Running is something I used to say I hate until I found out I love it. I played football for years, I played volleyball, I have tried a bunch of sports since I am a teenager, I have been attending the gym regularly (or not). All the sports have and had something in common — high level of cardio, a lot of running involved. But for a long time, I used to say “I hate running”. Running was always a way to get to something called a “real sport”. Like, you have to move your legs to reach a ball, therefore you will have to do that thing that makes your legs move fast, that thing called running. But that wrong idea has been changing throughout the years… Ten years ago, when I moved in with my best friends, quite into running, duathlon and whatnot, things slowly started to change — yes she is an athlete, whereas I was, and still am, that person who loves sports as much as food, drinking and a bunch of other not so healthy distractions. Coming back to the original story with her and how she put me into running… Once randomly we talked about my running times on the good old treadmill at the gym and she told me “that is a good running pace.” — probably she said something similar to “that is not as miserable as I thought, I am surprised you can reach an actual running pace” but in my head, this is exactly what she said. Of course, I was fairly surprised with that encouraging comment, that might or might not have happened. Suddenly, she made me train with her alongside the river In Lisbon. She started lying to me to motivate me. Some would doubt that it was the best friendship strategy but she knew me too well to know it was going to work — and, of course, she told me the truth afterwards. To kick off, she was the one tracking the time. It started with a “let´s run 3K, you are almost there”, whereas we were truly reaching 5K — yes, I was such a noob that she could trick me with double numbers easily. Then, she kept evolving… Sometimes, she would say we were reaching 5K, whereas we are already on 7K, sometimes 8K while the truth was laying on 9K and so on and on… Then, at some point, I started feeling that thing called “runners high” which I love most times. And I did not have to hide it anymore, run became a real sport for me! And probably top 3 unwinding activities in my life. Perhaps even the number one choice. Since then, running has been considered in my routine. Some times more regularly, other times less — but at least, far from my teenager times crazy assumption that running wouldn’t be a sport per se. And, even worse, that it could not be a fun activity. This was turning point number one in my life regarding running. Conclusion of running chapter 1: running is a sport, running makes me happy, running should be in my routine, running is fun and I can do it.

Some years ago, running chapter 2 started. I felt that throughout chapter 1, running was not as regular as it should have been. Running has been since the good old times living with my friend part of my life, but sometimes it was not part of a routine. It was not part of any life goal. And sometimes, I would even forget how good it made me feel. But that changed at the beginning of running chapter 2. Some years ago, I was not in my best shape — probably neither physically neither psychologically. I had some issues. Like real issues. Father’s death, job changes, love madness, no home, the urge of changing everything in my life — slight overdramatic tone, but mostly real facts. There was a snowball of emotions in my head and lack of answers, life paths and goals — or energy and motivation to even set them. Fun not so fun fact — I´ve tried to get a psychologist, I got one in no time due to some priority listing connected to the “death” word and, a few days after being accepted as a patient, I got a message from the psychologist telling me she couldn´t move forward with the consultations because we did not share the same mother tongue… I believe it is not very professional, right? I also believe that you must suck at being a psychologist if you add “rejection” to the problems your potential patient has to deal with — which might or might not have been an issue already. She will never know, her loss of course. Or perhaps it was all just a nice excuse to let me know that I am a lost case! But, despite that, my broken self tried to believe there was still some hope and I could find somehow my way, focusing on what makes me happy. Which I also had to rediscover alone, for a while, in-depth. Well, the negative tone to a happy story about running does not come out of the blue. Running was one of the things that helped me overcome my problems. Running was also one of the things that helped me follow goals. At this point, I was unsure what goals to set in my life with all the rocks I had to deal with on my path. And, once again, my beloved friend helped me. She asked me “Why not setting some running goals? Why don´t you run a half marathon with me?” And that is exactly what I did. Sometimes, we don´t have to dream about the unreachable to set a goal in life. At this time, this was the perfect goal. It kept me motivated, it gave me something to achieve (which was basically to finish the half marathon in style), a healthy routine, a mechanism to unwind from whatever issues I was/am having and a relaxed mind — and a new happy chapter in my life. I trained, I finished it and it was a great feeling. A feeling I repeated two times up until now through running chapter 3, the “after the first half marathon” chapter.

On running chapter 3, running half marathons is not even “a” goal, it is almost like a routine with a few goals set in it. I believe soon I will start running chapter 4 and aim for longer distances and challenges. But, for now, I am happy I found something so simple that can make me feel thrilled to be alive any time I want.