My dad made me run 1200 kilometers

A few years ago I'd run a few kilometers a week. This year I am running 100 a month. It's a challenge I have decided to do after my father was in an accident. He made me realize that I am able to do a whole lot more than I thought I was. 

I always enjoyed running. Mostly to get some workout, but about 2 years ago I started running in a more serious manner.

It was in a period with way too much work. I felt extremely pressured to constantly deliver fast results in order to keep up with our goals. Since our business was completely financed by our customers during this period, the economic pressure combined with keeping the organization floating, while at the same time developing our crowdsourcing platform (as the only developer in the team) was very stressful.

But I started to notice that I felt a lot better when I had been out for a run.

Running gave me time to vent my thoughts and when my body had been in motion, the pressure wasn’t as suffocating. I wasn’t running very far back then, my longest round was around 5 kilometers.

Then something very unexpected and terrible happened. 

My dad was in an accident. He fell down from the second floor on a construction site, straight down on the unfinished ground level floor. Actually, there wasn’t even any floor, only joists. He broke nearly all of his ribs, raptured his nose and cheekbone, and he had a massive brain bleed. It was just any ordinary day when I got the call from a panicked colleague of his.

I dropped everything and ran to my car that was parked only 500 meters away from my office. I was out of breath, my fitness was a disaster. I drove to the construction site as fast as I could.

The ambulance had already arrived and there was my dad, 76 years old, lying beaten and almost unconscious. He was brought to the hospital. But since Covid-19 has just started to ravage, I wasn’t allowed to visit at all.

On my way back to Gothenburg, I had my dad's phone next to me. The pressure had already gotten 10x worse and the phone kept ringing. Until now he had been managing all properties in our family-owned property business. Now I was the only one who could cover for him. I had another full time job.

…and I was already working 12 hours a day with DoubleCloud. 

I started out by making plans for upcoming management, and delegating as much as I possibly could. But it would take time to get everything in order. At the same time a voice inside me was screaming that I needed to get out.

The day after my dad's accident I put my running shoes on and ran out into the forest. It was cold, but the wind and the swaying trees brought a calm and slowly I could find my focus again.

A couple of days later I went out again. This time I felt like I needed the forest for a longer time so I ran a new distance. I had no idea how long it would be, I just ran.

After about 6 kilometers my body started screaming “Hello! This hurts, what are you even doing?” but I just kept going. 

After 9 kilometers it was even louder “Have you completely lost your mind?!”

But all I could give my body as an answer was “This can’t ever hurt more than what my dad is feeling right now.” and then I asked myself “Am I going to break?” and quickly realized that I wouldn't. 

So I kept going a little more, a little more, while my body kept cursing.

It turned out the distance was only 11,6 kilometers and my body was really not doing well afterwards, but it showed me that I can do much more than I think is possible.

A few days of recovery got me back on the same distance again, and quickly 11 kilometers became my new normal.

The body and the mind adapted and it didn’t hurt anymore.

About a week after the accident my dad was a lot better and could go home. When he did I realized something else. Regardless of his situation he never ever complained about the pain. Even when I asked him about it, he said he was fine. 

“Is he actually superman or is it just me and everyone else that is up to unnecessary complaining?” I thought to myself.

Either way, I kept running once a week. 

It became December 2020 and one day I was on my coach, scrolling through the Garmin app. There were running challenges, one of them was running 500 kilometers in 90 days, starting 1:st of January. I felt pretty fit, so without thinking twice I accepted it.

When I started to break the challenge down, I realized I’d have to run a marathon a week to make it. At this point, I was running 10 kilometers a week on average. “Well, 4x now, that’s doable” I thought. 

But missed out on the small detail of slowly stepping up, in order for the body to recover.

I started running 10 kilometers 4 times a week and my body broke. I got a runner's knee and muscle injuries. But I reminded myself of those first runs and kept going. At week 3 and 4 I was limping the first 500 meters before my body got warm, and felt pain the first kilometers until it stopped.

It was like my body realized I wouldn’t stop and the protests got quiet. 

Above everything I realized that, besides getting fit, running was an amazing time for education, which I wouldn’t give myself otherwise. When running, I listened to loads of books on Audible and got some of the most innovative ideas I ever had. I learned to stop and take notes. It’s crazy how much you can learn when on a run. 

I ran 500 kilometers in 90 days, made the challenge and treated myself with a pause. But quickly I started longing back into nature, cold, wind and a new challenge.

It became December 2022 and once again I was on my coach, scrolling the Garmin app. Funny enough, there was a challenge. Run 1200 kilometers in 12 months, starting 1:st of January. Without thinking twice I accepted the challenge. Again. 

The challenge this time wasn’t the distance, it was the discipline to keep going for an entire year. 300 kilometers quarterly. I headed straight into it. 

Running in the winter time has never been an issue for me. But summer time turned out to be. There were vacations, I got engaged and spent a lot of time on the golf course. When Q3 came around, I wasn’t in phase and had 90 kilometers left to run in 6 days. 

It felt impossible. 

But I didn’t cave in. With a little planning and simple math I realized I had to set aside 1,5 hours and run 15 kilometers a day. It still wasn’t a simple task, given that I work at least 10 hours daily and run multiple businesses. But it wasn’t impossible, and I did it. Thanks to planning my work and sleep. 

Today is October 13:th and I have been running 927 kilometers this year. I am planning to achieve my goal. 

My father is almost completely recovered and without knowing it himself, he has taught me a massive lesson in mental and physical endurance.

273 kilometers to go and looking forward to next year's challenge!

/ Dejan Spasenoski, CEO at DoubleCloud

Published: Oct 14, 2022