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Ending good – Starting great

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Although this post is published a bid late I still value to share it with you. Since a very long time I stopped of thinking about making New Years resolutions, because unlike many people I could never see anticipated changes coming to life which were based on such short lived thoughts. Today I can say the only resolution that worked for me to not make them anymore. This led me to make changes when they were needed and I simply call them Resolutions On Demand.

This time New Year was right in the middle of a week so many took that opportunity by investing 2-3 more days to get nearly 10 days off. That also gave me the chance of 6 continuous days of freedom as my clients too enjoyed such an extended week. I decided to use this time given for my (New Years) Resolution On Demand – 6 days of running by increasing my distance 2 km each day. Ok, don’t bash me now for such a trivial goal. As some of my readers know I used to be a pretty good long distance runner where my VO2max meant that breathing was entirely optional for the remaining time of the day. Having being in a long survival struggle for more than 20 years that put me under such enormous distress and ended me getting burned-out (read more here and here), this task is not so trivial at all. I promise that this year you will see posts on The ∙ 50minCoach ∙ Blog on what damage stress and burnout is causing to body, mind and national economy.

Breathing seems always an issue at the beginning of a run. That is probably the most affected from stress …

Let’s get back to my On Demand Resolution for 2015. Of course I didn’t have to start my runs at zero. By that time my basic distance was around 8-10 km.

On Saturday 27th December I ran a 10 km to prepare myself physically and mentally for the 6 days challenge ahead of me.


Day One: then Monday 29th (Sunday I still had a client assignment that makes running difficult) was time to add up the 2 km. That was easy as I previously did about 3 trainings between 11 and 12 km plus one 11 km race. I choose a time of the day that gave me daylight and less traffic. I have to watch that part as I have to run on the roads. Otherwise, nothing special to say, a very normal run. Completed 12:25 km — 1:14.54 — 9.8 km/h

Day Two:  Tuesday 30th going first time beyond my running distances since being “reborn” – 14 km on my schedule. Looking out for new routes in my backyard. My mind doesn’t feel bored, legs ok, breathing rhythmic, not feeling tired. Only after finishing I noticed I got the distances wrong – getting it right the next day. Completed 13:58 km — 1:25.39 — 9.5 km/h

Day Three: On Wednesday 31st my muscles feels sore when starting my run. My best remedy is to start easy. The route to start is always the same for a few kilometers until I reach a network of small roads and paths that in combination can give me great distances. I felt the first three days were easy despite the sore legs. Recovery seems a bit slow going. Completed 15.95 km — 1:42.05 — 9.4 km/h

Day Four (New Year’s day): Any 1st January, early in the morning, the roads are pretty empty. A good opportunity to take a route I run every now and then that takes me to a very different place of the city. Such changes also gives your mind a break as it confirms you are not moving solely like a mouse in a wheel. I feel tired, the night has being shorter as I start early and recovery is not optimal. Breathing seems always an issue at the beginning of a run. That is probably the most affected from stress and has suffer the most where I lost around 70% of my previous VO2max capacity. But after a little while, when the lungs get warmer I can relax and all feels comfortable. Running early in the morning adds another challenge as I run small streets and alleys. I encounter a lot of loose dogs. I am lucky to be on good terms with such creatures. Still I do have to be vigilant and make sure they stay where they are. After half the distance I reach a nice park where I added a few laps to get my todays intention fulfilled. Completed 18.39 km — 1:58.22 — 9.3 km/h

Day Five: Friday 2nd January was the toughest of all six days – very tired, still and increasing sore muscles all over my legs, on the schedule double the distance I usually would run, but a high determination to go all the way I have planned. I wonder how my mind will get along, but not only. Can I relax to ease the pain in my legs and can I relax to breath freely? Let’s see. People and dogs get used to me. People smile and throw me thumbs up and dogs don’t bark or try to chase me anymore. As usual I start slow – today slower than the other days. Only the first few hundred meters are difficult. If you don’t think about the pain but focus on your goal, the pain vanishes that makes your task easier to fulfill. Despite the tiredness I still have to be attentive on what is going on around me – remember, I am running on the streets. The first third of today’s distance I run a better speed average then yesterday, the second third matched about yesterday’s average and the last third seemed clearly slower. Noticing such differences is a positive sign that your senses are still intact. Completed 20.08 km — 2:12.26 — 9.1 km/h

If you don’t think about the pain but focus on your goal, the pain vanishes that makes your task easier to fulfill.

