Friday, 4 December 2015

The power of time


Just four letters, but four letters of deep importance to the human species.

Can you imagine a life without time keeping? A life where you don't know what year it is, the month, the day, the time to the minute or second?

As a species, humans are defined by time keeping. From the moment you take your first breath to the moment you take your last, your life is kept to a neat schedule by the continuous tick-tocking hand of the clock.

Arguably, time is one of the most important elements to becoming an accomplished runner.

We've all done it. Gone for a run with our ever reliable personal stop watches strapped to our wrists, recording our pace and comparing the time with previous runs, desperate to see some improvement. Or we've all ran races and taken an anxious glance at the timing clock, eager to discover if we've bettered our Personal Best. You've only got to run a local club road race and hear the simultaneous beep of watches around you at the kilometer or mile marks to realise that us runners can become obsessed with time and the implications that this will have on our satisfaction of our result and performance.

Nevertheless, the most precious and enjoyable moments within running are very rarely measured by time. To me, running is about freedom and allowing the body and mind to escape the monotony of time keeping in every day life. Running through the natural environment allows us to reconnect the mind and body to the incredible nature of the world around us; to a universe that forgets about time keeping and where moments seem to slow. It's only you, the path, trail or hill that lies in front of you. The mud and cold water seeping into your shoes and your ragged breathing as you feel your whole alertness and emotions sharpened with every tiring step forward.

It may sound like a cliche but running helps you to feel alive and come to realise that the universe is so much bigger than yourself as an individual and society as a whole.
Running is about freedom and feeling alive
(Photo courtesy of High Terrain Events)
Sometimes though, within running you will have the urge to come back to the enduring presence of the infinity of time. Only recently, I have found that a small time period of just 12 seconds has its powerful grasp over me and my ambitions within the sport. This year I have been 12 seconds short of a goal, two sets of 12 seconds away from a dream. Sometimes, just 12 seconds ahead in time feels like it may take a lifetime to reach. 12 seconds can be a blink of an eye or an eternity, but I know that I will get there in the end with my continued hard work and determination.
Chasing the 12 second goal
(photo courtesy of  Maggie Walby)

Time, like many things is just a matter of perspective. If Usain Bolt or any other able-bodied World class 100 metre sprinter was to run 12 seconds in a race, that specific 12 seconds would be deemed as slow. If any Athlete within the T54 Paralympic class were to run 12 seconds for the 100 metres, this would be a World Record and deemed as incredibly fast.

My 12 second loss has inspired me to appreciate time and what it feels like to be alive whilst also striving to get the uttermost best out of my body.

Your length of time in life is never certain, so you've got to be fully present in every moment you have the luck of experiencing.

Just four words. A continuous eternity.

Do what you can with what you have.

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