Why do I run?

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Many times, from many people, in a lot of different conversations, I’ve got the question with pros and cons. Why? What’s the point? Who makes you to do this? Feels good? When? Where? How? How much? How fast? And in a million other ways, repeating them until I got bored.

Colleagues from the bar and the restaurant, that it’s easy for me, I do nothing at the reception, just sit there, surfing on the web, of course I have a lot of energy to run.

My bosses, colleagues from other departments, why do I want to kill myself, I have to be fit and concentrated until the season lasts, and it’s a long time.

From friends and relatives, that run if someone is chasing you.

I have no time, there is no point, I don’t want, I’m too lazy, I do something else. I don’t like it, I won’t like it. I’m slow. I can’t.

Those are just exceptions. Everyone can jog or run, or walk faster than usual, if they have a pair of legs and lungs (now days even those who doesn’t got these). You have time for what you want to do. It has it’s point, more than just one. You just have to start it, after that it’ll go by itself. You’re going to like it, believe me.

I’ve started 3 years ago on the ship, to be more precise, when I get off the ship. And I love every single second, every single meter of it, It doesn’t matter that I’m working on the reception, or as a bar waiter. Daytime or night, spring, summer, autumn or winter, rain or sunshine, in wind – the Taft still keeps the condition. The point is, I do enjoy it!

I think that the main question is, can you set another goal? First of all, just to begin. I still remember, I went crazy in the cabin on board, doing nothing. I needed something, independent, something what makes me happy, something physical activity after work. I did not care if I had walked 10-12 kilometers in the bar and the restaurant during service, after that I went down to the room, and still, changed my dress and go out to the fresh air, and run! Absolutely, everybody thought I’m crazy, I have some problem. While other were about to fall into the bed and sleep, I went out for a good 5-7 km run. Strictly for run, not to walk, or jog, neither to bike. With a good pace, fast, without stop!

At the beginning I was like, okay, just go, not a big deal, just for fun. Let the stress out, get rid of all the b******ts of the day, leave behind the problems of the day. To change the clothes, turn the music on, start the application and run, run and run. 5k, 6k, 7k, doesn’t matter, run until I could. The weather, the temperature or the surface, none of them mattered. It felt good, everywhere, every time. To discover different cities, villages, to look around, get into all the small streets, to discover the place in a different way than the usual – by run. Not with a tour guide, listening to all the stories, when this building was built, who was born there, why did they die there, how it had been destroyed. Not because I don’t care about these facts, they are interesting! But these times I did not want a city tour. I wanted to explore everything by myself, to get lost and find my way back. Without any guidelines, that has no point. So every single time, when I went to a different location, or in a different way, I had to check my GPS for the directions to the way back. This is how I run in 2014, without any bigger goal, just as much as I can, as fast as I can, as long as I can. Until the end of the year, I could do 8-10 kilometers as well, but the average was somewhere between 6 and 8 km within 30-40 minutes. So in the end, I was satisfied with myself.

Then 2015 arrived. New year, new goals. And luckily I’ve could started it at the beginning of the season, whatever, even earlier. Everyone is speaking about a mental border, if you can beat that, after there’s nothing to stop you. For me, this border was the 5 min/km average. That’s a kind of round, full number. If you checked it from the point of speed, it’s 12 km/h. What is again a round number. And you can call it speed. I’ve started the year on the Margaret-Island, which is 5.350 meters long, so the goal was around 27 minutes. At first I could not make it, I was 30 seconds behind the goal. It did not disappoint me, but encouraged me, to push it harder, faster, and I can do it then!

A few more times I was still behind the deadline, but always got closer and closer. After 2-3 months, in March, the season begun, so I had to bring my running clothes to the ship, to the Netherlands. During March and April, we had a couple of cruises through Netherlands-Belgium-Netherlands, and I took all the chances to run wherever I can and reach my goal. The Benelux’s is a perfect place from this point of view, as I think. Various places, cities and villages changes after each other, mainly plain stretches with a few hills and valleys. The weather is not usual at all – at leas for me. A little cooler, sometimes rainy and always windy, but still manageable. After a few runs I got used to the circumstances, so I could be a little faster and faster again, time by time, second by second. Later we’ve started to cruise down, through Europe. The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and finally Hungary.