Day Six: On that Saturday 3rd January everything looks so positive. I have gone beyond a point I longed for since I felt it unbearable not to run. And now I am going to put a great finishing on the 6 days challenge. What remained from the day before was my total tiredness and muscle soreness. But I know it is my last day and so can put all my energy reserves into finishing this well. I start clearly better than yesterday. I am motivated as I know what I will have achieved. But there is also a relief in sight as I need to give my muscles a well-deserved break to recover. Before my burnout I could run 4-6 hours without even noticing I did challenge myself. Meaning I could run 50-60 km at once. Now the situation is different and I have to rebuild such capabilities. This 6 days challenge is part of my endeavor. The focus goes on how can I run relaxed despite my muscles being stiff without getting cramped when I push, how I can get my body and mind going despite being tired. I choose the same route as day five. This makes it a bit easier as I don’t have to think too much where I put my feet and in the meantime the dogs and I have become sort of friends. I can imagine what they are thinking – “what is this guy running like a maniac in this warm weather” (we have winter now so it’s warm and not hot). Saturday is less traffic too as half the city is still outside at the beaches enjoying their time before this week ends. I console myself by “enjoying” my pain and tiredness. There is another goal that came up; all those days my average speed was steadily above 9 km/h. Ok it dropped over the past days but that was to be expected. I want to finish this sixth day also running above 9 km/h. As I still have 6 km to go and my average speed seems this time really low, I fear I may miss this target. I am half through my last lap and “only” 3 km to finish – no, not my life – but the day. That is a motivator that I compare with, and can experience, at every race. There are four phases; the first is where you get warm and try to find your rhythm, the second is where you just do your job and race well, the third is where you hit a wall – getting tired – slowing down – push and motivate yourself, and the forth is where you mobilize your last energy reserves when approaching the finish line by putting on a great finish. In my case, despite my last kilometer was the slowest the overall pace was as wished and my willingness and determination was as high as the beginning. Completed 22.05 km — 2:27.27 — 9.0 km/h

Concluding my 6 days challenge I have no metaphor, quote or adage – I simply have the joy of completed more than a half marathon today and ran 112 km (including the 10 km from last Saturday) in one week and have not even come close to feeling clinically dead. There were two thresholds I encountered at kilometer 16 and 20, once completed I felt it motivating to take the next level. Of course not all is good and I have to work on a lot of issues such as; expanding lung capacity to increase oxygen throughput, developing the deeper layers of muscles to make them more resistance again, changing nutrition to avoid hypoglycemia, adjusting mental and emotional balance. But first, now comes a period of active recovery and reflections for my next steps.

I have no metaphor, quote or adage – I simply have the joy

Considering I only run again since 4.5 months again and being above 60 years of age and my strong 11 km run in a competitive environment early December 2014 tells a lot about my abilities I still bear in me. Imagine where today I could stand if PHu would not have wreaked havoc my life. There is much work to be done. Besides managing my own coaching business I also have to put in time and energy to rebuild my life. I have to engage like a 30-40 year old chap. Not an easy task but I am determined. This was not so much about the goal (nonetheless important) but more about you walk the path. This last Resolution On Demand for a change in and for my life was successful – I ended 2014 good and started 2015 great. Let’s carry this positive experience through the year and let it serve as a spark wherever needed.

Let me ask, if you ever made similar experiences of life where you had to rebuild from scratch. How did you go about? Would you care to share? I would love to read your comment.


One Response

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  1. I just have a similar experience — learning Chinese from scratch again. Although I learned it many years ago when I was in high school. It still not easy for me to start over again.

    Liked by 1 person


    19. January 2015 at 6:16 am

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