Changing your perspective is both challenging and rejuvenating, as BRO Athlete Team runner Maria Bocanegra learns during the Mountain Junkies’ Explore Your Limits 5K.Goal setting can be a scary thing. The line between success and failure strives so hard to be black and white. At the end of the day you either did, or you did not. There are a lot of pretty and motivational sayings that implore us to focus on the journey or the process. There is immense value in this, and as a reflective individual I do find this effective and important. This type of focus is especially true with running since there are so many factors that go into any one race or training run. Some of these factors are easy to control, or at least they should be. For instance, last July 5th I ran a road 5K and suffered the consequences of one too many Parkway Get Bent IPAs during 4th of July festivities, and too few hours of sleep having traveled back from Costa Rica with two toddlers a mere 36 hours before the race. No, I couldn’t control the sweltering heat, but I could’ve controlled the head pounding and nausea. From what I could tell, I was not alone in this, though I doubt the top runners were suffering the same fate. I took the 4th place overall female, finished happily, quaffed some post race brews (it was a pub run), and chalked up my less-than-stellar time to the factors that I couldn’t control and also to the ones that I should have, but didn’t. The thing is, I went into that race with very few expectations besides having a fun date run with the husband.When I really focus and train, I have a harder time letting go of the end result in this way. As a competitive runner, when I have set goals, the journey or process can easily take a backseat to the outcome of the race, especially on race day. Suddenly, it is secondary, simply the thing that got me to the place I want to be. And if I don’t arrive across that finish line in the way I had planned, then it’s even harder for me to give the process and training its due respect.A high level of focus and training is renewed terrain for me at this point in my running career. My children are now (almost) 2 and 4, and my body finally feels back to normal in racing terms. I feel like my strength, speed, and possibility for a normal night’s sleep are at long last on the upswing (hallelujah). I raced and ran through both of my pregnancies, but the year or so post partum, each time was a long, uphill struggle to get back to equal footing with my pre-baby running self. I’ve been pumped about where I am with my post-baby fitness, and started the year off well with a 3rd place finish in a competitive trail 10K early in January. I love speed races, and after pouring over the past few years’ race results for the Mountain Junkies’ Explore Your Limits 5K (the next in the Mountain Junkies non-Ultra series), I set the goal of crushing that course and the competition. As a trail runner, I have the secret weapon of being a speedy 5K road racer, and a strong hill runner. 5Ks are few and far between in the trail running world, so this was my big chance to stand atop the tallest of the podium steps. It was also a strategic move since I assumed (correctly) that most of the other fast women in the field would be running the longer 10K. Muahahaha, victory would be mine without a doubt! Clearly I spent significant time and energy thinking about this goal and the hoped-for end result.And then…. life happened. I’ve noticed this more acutely as I’ve gotten older and had children. My husband has been traveling more for work, so my training has taken a hit as I’ve struggled to balance it with work and the kids (who will always be the top priority). Snow and ice buried my normal running routes (no gym and no treadmill), and even though I made it out 4-5 times per week, the miles were fewer and slower. Our youngest got the flu a couple days before the race, which meant little sleep for mommy and more stress. Then I felt the achiness of whatever virus he had working its way through my body the day before the race, though I tried to ignore it as best as possible. Fast forward to race day, and on top of all that, we are met with icy paths and 10 inches of crunchy snow on most of the course. The gun went off when temperatures were in the teens, and I tried to take off fast. I watched the young lady that would take first place pass me shortly after the start, and a part of me knew that I had lost the race already, in the first 400 meters. I was too cautious on the icy road that covered the first part of the race, and the effort required to race in those conditions (when my body was already screaming at me for dragging it out of bed into the cold to run when it was trying desperately to fend off the flu) was too much. Everyone struggled, and all the times were slow. I placed second, with the slowest 5K race time in my running history (undoubtedly true for most everyone on that course). Reading back over what I just wrote, a twinge of pride eases into my mind as I recount what I put myself through on this journey that is so familiar to those of us that hold dear the runner identity. But man, I’m not going to lie — it