Until the end of the year, I could say, that almost in every city, in every town, where we had docked, I was running. So I needed to search for a new aim, to do something more, not just for myself, but for something else as well. And then I’ve got the idea, yes! I have to convince someone to join me. Let’s start with The Boss, she already mentioned a few times that she wanted to start, so why not now? I have some experience as a “teacher” – okay, the 2 years dance teaching is quiet different and not a real job – but in the end, she gave up and came with me, but first she bought some clothes and a cute running shoes. And later, the Big Day has came! I’m not pretty sure about it, maybe it was a morning, before duty, when we went for a run together. But what morning time, it was still dark, closer to midnight than to noon! We’ve met at the reception at 6:00 am, both of us with sleepy and tired head and face, mind and soul. I wasn’t sure if we think this seriously, but doesn’t matter anymore. As soon as we stepped outside of the ship, the cold air came to us and slapped our faces. We looked at each other and started to laugh, why are we doing this, what’s wrong with us, when all the normal people are sleeping at this time? But then we strengthened ourselves, did the warm up and 5-6 minutes later started to run. I already forgot the place, but the goal was the 3 km. And to be honest, I was really surprised, so hats off for her, because she did it! All the way down on the 3 km, running, slower, faster, but she made it. It was hard, easy, she was smiling, sweating, smiling and cold, but she made it! For real! I was so, so proud of her, I couldn’t tell her properly. The circumstances weren’t the best, but she didn’t give it up, she was, she is so crazy about it now just like me, and she came with me, run with me, and she made it!!! 🙂

After the first one she came more often with me, sometimes for a longer run, sometimes to reduce the duration of the exercise, so yes, the improvement is possible, and I could see it with my own eyes on her. And the joy, the happiness, that I could help with this, I could motivate and push her, makes me happy and proud every day. Another day, sometimes later, and other colleague joined us, and I really couldn’t believe it. It was just a hobby, just a time-spending activity for me first, and in the end – or at least by that time – it was like I’ll bring everyone from the ship to the track for a run, and it sounded cool! “Okay, this is the new goal, to bring as many people to move as I can” – something like this was in my mind, and I could see it in front of my eyes, in 2-3 lines, 7-8 people is running in the same pace, and I’m like Forrest Gump, leading the group, and more and more colleague is joining us. It felt freaking good! Again later on, one more crew member joined us, so we reached the magical 4 person!!! Who would bet on it at the beginning of 2015? Finally, I wasn’t alone anymore, I’ve got some new motivations,  or let say something different. And yes, we woke up in the morning before duty, and it was cold, and we were tired and sleepy, and we get more tired and sweat, and we warmed up and stretched down, but we did it. In wind, in cold or warm, dark or sunny, we run, everyone enjoyed it, and everything was fine. For my personal opinion, I had a successful year, I could beat my own records time by time in the point of distance and speed. In the end of the year I left the ship that I’ve already run in most of the places where we’ve been docked. So, I had to find another different goal for myself, as a new motivation. And, what lift my call for running up for a whole new level, I entered for my first official competition!

It was in February, 2016, organized by the BBU Szervezoiroda. The location was Budapest, Kobanya, more precisely – what gives the biggest temptation to enter – partly under the ground. At first I had no imagine how it could be possible, or where, with what, do I have to bring a torch or flash lights? Do we just enter the basement, running up and down, left-right and who will come out first, wins the whole event? But it sounded a lot of fun, and also it could be my first competition, so I registered myself for the 7 km long run. I started the training during winter time at home, in the gym, in the end of the workout session, when they’re jogging, I was running 40-45 minutes, 8-9 kilometers, just to keep myself fit. After Christmas and New Years Eve, I went back to the trade mill just to lose those extra kilos I’ve gained, and as soon I wrote it down, the race day was here. I went there alone, with my backpack on me, used the public transport to find the place. It was easy to get there and find the facilities, like the changing room, the info table and things like these. Everything was well organized, separated changing place for male and female, you could give in your bag and clothes, and they kept their eyes on them. I’ve already picked up my number a few days earlier, so I missed the line for them. I’ve got the 7020 number in a pack with a cool running jersey, which was a kind of uniform, so everyone was running in it. 🙂

