The euphoria of “reaching Pokhara”
Guest blog via @SatishKTM
Goal: 200 kilometers over 20 runs in January
Achievement: 210 plus kilometers over 21 runs
A goal set for January generally looks like a New Year resolution. If the goal especially is gym or exercise related then it looks even more so. Studies suggest that gym memberships spike dramatically during early January. We want to make a difference in the New Year and show early enthusiasm to work for it. It’s quite common that the enthusiasm dies away very quickly for most of us.
When I told myself on Jan 2 that I will complete 200 kilometers over 20 runs this January I wasn’t setting any New Year resolution. I have never set one for myself. I used to be a regular runner until a foot injury playing futsal kept me out of my favorite exercise for the past few months. I was feeling very sad and depressed about it. When I thought that I had recovered adequately, I set myself this goal and hoped I would have the determination and perseverance to achieve it.
I have been running long distance for a few years. Cardio exercise has remained the most prominent part of my exercise routine. I am not much of a lifter so I haven’t been able to properly integrate weight training into my rigorous cardio exercise. As a passionate runner, I have been covering 10 kilometers during my daily runs very easily. During rare occasions, I have extended that to a half marathon. The sense of achievement upon completion of these long distance runs is unmatched. However, being able to run five times a week every week throughout any month was something I had never achieved. I have always been very eager to have this elusive distinction under my belt. This prompted me to make a difference in the first month of 2016.
It was very cold in Kathmandu this January. Social media was flush with people talking about how cold it was each morning. The best place to be was in the warm bed. It would take great effort to struggle out of that warmth and leave the house each morning for the runs. It was hard every time.
I follow some useful exercise motivation related Twitter handles. One of them has the following – ‘Set Goal, Reach it, Repeat!” The other one said – “Set a goal a goal that makes you want to make you jump out of bed each morning.” I set myself a weekly goal each week and successfully reached it. All I had to do next week was to repeat it. It, thus, easily became a routine. It’s very true that exercise can be addictive. It’s even more addictive if we are successfully meeting our goals.
After reaching my goal for January, I searched the web to see if 200 kilometers a long distance to run in a month was. My Google search returned numerous results and I found that while it’s not a mean feat, this distance is easily covered or surpassed by many avid runners quite regularly. It was an unprecedented feat for me but we do have to assess the relative strength of our achievements too in order to understand how worthy they are.
I am still extremely happy about reaching this goal. It was a personal challenge I set for myself to see if I had enough self-discipline to attain what I set out to do. I wanted to see if I could achieve a goal even if there was no external incentive to achieve it.
When I look back to assess what kept me going for a full month, I feel that the following were crucial:
· Talk about setting the goal
· Walk the talk
· Measure and keep track
· Go to bed determined
· Enjoy it
When I worked as Volunteer Coordinator in 1991, a Team Leader of a visiting group asked me upon arrival at the Kathmandu airport “so how far is Pokhara from here and how long will it take us tomorrow to get there?” I told him that it was 200 kilometers and it can take up to seven hours to get there. The road conditions those days were quite bad. I was telling myself this morning that I reached Pokhara with the distance I covered in a month.
Except this time, the euphoria of ‘reaching Pokhara” is unmatched and the sense of achievement unparalleled.
Guest blog by Satish Pandey
Moderated by Ann Gates, CEO Exercise Works!