The sophomore slump

Persistence is not reflected in the first step. All of those motivational guides, I’ll skip the name dropping, echo a simple, catchy, tempting message – take the first step and do it, everything else will fall into place. But I’m here to destroy the myth: The first step, as difficult as it is, is not as hard as you’d anticipate. 

The second step is the hardest of them all.

Running the first kilometer I’m proud of myself for going for a workout, but in the second kilometer I ask myself what the hell am I doing to myself, why am I abusing myself, tearing up my knees. The feeling of accomplishment and success only comes in the 8th kilometer, with the adrenaline pushing forward, but the body still feels the effort – let’s face it, I’m not always floating on air with pleasure. No hormones or chemicals will prevail, only a conscious and strong mindset, I force myself not to break. Fantasies about eye-popping results, excessive thoughts and self-criticism, they all join me in this run, they all participate in the project. In practice – there are no magic solutions. Last trail race in Ibiza, I lost my way on the terrain despite all clear signs ahead. Even though I thought I was already experienced, it was exhausting from the first to the last kilometer. Yet my eyes focus looking at the stones on the way, taking a glimpse at the sky, admiring the amazing view on the climb, imagining the delicious carbs I’ll earn at the end of the race, and yet, well, not surprisingly, I missed the left turn. 


I’m having what would be called (and be explained here on…) – The sophomore slump. That’s the reason I delayed publishing. I had good intentions, I wanted to write about the importance of persistence, about the difficulty of the second kilometer in running, and how important it is to push and how to do it. But, seriously, I don’t have any good advice, I’m writing with desperate, tired, with my tongue out.

Whenever we take any course, right at first class, we are proud of ourselves for the first accomplishment, learning the first steps. Setting goals for the new year, a new notebook with smooth and inviting pages, writing tasks in them with excitement. The first day on the diet goes great, on the second day I’m ready for chocolate. When you learn a new language, as soon as you manage to pronounce one sentence you feel amazing. Arriving at the second lesson we are required to face a little more of a challenge, and then to do it all over again, we might start stuttering. In the last few days I opened blank documents in the masses, wrote sections of paragraphs, yet actually wrote nothing. I opened the blank page with a sentence that was supposed to push my fingers forward the flow of the story, something like a writing exercise, about the first time I lost my way on a trail. It looks something like this-


I remember the first time I lost my way on a trail training in a remote forest in Brazil. This was the second time I ran with this running group. Let’s admit it, it’s not quite a remote forest, nor an exotic jungle in the Amazon. The Tijuca Park is filled with beautiful waterfalls on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Climbing up we met soldiers standing with their rifles ready, yes! In the forest!  between the trees and monkeys and the small water tributaries, between the tree trunks that form natural stairs, on the narrow cliff way, soldiers standing ready. In Brazil as expected, the proximity of the forest to the favelas makes tourists an easy target for criminals. Indeed, during the run, I already wrote in my mind the plot of the best selling novel I plan to write. It will be a thriller with spies and intelligence services and suitcases full of money and cocaine and all that. Right there, where I was passing by, near the waterfall, where the decomposed tree trunk has already grown moss, under it, that’s the spot to throw the murdered body that ignites the plot. It will be eaten by the crows, the wolves, the snakes, the worms, all come in turn, meanwhile the monkeys will watch from above, holding one leg on a high tree branch, laughing with a banana in hand. The murdered guy will be a Caucasian diplomat who is actually a double agent for some South American drug cartel, his blood will flow into the water until the color completely faddes into the depths of this small waterfall, to add the tragic effect to the scene and emphasize the banality of nature that swallows everything. 

Yep, obviously the best thoughts come while running, trail or asphalt, no matter where.  Apart from the most far-fetched plots for espionage John Le Carré style thrillers, I also dream of romantic novels dripping sweat, kitsch and passion.Brilliant ideas for a mobile app that will solve everything from everything and tomorrow I am Steve Jobs, these are only bits of my thoughts.  Issue is that I mostly dream of results. That fruit salad at the end of the workout, the viral post hitting million likes. The shit loads of money from selling my app that’ll make me rich.These are all motivation killers. you see the end before starting. You feel longing for the results, not for the journey. Feeling a win before starting is not winning at all, it’s just an illusion. Sometimes the feeling can soothe that the action will be easy, sometimes it’s like euphoria that hides the fear.  In that case, we would rather not face this tremendous journey, it will seem so long and arduous and difficult and exhausting, just by using these words I start yawning and get paralyzed, trust me I have all the excuses to stay home and not do it. 


Meanwhile, the paragraphs do not write themselves out, each one is disconnected from the other and I find it hard to make a full coherent story. I open a tab and another tab and another tab in the browser, a blank document and another blank document, in fact this is the latest version of me being the tormented writer who sits in front of the typewriter, tears the pages and shrinks them into crumpled balls, throws it up, sometimes hitting the trashcan in the corner of the room, and sometimes – a miss. The same goes for Google Drive with documents whose name automatically saves itself with the first line of the text, something along the lines of “I remember the first time”, and also “I suddenly didn’t know where I was”.


Proud and thankful for you reading up to here, are you still wondering what’s the sophomore slump? Well, My fellow millennials, even today 32 years later, you can still recall every guitar move, every scream on Pearl Jam’s “Ten” album. It was a masterpiece debut album, the ultimate.we recited every word, the album was complete as a whole and as a singles collection, each track could stand on its own, hit after hit, we recognized every drum tap, every guitar riff we knew exactly, this was the voice of our generation. Does anyone remember Pearl Jam’s second album? Well, don’t bother googling. It was a total disaster, failing the charts, sales, everything. Did they ever release a third album? I have no idea.

This is the sophomore slump. And I will not let it get to me. 


Let’s get addicted to the journey. Ironic for me to tell you that, right? Moreover, this is taking an active part in the cliché that better late than never. Better done than perfect. There is no advice here that will solve your problem. At this hour, the main achievement is the mere achievement of publishing. There are some workouts that the main issue about them is that they ever happened.  

I’m Bidi. 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 Sh.
The Running Nomad

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