hurt to take that 2nd place trophy.I have found that goals, even unmet ones, can beget new goals. Simply saying those words proves that I am capable of the type of reflection that honors the process. Maybe, there is hope for me yet. A new goal for my next race is to not let the disappointment and challenges of this past race mentally defeat me. I’ll rest, spring will start showing it’s face, and I’ll run with guts next time. Most importantly, I’ll try harder to appreciate life happening in all of its forms. I will keep setting goals, and I will be okay with feeling disappointed when things don’t go as planned. It’s the only way we get better. And lest we forget the camaraderie that goes along with competition, my hat’s off to all of my fellow hardcore winter runners out there. You all make the process a lot more fun.– You can follow along Maria Bocanegra and the other B.R.O. Athlete Team members here.
By Dr Shahid Qureshi -: London best pest control Only a strong and prosperous Pakistan can have a good relationship with the USA keeping in view the statement by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger: “It is irrelevant if USA punishes its enemies or not but if definitely punishes its friends”.Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan is going to visit US on 20th July 2019 as an official guest. He is scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump and I am hoping Pakistan Foreign Ministry and others would ‘brief him well’ with all the facts and figures as how much aid US has given and arrived in Pakistan and what were the losses Pakistan suffered as a result of US war on terror in Afghanistan. Pakistan need to have foreign policy with ‘strategic balance’ i.e. its relationship with China, Russia, EU and Muslim World. The US-Iran ‘micky mouse’ drama going on in the region is directed somewhere else.Few years ago, I said in BBC News program with Bill Daley, White House Chief of Staff with President Obama: “US is like Hedgehog it hurts even when it wants to be nice to you”. US gave Pakistan US$ 22 billion in over 65 years in aid but spending over US$28 billion in Afghanistan every month to catch 150 Al-Qaida suspects.The US aid to Pakistan has proven to be a ‘rip off and fraud’ by financial terrorists of Wall Street. System of neo-colonization was designed to occupy countries remotely by installing a political ‘puppet’ and hiring the whole army by ‘installing and/or buying a General without physically present in the country. Once that happen an army of civil servants is ready to serve the masters by pushing the self-harming policies and anti-state measures.As Chinese says, “fish starts rotten from the head”. So, the delivery boys and girls with foreign passports and Green Cards shoot down any constructive measure goes on in Pakistan otherwise how is it possible that all the agreements and contracts goes in favour of the foreigners USA and others from SEATO and SENTO defence pacts to dealings in so called ‘war on terror’, that damaged Pakistan over US$ 170 billion from 2001 – 2018.The elite of Pakistan’s national interests are linked with their personal wealth hidden abroad than people living in Pakistan. There is no doubt that US has caused more than $170 billion losses to Pakistan since 2001. On the other hand, only aided/lend or both $22.87 billion from 1950 to 2010. Most part of that aid never arrived in Pakistan as it was paid to US defence and military industrial complexes back in the USA. This rip off could only be possible if people mentioned above have prostituted themselves for personal interests.Breakdown of US aid as reported: total US Aid: $22.87 billion in 64 years & losses to Pakistan: $170 billion1950-1964 2.5bn economic and 500 m military aid1965-1979 2.55 billion economic and 26 million military1980-1990 5 billion military and economic aid1991-2000 429 million economic and $5.2 million military2001-2009 3.6 billion economic and 9 billion military2009-2015 7.5 billion approved under Kerry Lugar Bill aid mostly non-military ($1.5 billion per year)Almost all the regimes of Pakistan have been prostituting with the enemies by ‘deliberately harming’ the state of Pakistan and following IMF agenda e.g. gas and electric shortages to destroy the industrial infrastructure, Railways and Pakistan Steel. They have ignored the risks and challenges concerning the US lead military occupation of Afghanistan and drone attacks on Pakistan. Pakistan has suffered approximately $170 billion economic, human losses, structural damages to roads and bridges deployed more than 147,800 troops conducting combat operations in the tribal areas along the Afghan border. The Pakistan armed forces have lost soldiers, security personals and citizens.See Program link: Dr Shahid Qureshi on BBC Program with Bill Daley White House Chief of Staff discussion on Military Aid to Pakistan. Sometimes international hostile states share their assets for multiple use. The Indo-US alliance in Afghanistan shared their assets in Pakistan from politician, to civil servants to military as well as elite of the country. It became so bad that Majeed Nizami editor of the Nawa-e-waqat a closest ally of Nawaz