I’m not particularly good at running. I don’t have a great stride, I never developed a good technique. Just like Forrest Gump, one day I just started to run. Running was not in my blood. I played soccer for years, tennis, squash and loved to ride my bike. Running was always a necessary evil, not something I enjoyed. As your life gets busier, playing all these sports required too much preparation. Running is different. I can just grab my sneakers, leave the house and run away. No preparation. No equipment. Just run. So I did.

Running teaches you to focus on yourself. There are always other runners who are faster. And many who are slower. What counts is finding your own pace. The pace that challenges you and, at the same time, makes you come back for another run next day. In our competitive world, we tend to focus too much on others. Instead, we should focus more on our strengths, find our own pace, our own zone. That’s the place where we belong.

Running teaches you to challenge all the old rules and set lofty goals. For years, I ran around 4-5 miles daily. Decent pace, nothing extraordinary. I couldn’t fathom running 10 miles or even a marathon. One day, for no particular reason, I decided to run 15 miles. Same pace, three times the distance. And I succeeded. Three months later I was running my first marathon. We tend to believe in our own devil’s advocate, reminding us of our limitations constantly. The outside world doesn’t help because they love to put things in boxes, remind us not to get too big for our bridges and basically transfer their own limitations to us. Sure, it might have been better to gradually ease into 15 miles by adding 1 mile each week. Sometimes that doesn’t work. Sometimes you just have to go for it and try to achieve something unattainable.

Last but not least, running taught me be more in the moment. When you run a marathon, you dream of the finish line. You dream of the moment when you don’t have to run anymore, where the bathtub is waiting for you, a bed. But focusing on the finish line takes away from the moments: little kids handing you orange pieces, people cheering you on, helping somebody through a cramp, working through the pains and aches, the knowing smile of a fellow runner. Looking back, I don’t remember the finish line moment. But I do remember those little moments. And what is life besides a collection of those little, precious moments?