I hate this story, but I have to tell it.

16 seconds. That’s the whole deal. This is not what separates me from success, as the cliché says, THIS IS the success. And I feel bad about it.

When I went to fetch the photos from the race I examined them thoroughly. It should be noted, this race was very photographed. 

all I saw was my flaws: double chin, fat swinging from side to side, thighs that meet and tremble, my legs advancing in diagonal steps and my boobs, oh my bouncing boobs.

I looked like a suffering duckling, even a runner behind me raised their hand to the camera as if to shout, ‘move this slow cow off the road!’

Ok, Let’s rewind to a few days earlier.

I got to this race while my nose was running faster than my legs.Yep the joke’s on me, a runny nose. I’m not sure of the reason for that – the allergies to the tropical plants, the jet lag, the beer they gave out at the expo- wtf?! How come I didn’t see the label said “beer” in Portuguese, and since when do they give out free beer at those fairs collecting kits for competitions?! 

I also have complaints about the current shoes. The previous model was more effective in pushing forward because of a higher drop, or was it a lower drop? Like I have any idea on that.  Add to this… the opposite wind coming from the sea side, narrow road, humidity, all those excuses to explain an unsatisfactory result.

Truth is that the best I was able to do was 16 seconds, and I should be satisfied with this result, because theoretically, I achieved the goal I set out for.

At the 17th kilometer, the watch showed 1:33 and I started playing out with my fingers, using my non-calculus mind, doing some first-grade math. Will I be able to reach the finish line in less than two hours? And what about those annoying hundred meters at the end, damn it Queen Elizabeth may she rest in peace.Did you know, that the olympics committee added another 200 meters to a formal length of a marathon just to meet her majesty on a route in the 1908 games? Well, never mind that, it’s a story for another post. While my mind flies around to London, here I am in Rio grinding my teeth on those rough edges. Yet I remember this moment clearly. It was at that moment that I first really, seriously – set that goal for myself. Only at that moment I started pushing for real. Have you ever had that feeling while running as fast as you can, that everything is like going in slow motion?Everything feels like a turtle beat?

I keep on pushing, my knees start screaming for help, and the sweat coming down my eyebrows, my nipples stick to my bra, I feel this wetness and the snot I’m wiping on my shirt, like, who cares anymore, I ran out of tissues a long time ago. Suddenly the floor looked so crooked with those smooth limestone stones, everything got hard. But I don’t give up, I keep on pushing forward. Because I feel the time is now. I decided on this goal, and I’m going to make it. I’m going to get to the finish line on time. 

And there I was – I broke a personal record, and for the first time, I ran a half marathon in less than two hours! Yeah, as I told myself I would “try” to do. As I set myself that goal. Half marathon, less than two hours. 1 hour 59 minutes and 44 seconds. Yay for the Victory, right?

The route of the Rio de Janeiro marathon stretches out from a bossa nova song by Stan Getz, to a cheap 80s disco by Barry Manilow. For those of you searching now on Spotify – the answer is- Ipanema to Copacabana. A smooth, flat beach strip, just like you’d see in the influencers instagram reels  – smooth yellow sand, girls in neon fuchsia bikinis floating on rollerblades,perfect blue tropical skies that don’t reveal the power of the wind and 80% humidity.

How did I get here? Well, the simple answer would be – on a flight from Madrid, but let’s get serious here. I’m writing this post to admit a mistake and forgive myself. Forgive myself, for not coming out publicly with my goals. Forgive myself, for not being determined, and saying to you, and to myself- yes, I can and I will. I’m writing this post to forgive myself for sticking to the “maybe”, and not pushing for the top. 

What happened? I had  fog in my eyes, I fell asleep with the tv open, and worst of all – I dreamed.

After all, this is not my first half marathon, nor it is my first race, the excitement and fears are gone, no butterflies in my stomach. Even so, I approached it hesitantly. And for that – I am disappointed with myself.

Was I disappointed because of the result? Yes. In fact, I dreamed of finishing the 21km in one hour and 55 minutes. I dreamed, but I did not aspire, I did not plan.

The dream is passive and lazy, like waiting for money to fall from the sky, at best, or in the worst case – a piano will fall from the fifth floor and miss you by an inch, not crushing you on the sidewalk.

How we set our goals – that’s the real deal. I say: Dream Big. Make it real – in small steps.

To achieve our ambitions, We must look up to the skies, aim to the top. Even if we can’t imagine ourselves getting there. Even when it’s oh so scary. Even if we might not get there, we will get close enough because we work towards that summit. Had it been a “lower” summit, the odds might be on our favor to get there, but we will probably not exceed it. The level we set, is the maximum we will get. The higher we aim, the higher we can get.  

Having said that –  in order to make it happen, reach out for those goals, we need to break them down to small lego parts, tiny steps that each on its own- is safe and relatively easy to execute. Jumping big strides  may shake our stability and hold of the ground. That’s why we take small steps, and each step is comfort and safe to make, preparing us to the next. 

We don’t need to see the top of the mountain to know it exists, and we don’t need to have all the answers about the way to get there. All we need is to decide –  we are climbing and we’re going to get there. Get the proper gear, set off, starting now, little by little. 

This is the first post out of 52 posts I’ll be publishing this year. This is my goal, this is my plan, this is what I’m going to do and here – I’ve said it.

What else do I do? 

I inspire people to get out of their comfort zone and change their lives. 

Also, I run a digital solutions company – we build websites & make automations. 

You’re welcome to contact me here or at bidi@therunningnomad.com   

Bidi Sh.
The Running Nomad

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