Steve Garner internal, change, reassuring...
Today at 12:35 pm I completed my 27th 5K consecutive run that I started way back on November 6th, just as we were entering lockdown for the 2nd time. As a very casual runner who tried and failed to run 7 5K's back in the first lockdown, I signed up to this challenge with almost certainty that on the 9th or 10th day I'd drop out.
Almost a month later, the challenge was completed. I've never felt fitter, I've had the best sleep of my life during this month, and most importantly, my mind has never felt clearer. So what changed, what made it happen?
Forget the new kit, advanced planned routes and the most obsessive relationship with Strava statistics and weather forecasts. The reason I made it and dare I say, almost enjoyed it at times was simply because of the team I am apart of. By roping in several friends, colleagues and randoms all across the country, even one person in Sydney, we created a crew with a mission.
At each step of the way, they supported me. Even though they made fun out of my slow times, they encouraged me when my legs felt like jelly, celebrated with me as we chalked off run after run and also provided the competitive element that I needed to keep me moving forward.
New personal best times being set by someone in the group came with an equal dose of praise and an internal reminder for me to up my game. Finally, the team became my focus that I didn't want to let down. Over a month (especially during lockdown) life can throw up plenty of hurdles and reasons why not to run that day, but the thought of the part I played in the team was always in the back of my mind and always came through loud and clear allowing me to find a way.
Once the team was up and running (literally), I was never going to drop out, no matter how much I hated the thought of running. So, I didn't. Neither did the other 10 runners that made up the team. Everyone made it. Everyone set personal bests. Most importantly, everyone got to the finish line.