Tummy Rumbles – When Hunger is a Good Thing

Today I really tried
For the first time in awhile
And I now realise
How easy and comfortable my stride has become
How quickly slip the words from my tongue
“That’ll do”
And out of that realisation grew a profound regret at how often I have snuffled my own potential.
As effortless as blowing out a candle.
I am suddenly very, very hungry

And my tummy rumbles

*My realisation in the pool on Monday was compounded by a 6km run this morning. It was hard, but I decreased my finishing time by about 5 minutes.

Five minutes, dropped easily enough on a circuit I have been tootling around at a pace of 6.41 per km for the last month and patting myself on the back for running. What a Peanut.

I hadn’t even tried for the first km as I was just jogging along to my tunes knocking out my normal run right up until I asked myself “hey, how fast can I go?” Then I began to truly power up. Checking splits on my watch every time it ticked off another km, I watched the numbers go down into the 5’s. The things we can do if we simply try.

I didn’t even slow to talk to my old man random friend on the corner who rides his bike to the end of the block and back each day. Sadly I realised that him at 80 riding his bike 100 metres and turning around and me at 49 half assing it around a nominal circuit was probably proving him the better athlete. He nodded seriously and said “getting it done hey” I puffed back “yes we are”.

How fast can I go?

I still don’t know the answer to that question because I’m building steam. I might know the answer to that in a couple of months but hopefully not – hopefully I’m a wizened 90 year old one day, whispering to myself “holy cow!” But that doesn’t happen. At some point the potential for fitness growth is stalled – I just don’t want it to be yet. Please don’t be yet when I feel like I’ve only just been kicked in the bum by the universe.

This is isn’t about pure physicality, although that is from where these insights are currently arising. This is about life in general. Maybe a mid life crisis is no joke. Maybe we actually do realise at some point that we are getting older and that our bodies will simply not be capable of growing stronger and fitter forever.

Quick Plot twist – maybe you saw it coming. I didn’t.

I’ve signed up for a half marathon in June. I write these words with a feeling of utter disbelief and a big surge of excitement. It gives me a date and a goal for something, but more than that, for the first time in my life I’m hungry. Hungry for a win, even if that win looks like a heartfelt all out personal best and not a medal. Especially if it is that – that is all I want from and for myself – my best.

I’ve never competed in my adult life, never been particularly competitive, because in my heart, no matter how fit I was, I feared failure. This was the very weak and ordinary conclusion I came to when I gave this subject a bit of thought this morning. So I don’t allow myself to dream or get determined about competitions. Plenty of other things – just not competitions. I don’t enter races for that reason. I let myself off the hook time and again, because the hook is an uncomfortable place to be.

But there are worst places.

This morning I felt the first cold fear of death and decrepitude – not due to arriving at that reality. But rather, doing so without having ever known what I was truly capable of. Not just in a physical way but in every aspect of my life. How terrifying.

I don’t want to reach those haloed extremities of my life span with heavy “shoulds” wishes, regrets and remorse. I’ve already wasted too much time blowing candles of potential out.

So I’m firmly on the hook for the 5th June race day, but I’m also on the hook for every day up until that date, and every day thereafter.

What is the point if there is no edge? The hook doesn’t get comfortable – that’s not the way of the hook. The hook is sharp, shaped like a beckoning finger – it leads us towards a better version of ourselves. The hook is not to be feared, it is to be embraced.

Blog post written 22/3/22

17 thoughts on “Tummy Rumbles – When Hunger is a Good Thing

  1. I completely get it! I walked my first 5k at about 58 years old just to prove I could. I feel alive when I have something that scares me a little! You are a powerhouse! Go get it!

    • Martha well done on your 5k, that feeling of aliveness and alertness breathes life into our days. It wakes us up doesn’t it? The mind can’t do that, only the body can, keep walking the edge 💕

  2. Everyone who runs a road race is a winner… unless they are a sore loser, and then they’re just a loser. What will the weather be like in June? My last marathon was in June and I absolutely melted. I guess you won’t have that problem.

    • It’s North Queensland so could be anything Jeff. It’s winter at that time of year in Oz so should be okay. but The website says the race is run at dawn, flat and fast. That’s what attracted me – I’m not good with heat, all my exercise is before 8am. It is what it is, I’ll put Dave Goggins on in my earbuds to swear at me about grit and pain. If my husband comes he will no doubt do the same – highly motivating stuff 😂

  3. Loved reading this Kate. I sometimes wish I could be a runner. I have starting walking 6 kms now. Feels great. I just lack consistency All the best for your marathon in June.

    • The older guy I often go past in the mornings reminds me of the power of consistency – he rides his bike every day – not far, but every day – 6km walk is great – I love walking and it is excellent exercise but I needed the extra hard this year – I’m hoping it will channel through to other areas me I stop procrastinating and finish something worthwhile.

  4. That’s a wonderful goal to have set, and actually something I’ve pondered doing myself for a while – some kind of (short) race / marathon.

    Regarding the micro step, though, I recently started pushing harder on one small stretch of my usual route, just to see how that would affect my final time. I don’t go into detailed measurements of segments, but I get the concept of just *trying* harder…which I should have been doing far earlier.

    Ironically, at age 41, I’m so much more consistent in running than I was in my 20s and 30s. And I also fear the day when my body will say “Enough”…which I know will come some day. I’ve seen it already: my father was a lifelong jogger, but had to stop when his body told him to, and he’s since deteriorated into almost no physical activity.

    I always did badly in school races and sports days, so I’ve just never had the will to do them in my adult life. Even in the father-daughter races at my kids’ sports days, that feeling of inadequacy would resurface, and I just took it as a given that we’d end up pretty low in the pecking order.

    Competition – in a field of weakness – can scar the soul…but as we get older, we see that it’s the *trying* that matters most. It’s doing these things for *yourself*, and trying to silence the inner (and outer) voices of competitiveness.

    Thank you for reminding us through your experience.

    • I think as we age we appreciate our bodies for what they can do rather than their looks. I remember being overly sensitive of how my body looked forever. Ridiculously so at times. I just like it so much these days, I’m really friendly towards it – like wow good going legs, awesome work arms. It’s that focus thing again – if we look for flaws there are plenty, but if we look for the positives and to increase those things – we just keep seeing more and more to be hopeful for.
      I’m sorry your Dad is losing his ability to jog – has he tried swimming? I do worry about running sometimes and knees – which is why I have incorporated swimming and cycling into my fitness as well as strength training. I know a lot of runners move towards cycling as they age if they have problems with knees, or swimming. Exercise is so beneficial – perhaps he can find another type that suits him better.

      • True…what we focus on grows, so we should choose carefully. He’s not a swimmer at all, but is slowly starting to do walks again after a health scare earlier this year. A rowing machine works best for him, so we’ll see where things go…

  5. Yes, Kate, we should embrace the “hook!” I remember lying awake on my 40th birthday, struck with (and bothered by) the realization (DUH) that I was getting older and couldn’t do a thing about it. Now my next birthday will be my 70th, and I feel blessed beyond belief. I will not die young, because it’s too late for that. 😉 I will serve the Lord for the rest of my days, but part of me hopes it won’t be TOO many more. I so look forward to completing the race He’s set out for me. But I guess that’s up to Him.

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