Thursday, June 13, 2024

My Love Affair With Running.

Photograph by Pexels

Sometimes you need to stay away from something that you love, or you enjoy practicing, to really appreciate it and understand deep inside that you cannot live without it anymore.
No, I am not talking about bad habits or nasty addictions.
I am referring to the lovely act of putting one foot in front of the other and using your eyesight and brain power to move into a particular direction full of confidence and determination; I am talking about the most amazing athletic activity of all, running.

If you read my first book Thirsty for Health, I started running to lose weight because  I gained that weight when I stopped smoking the previous year.
For the last six years running gave me a range of various and amazing experiences that made me change my way of thinking completely.

Made me rethink what I already knew about nutrition and life in general. Running made me a better person and also allow me to find and know so many different people which some of them I have the honor of calling my friends.

At the current state, I am now, emotionally recovering, I got divorced not so much ago, so I am still in the zone of the emotions every separation and loss brings upon our souls and also building my house I am left with not as much time as I would like to devote to running.

But I am always the optimist since I stop smoking and turn my life around I decided that it’s not worth it to be mellowing in negative talk and self-pity.

So I made time for myself to invest, yes when you are running you are investing in yourself and your future. Ten years from now when all my buddies that have the same age as me will be popping pills to control their cholesterol or blood pressure or their diabetes. Many of them already started from now I will be free of those so-called chronic diseases because I will be still running and still enjoying my life saving and healthy plant-based lifestyle.

Running keeps me healthy and fit and my plant based lifestyle prevents the diseases (diabetes II, heart attack, stroke, obesity, etc.).

When I first started running again almost seven years ago, I thought it would be a temporary activity, one that I will do until I lose the extra kilos that were accumulated around my waist and then stop.

That’s was my mindset back then, and you can see from my blog articles and also from what I just said here that the way  I think now and the way I thought back then have nothing in common, and that shows how much running transform me into a better version of me.

It takes time, discipline, perseverance and experimentation to instill in your mind a way of being that is beneficial for you.

Bettering yourself I see it as programming, being a computer engineer by trade is a little bit difficult not to associate everyday life with computers.

The first version of a program has a lot of bugs and mistakes, needed a lot of work to be designed, create and implemented, and a lot of time getting feedback.

Version two is much better considering you evaluated the feedback correctly and corrected the bugs and mistakes you had in version one and the cycle continues, version three will be better, version four even better and so on.

That’s the secret, to never settle down and sit on your laurels, the answer is always to search and experiment, learn from your mistakes, do not repeat them, correct them and improve.

Coming back to my original thought, sometimes is a good thing to take a break from something you love to reestablish and found again what it was that made you love it in the first place.

My last race was the Fourth day Challenge held in the city of Paphos in Cyprus from 24 until 27 of November 2016; it was a challenge with all the meaning of the word.

The first day on the 24 was a 6k race which goal was to classify the runners according to with their time for the next three races that would follow. The race started 3 p.m., and we were running with an arithmetic order. I had number 12, so I went off quick which was all right by me, I didn’t want to wait like I did the last time I participated in the challenge which was five years ago!

It was an easy run for me; my time was 29:48 and I were very satisfied considering that my training for the event was not as I wanted it to be. The route was fantastic we run parallel to the sea, and the finish line was the best. We finish having as a view an incredible ship wreckage on the beach.

After I had finished I had my water, my dry raisins and my bananas from the aid station which was perfectly organized and setup.

Then I return to the hotel where the event is hosted took my car and went back to the place I rented.

The second day 25 of November was for me the toughest race of the all, 11k uphill, literally the downhill’s were maybe a couple of them. They changed the route and made it harder! Now that I enjoyed since I always welcome the unexpected in my life, I thrive on surprises!
The start was along the beautiful blue sea where sea caves are plenty. We came there by bus; the ride was about 10 to 15 minutes from the Coral Bay hotel. We started running 9:30 a.m. and my time were 1:29:13, the finish line was in a picturesque mountain village called Pano Arodes when it was in the central square of the village where the church is.

I took my time recovering, I continue walking, and after I cool down I did my stretching exercises, had my bananas, water, electrolytes and my dry raisins.

After that, I talked to a few of the other runners that I made friends with and then we took the bus back to the hotel. The trip back was about  30  minutes.

