did very short runs. It felt almost hopeless! But now a year on, I go on my own, the distance has improved as has the speed. Maher always advices me to simply enjoy the runs. I feel relaxed and free out there.
I try to have a yoga practice day after a run day, I try not to push past a healthy point or be too lazy and not show up, and I am supported and cheered on by Maher and some of my old school friends who also took on running lately.
Keep looking in!