Running is Just the First Step
It felt odd waking up knowing I had made the choice to pack up my bags, book a ticket and board a flight to Thailand to train for a 35km trail run on the island of Koh Chang.
I was known as the stubborn little kid who righteously said “I don’t do running” when my mother tried to get me in my trainers for the first time. I held pride in making this statement for the next few years. It defined me. I climbed trees, danced ballet, played forty forty… but running for more than the few seconds it took to get to home base, that I didn’t do.
Fast forward several years later, I was pacing through Phuket International Airport, headphones in, waiting for my suitcase with a racing heart, aware of the potential and excitement that was lying ahead. My subconscious was very powerful in leading me to this point. My intuition knew there was a change to come and I had to take on this physical challenge for everything that it would do for me in the emotional and spiritual sense.
This change would start with putting my head down and being persistent in living it every single day. This run was the first step.
I had been to Phuket twice before. The first time on a health retreat and the second for a two month internship. Each time I fell further in love with the island. Something about the energy of it synched so well with mine. It was at the internship that I met an insanely cool individual known as Darren Scherbain. I went to one of his stair sprint sessions the morning after landing and his first ever comment to me was “Those fancy shoes aint gonna help you.” As much as his nugget comment got to me, I knew this dude was for real and he was up to a lot of good! Fast forward again 6 months, he was to be my coach and inspiration in training for Koh Chang.
I cant deny the fact that I was super anxious for this run but moreso for keeping up with the training. I had never run more than 12km on a flat surface let alone hills and trails. I dont like hills. They are my nemisis. I have even named one of my well aqquainted hills that runs through Rawai, “The Nemesis Hill”. I didn’t want to let anyone down with my struggles both mentally and physically. But as Darren very often reminded me… “Bring your shit.” Physical and emotional. Bring it. There was never any judgement in training. The more vulnerable I let myself be, the more growth I witnessed.
The training was daunting but really exciting at the same time.There was a calmness somewhere behind the tears. A calmness in knowing I could do this. And somehow I knew I could do it well. I just had to fight, believe and be ready. Be ready to see how capable I was.
Darren got me out of my comfort zone from the get go! I swam 3km in open water in my first week (I am insanely scared of open water… not knowing what swims beneath just freaks me out), made kata hill my new best friend, ran early morning 7km runs through the soft sand of Karon beach, pushed a scooter up a nugget hill. I never imagined I would be capable of a single one of these. Each and every one was the trigger to some mega tears. Tears that needed to be shed.
The biggest test though was the mental test. Letting my mind go to the deeper darker places. The scary thoughts. The more painful ones. Listening to the voice. Accepting it. Conversing with it. Allowing it to tell me I should give up but knowing that the consequence of giving up would be a lot more painful than the physical test in pushing through.
Our body is capable of so much. It is our mind that has the power to make us stop or continue. The physical pain shall pass. One of our longer training runs, a 30km up and over Kata hill, through Karon and back was a testament to how key the mind is to pretty much everything. I literally finished the run, looked at Darren, and exclaimed “It’s all mental Darren!” He just looked back at me with a reassuring smile and nodded.
So much hit home when I grasped this concept. The physical training that I have put myself through for this run is but a small part of the enorm growth I have made on a spiritual level. The journey to this race has opened my eyes to my potential and the life I wish to lead. It will never take away from my past thoughts and actions as I was being and doing the best I knew how to at that time. However the doors that have opened for me in this short journey to Koh Chang are amazing. I do not talk of prestige, materialism or career opportunity, I speak of the door that allows me to be at peace with me. Be kind, accepting, deserving and in love with being me.
I share with you just the first part of my journey. There is so much more to come. I’ve still got the crazy run to cover! However in closing this post I want to share my immeasurable gratitude to Darren and the incredible group of people I was surrounded by over these past weeks. Pushing and inspiring me every day to grow. To do my best. To bring my shit. To keep pushing and be witness to the magic we create!