At the hotel I took my car and went back to my place, the first thing I did was to fill the tub with hot steaming water and fix myself an energy drink. I sat in the hot steaming tub for a long time! Sipping on my drink and letting that hot water relax my muscles.

The third day, 26 of November 2016 I had to run the half marathon and I was a bit overwhelmed with the 11k race.  I was considering quitting, but I decided I will go and run as much as I can and if I had to stop then at least I would stop while running in the race on my two legs!

We took the bus from Coral Bay hotel again and after about 30 to 40 minutes if I am not mistaken we arrived at the square of the village named “Neo Horio” which translated into English means  New Village!

They also changed the route of the half marathon, but this time to the better, they removed some nasty hills I remembered running five years ago, and the course was fantastic and much easier.
We ran along the sea-shore, breathtaking views, I don’t remember stopping so many times to take photos with my mobile phone.

The route was flat and enjoyable; it made me lose the fear that I will not make it. After asking a few other people about the road and realizing it was a nice flat route until the end then I changed gear and started running faster.

I made sure I finish quick and healthy, and at the finish line which was situated exactly on the beach, I crossed that line with determination and strength.

After I finish I got my baggie and headed off to the sea, I took my clothes off stayed with my running shorts and jumped into the sea.
The water was amazing, and it cooled me down from all the heat I had on me from running for more than two hours under the hot Cyprus sun!

Some runners were getting medals because they only registered to execute the half marathon and I thought that to get the same medal I had to run another 10k race the next day.

I got out of the sea, dry up myself changed into other clothes, had my electrolytes, water, bananas, and dry raisins all except the electrolytes came from the aid stations which were again manned and operated with perfect organization.

After that we took the bus and head back to the Coral Bay hotel, the ride was 10 to 15 minutes I took my car back to my place where I repeated the ritual of the hot tub and energy drink.

The fourth and last day 27 of November 2016 I woke up with feelings of sadness, it was the final day of the challenge, and I was having much fun.
I met a few people and made new friendships and also my legs were killing me, so I decided I will take it easy and do an excellent slow tempo for the last 10k race which was help inside the city of Paphos.

The start and finish were right next to the medieval coastal castle of the town of Paphos. I began running the race slowly as I programmed. The race started 8 a.m. At the third kilometer, I started running a bit faster, and I felt myself stronger, and I said to myself keep this tempo as long as you can.

At the fourth kilometer I got company, a woman came next to me and started talking to me, and until we finish we became friends, she motivated me to keep that tempo until the finish.

Its moment like this that remind me that me starting running again in 2010 was one of the best things I ever did except quitting smoking of course..

That’s was the four-day challenge, in a nutshell, I would like to mention here that the organization of this event is excellent and all the people involved love what they are doing, and that’s why is so successful. If nothing changes, I will be participating next year as well.

Now that I got that story out of my system, I would like to say a few words about taking some time away from the things you love as I indented the first place.

On the  13 of November 2016, Tuesday and 13 for the superstitious, I had my first run after the four-day challenge, and I run into my favorite place, into the forest.

I run during the night, winter is here, and it gets dark pretty soon, I used my new acquired head lump which I liked, you can install it under the hat so it’s protected from rain and also has a rotating part that you can point to the angle that you wish.
It provided adequate illumination, but it was a full moon so I need to make some more running to be surer it can keep up with my needs.

Also for the first time I used one hydration belt I bought from Amazon a few days ago, it was comfortable; it has two 250ml bottles to carry liquids and a small pocket large enough to accommodate a modern mobile phone.

The first mile because I haven’t run for more than two weeks I had ant feelings all over my body after that they went away and I enjoyed a lovely 60 minutes ride under a beautiful full moon.

After I had finished with my running, I wore my warm athletic clothes and had my electrolytes while walking for about 10 minutes, so I can give my muscles a proper cooling down period and also I did some stretching exercises as well.

After that, I got into the car and head home where I took my hot shower, made dinner, I had rice and potatoes and also switch on my wood stove to get warmer.

Overall I enjoyed my run, and most importantly it renew my passion for running, and I owe this newfound love for running because I took about two weeks off from it.
I hope you liked this article.

Andreas Michaelides

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