The “How to run a 7k race?” starter pack

First there was the kindergarten run, after that 1k, 3k, and then my race. We’ve been 600 of us, so they’ve cut us into groups of 40 people, and let us go in every 30 seconds. I was in the end of the third or fourth group. We were above the ground for 4,5 km, and after a few lefts and rights, we went under the ground. The basement was a whole labyrinth, for 2,5 kilometers, with a lot of turns, up and downs. The path was marked with candles and led lights, somewhere with some plashes, water flows and cones. It was amazing, of course with a lot of spectators cheering everyone, friends, relatives or someone unknown. The point was the feeling and the spirit, nobody was angry or aggressive, nobody pushed away the others. After the start, I had a surprisingly easy way to the front on the ground, and even under it. Okay, in the basement I had a few places when I had to slow down because of a few slower racer, but after a few meters, there was always a little wider stretch so I could speed up and overtake them. In the end, as it turned out, if I was a little more aggressive, I could have a better time, and a better place as well. But later about it.

After the darkness, when we reached again the fresh air, the sunshine was a little disturbing at first, but wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t see the way or the others in front of me. Oh, yes, a good tip – as I think -, always try to follow someone for a while. I had a good race from this point of view, there was always someone to follow, so I could see them, catch them and overtake them, so I could find another opponent. Nobody passed by me, and that was really good. I went higher and higher on the ranking. The last 3 k was hilly, ups and downs with two bigger hills what gave harder time to my calves, but I solved this part as well, and in the end, on the last straight I did a sprint and gained two more places!

 

I made it, I finished! I was rushing with my breath, but that’s okay after a race. One staff member came with a medal – everyone got one, who crossed the finish line. I took a few deeper breath, stretched my legs and everything and was smiling like I smoked weed. It was such a good feeling to complete this distance, and that yes, I could do this, within a pretty good time. And of course, I was curious about my time and place. But first I had to wait for the results next to the finish line, watching the others, and after that I went to check the board:

The Result!

Yes, that’s right, you see it right, luckily. I could finish on the 34th place out of 600 starter!!! I did not believe it at all, that I finished this close to the leaders. When I stepped into the hall, I’ve checked immediately the papers. First thing I realized, that there were the times and place by 50 person per page. Okay, that’s fine, I started to check the third page. I said to myself, between 100 and 150, I’m somewhere there. I looked at the names, nothing. Checked the numbers, nada. Okay, that’s my luck, let’s check the 4th page, in the first 200 is still pretty good, out of 600. But I found the same like on the previous page – nothing. The number 7020 was not there either. I was like “Okay, I wasn’t so bad!”. But who knows, maybe I felt it wrong, and the others were much faster than me. So, I checked the paper, places started with 201, but I wasn’t there either. Okay, that’s not okay. Maybe they missed me, or the timing chip was broken somehow. But just to make sure, I’ve checked the second page as well, maybe I was even faster than I thought. But still nothing between 51 and 100. And then I gave up in my soul. I was a little disappointed, that I couldn’t manage it into the first third of the whole group. I was this bad, or really, the chip didn’t work at all… Out of curiosity, I’ve checked the first page as well for their results, who win with what time, what average speed. He was really fast, managed in 28-29 minutes, which is pretty fast, hats off for him! I went a little further down, and suddenly I found my name there. Okay, that’s impossible, I can’t be this far ahead. I checked the number as well, maybe someone has the same name – okay, the odds are close to the zero, but there’s one rugby player in Australia with this name. But nothing, the number was 7020, that’s really my number!

I couldn’t tell how happy I was, I jumped up literally, that’s it, that’s it for you! 34th out 600 on my first race, 33:50 the time, and the average is 4:50 mins/km, which means the speed around 12.2 km/h. And now I realized, if I was a little faster and more aggressive under the ground, I could gain 1-2, maybe even 3 places! But it’s to late to change anything, I think it is an excellent result, I did what I could, I gave out everything what I was able. A really good place in the front with a pretty fast time, and if I say that this was my very first race, without any professional help or trainer, that’s not bad at all. And this brought my appetite for another races, and new goals. Later about it 🙂

 

So, that’s why and how I started to run, and that’s how it changed by itself and became a lifestyle day by day instead of a simple hobby. And that’s how it changed me, my goals and became a part of me!

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