4.15AM, 9th April 2020. Crazy. I thought as the cold breeze whipped my body. Totally crazy. I had run for only 200 meters on Rhino Stretch but my legs were already out of breath. So I slowed down and started walking. Ten minutes earlier when I locked my gate and set off from my house, I had assumed that because I hadn’t run for two days, I would be full of energy today and would simply cruise along. Maybe, just maybe, I would finish the 12 kilometers at an average speed of below six minutes per kilometer. That would be awesome! I had thought before I pinched myself to reality and reminded myself that the goal today was to run the 12k in an average speed of below seven minutes per kilometer.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Last year in 2020 in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic, I used to average 5.30 minutes for the same distance. In fact, my personal record on this route, run in August 29th, was an average of 5.25 minutes per kilometer. Then La Reine happened and her sumptuous cooking left me a few kilograms heavier. Then I also pretty much abandoned the morning runs. Don’t ask me why.
When I resumed running after the brief walk, I decided to run up to Oloibon hotel, then walk briefly again. But when I reached the hotel, I told myself to go the extra mile and continue running up to the end of Rhino Stretch. This little bit of extra effort helped deliver a decent time for that first kilometer. I followed this cue all through the race. Every time I would set a running target, say, up to that tree over there, I would run past the tree for about one hundred extra meters. Those extra effort segments were the hardest, yet they were also the sweetest. Cumulatively, they helped me to realize my target of averaging less than seven minutes per kilometer. While this speed is still super slow compared to my previous speeds, restoration takes place one step at a time, not all at once.
Remember to go that extra mile in your own endeavors. That extra mile will extract from you buckets of sweat, but it will also drench you with the sweet waters of victory.