Since the Aswan Half Marathon, held last February, I didn’t exceed the 10k per run.
Last two weeks I had a bad seasonal allergy, and I felt like I never ran before and got a sense of doubt whenever the thought of running came to my mind. It was a strange feeling as I only stopped running for two weeks.
Monday morning, Labor Day vacation, I wasn’t completely cured but I needed to break the status quo, so I took my shoes off for a quick run. I ran an easy six k, didn’t feel strong but I managed to finish comfortably.
The following Friday I had a plan, I wanted to run to Al Moez Street, drink sugar cane juice and come back. I didn’t know exactly the distance, but I knew its more than 10k.
I started around 8 am, a little bit late for a summer run as the sunrise is 5 am, besides the increasing traffic. Crossed Qasr El Nile bridge through Tahrir and Opera and Ataba Square then through Al Azhar street.
It’s remarkable seeing the Egyptians daily life on the streets while running. People were going to their work on Friday, some having breakfast on the foul street cars, sellers in their shops waiting for customers, families going to Al Hussein Mosque while tourists were going to Khan Al-Khalili marketplace.
Imagine this scenery with me running in my phosphoric green shirt and listening to Drake and The Weeknd while cruising through the cars and walking crowds. You have to embrace the contrast and lose yourself to the rich experience.
I stopped for a pit stop at a juice shop, asked for a sugar cane juice and took another small size one after finishing the first large glass. I walked for five minutes in Al Azhar street in order not to be nauseated and later on took some selfies.
After running 7k for a one-way leg it seems obvious that my run would easily pass the 10k barrier I had in my mind post the half marathon race.
Then I thought again, it has never been a physical barrier it was always a mental one. Anything is life will be most of the times only limited by your mental state and your lack of creativity and imagination.
If you can see it in your mind, you can achieve with hard work and planning. Sometimes you will not reach your destination or goal, but at least you will realize a big part of it and in worse case scenarios you or on the way of reaching it. Dying trying is better than sitting and crying.
It’s Not Just About Running: Reflections on Life and Change in Egypt by A. I. Shoukry. A memoir about running and self-discovery.