Sharif had to remark that they used to regard Benazir Bhutto as a ‘security risk’, it seemed Nawaz Sharif was a greater security risk. He was indeed the worst thing that had happened to Pakistan since independence. Whether it was money, morals or security, the nation found it difficult to trust him.Nawaz Sharif is in jail now and game he wanted to play was to get release RAW agent Kulbhushan Jadave has turned into Pakistan’s favour after the ICJ’s judgement on 17th July 2019. Sharif took the case to ICJ for Pakistan to lose but tables were turned by the loyalist and patriotic forces in Pakistan. I have written four days before the ICJ judgment that’ Pakistan is going to win was not an emotional reaction but on the basis of evidence presented to the court by the Pakistan so overwhelming that now Pakistan should file a case against India and RAW to be declared as terrorist state and terrorist rouge organisation in the same ICJ (International Court of Justice).Pakistan has high chances of winning the RAW agent Kulbhushan Jahdav case at the ICJ (International Court of Justice)It is this selfish and opportunist behaviour that made these leaders make decisions against the interests of Pakistani state? Take the example of US aid to Pakistan and kind of work these people agree to do in return. More recently angry and sarcastic attitude of Nawaz Sharif against the military is deplorable, when thousands of soldiers have lost their lives while his sons and nephews are doing multi-million-dollar businesses abroad. Pakistani politicians including Nawaz Sharif can only have moral high ground on others.On the other hand, United States has 220 million reasons to worry about Pakistan which are more dangerous than the nuclear arsenal and that is young and resilient population. A secret intelligence assessment prepared by the CIA in February 1984 – ‘Middle East – South Asia: “Population Problems and Political Stability’- worried about age structures in societies with high fertility. Noting that as many as one-third of regional population is in the “political volatile 15 to 24 age group, ‘the document which was partially declassified in 1986, warned that young people are ‘ready recruits for opposition causes’, including Islamic nationalism, ‘which currently offers the principal ideological haven for Muslim youth”.According to political experts the growth in population is a distinct advantage in the modern world. Geoffrey McNicoll of the population council explained in a November 1985 conference on global population trends at Stanford University – California that, ‘population weight conveys power or voice in world affairs.Similarly, late Ray S. Cline former Deputy Director of Intelligence at CIA said in a book, “The Power of the Nations in the 1990s”, ‘that a large territory accompanied by a large population, almost automatically confers the status of power on a nation.’ But political analysis, he added, ‘generally gives little more importance to people than to territory, since populous countries of an adequate size can exploit economic resources, mobilize armies, and bring their influence on others’.Pakistan has around 2.5 million Afghan refugees living for the past 30 years, created by the US war against the Soviets in 1979. Around 2 million Pakistanis are displaced or become homeless due to the so-called USA ’s war on terror within FATA and Swat.It is quite evident that US actions has caused Pakistan losses of around $35 – $40 billion in past 8 years and increasing. This displacement of the population is not meaningless but would have far reaching affects. No one knows which Taliban to deal with CIA’s Taliban, RAW’s Taliban, MOSSAD’s Taliban, Russian FSB’s Taliban or ISI’s Taliban? Surely responsibility lies on national security agencies to clear the mess both inside and outside?I said in BBC News program mentioned above with Bill Daley, White House Chief of Staff with President Obama: “US is like Hedgehog it hurts event it wants to be nice to you”.It would be appropriate to release the above-mentioned facts about US-Pakistan relations and aid in media as well as in the diplomatic circles and think tanks before the arrival of the Prime Minister Imran Khan in Washington.Finally, those who don’t like my writings and face the truth, for them in the words of Clark Gable, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”. (Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior analyst with BBC and chief editor of The London Post. He writes on security, terrorism and foreign policy. He also appears as analyst on Al-Jazeera, Press TV, MBC, Kazak TV (Kazakhstan), LBC Radio London. He was also international election observer for Azerbaijan April 2018, Kazakhstan 2015 and 2016, 2019 and Pakistan 2002. He has written a famous book “War on Terror and Siege of Pakistan” published in 2009. At Government College Lahore he wrote his MA thesis on ‘Political Thought of Imam Khomeini’ and visited Tehran University. He is PhD in ‘Political Psychology’ and studied Law at a British University. He also speaks at Cambridge University. He is a visiting Professor at Hebe University in China.)Views expressed are not of The London Post.