During the first lockdown, around May of 2020, I had signed up for the Couch to 5K program. A friend had done the same, she’d started one month before me, so she was slightly ahead of me and would give me tips. I would ask her about her progress as it was inspiring and motivating.
She kept running. She injured herself around October 2020, but didn’t use that as an excuse and started running again as soon as she was feeling better.
I went on holiday in August and took a break, then I moved and fell out of my routine. When I thought of restarting, I felt lazy and I new it would be uncomfortable to begin with, so I basically stopped running. I had never got to 5K.
The last time I heard from her, around January 2021, she was running 7/10K, if I remember correctly. At the time it was a very big achievement and something to celebrate, I was so happy for her!
I did feel a bit envious and wondered if I could have done the same or how long would it take me to get to that point, now, but I let the thought go and moved on.
We didn’t keep in touch, it had been a year. I stumble upon an online video that describes her experience in running an ultra-marathon trail in September 2021. Almost 60 km!! Running.l I was so amazed and impressed – I texted her, hoping it wasn’t too weird, after one year. I just had to congratulate myself
This was a great reminder about the power of consistency. We started at the same time, I have finally restarted running (thanks to the couch to 5K program) and can just about run 20 mins at the moment of writing this. My friend ran 60K.
Envy, the good kind
Brené Brown talks about envy in her book Atlas of the Heart. In this article, I review the book and share my thoughts. One of the points that stood out was the difference between good and negative envy.
Good envy will show you what is possible and will inspire you to act. Seeing that another person has something you want will help you understand your wants and dreams better. By feeling envious, you can dig deeper to figure out why you feel that way and what exactly is the cause. Ask yourself: what do you envy? What about it is something you wish you had?
What do I envy?
In my case, I don’t think I will ever run an ultra marathon.
What I admire and strive to achieve is the level of consistency and constant showing up, even when things don’t go as planned. Being able to put in the effort day in and day out, when it’s raining or snowing or too hot to even walk comfortably outside. Be willing to feel uncomfortable, especially after having to take a break from running.
Of course, we have to compromise some things in our lives and I am happy with my personal achievements and progress.
I am proud of showing up consistently and striving to feel uncomfortable in order to grow in other areas of my life. I am definitely focused on improving myself and setting goals for myself and I thrive off of big and small steps towards them.
While my friend was training and running, I spent countless hours doing and learning about improv, I launched this blog and kept up with one or two weekly posts for three months and made significant improvements in other areas, which make me really excited and proud. And sometimes we just need to rest and focus on recharging and that’s ok (and should be encouraged morel).
Seeing this friend achieve such a huge accomplishment was an extraordinary example of the power of consistency. It was a great reminder of the importance of health and fitness, as well as the enjoyment exercise can bring.
It reminded me of this image by James Clear [full article here]. He writes: “Improving by 1 percent isn’t particularly notable—sometimes it isn’t even noticeable—but it can be far more meaningful, especially in the long run. The difference a tiny improvement can make over time is astounding. Here’s how the math works out: if you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done. Conversely, if you get 1 percent worse each day for one year, you’ll decline nearly down to zero. What starts as a small win or a minor setback accumulates into something much more”