Sometimes, you need to give up

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

NOVEMBER 23 — I have decided to give up on training to run a 5K. It feels like a shame, doesn’t it?

After 10 weeks and just two more left on my 12-week training plan, I decided it just wasn’t worth it when another strange man tried to follow me while I was working out in the park.

“But didn’t you say you like running?” a friend said to me.

No, I told her. I hate it. I hate waking up early in the morning, changing into workout clothes, putting on socks and shoes and all that only after 10 minutes of warming up on the exercise bike.

What I hate most of all is not being able to run in the park next to my house because one of my neighbours watches from his window waiting for me to come out so he can watch.

I hate that waking up at 7am to avoid him instead had me dealing with a new stalker.

So I gave up.

Instead I’m changing the days I run, and instead of running three times a week I am only running twice.

I am not going to run in a park, or any park and will just run around my neighbourhood where no weird old men will try to follow me.

On the two days I’m not resting, I’ll be learning to roller skate and skateboard or doing strength and flexibility training.

My only other option would have been to join a gym where I could run every day if I wanted and if again I meet another strange old man, I could just brain him with a dumbbell.

Gyms are boring, enclosed and are not Covid-safe and I’d rather spend money on food than a gym membership fee.

I’ll still be picking up my race kit this week and if I feel like running on race day, I will. If I don’t feel like running, I won’t.

There will always be something to do and new ways to see things, whether it is about fitness goals or the future of Malaysia. — Picture by Farhan Najib
There will always be something to do and new ways to see things, whether it is about fitness goals or the future of Malaysia. — Picture by Farhan Najib

There will always be something to do and new ways to see things, whether it is about fitness goals or the future of Malaysia. — Picture by Farhan Najib

Where am I going with all this? After recent events, I have decided that sometimes it’s easier to let go of outcomes and not be too rigid about my plans.

I will keep running because it is still an efficient way of building a cardio base and it changes your body in ways other kinds of exercise don’t.

The anxiety I feel about stepping out the door each time I go running is more manageable if I reduce my running days and switching up my fitness routine is actually good for you.

It’s not about creepy old men “winning.” If I need to tweak my route to fitness then why not?

Sometimes some obstacles cannot be faced head-on but just maneuvered around and that is all that needs to be done.

I think about this country and how the road to a more inclusive future, with less meddling by old men, and the status quo not being a stumbling block to progress, is long and windy.

There are potholes. Impassable stretches which make you think there is no way to keep going on.

I don’t intend to give up on seeing how far I can take my physical capabilities and neither do I intend to give up on this country, as frustrating as things can get.

There will always be something to do and new ways to see things, whether it is about fitness goals or the future of Malaysia.

Let us all keep running, even if it’s hard, even if it doesn’t feel worth it some days, to get somewhere we want to be.

Hope remains, whichever old men try to stand in the way.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.