The Four Minute Mile: Setting AxSpa Goals

Last updated: July 2023

The four minute mile--many people know how the story goes. No one was able to run a sub 4-minute mile and it was deemed impossible, until one day somebody named Roger Bannister achieved a sub 4-minute mile. Since then, many others have completed this same milestone. Why am I writing about the 4 minute mile you might be asking? Well I believe it is a great lens to look at managing AS and what we can achieve despite this condition. Keep reading to learn why...

When I was first diagnosed with this condition and I went on the internet, I came across mostly very sad and scary stories of people's experience with this condition. I naively thought that this represented all people with AS and this made me feel very afraid and disempowered. I felt like that for years.

Finding inspiration

Then I met the first AS four minute miler, his name was Richie and he was a surfer who, despite living with AS and at time struggling with this condition was still surfing and skateboarding, this was so amazing because I too am a skateboarder and it gave me a lot of hope that overtime I would be able to skateboard again (I am back skateboarding now!)

Then I met, Geoff, who I have talked about before and who alongside me is the co-founder of Yoga for AS who at nearly 70 was able to cycle and be a kickass grandad and father, and had more flexibility than anyone I met at that age (not even with AS) and boom-there it was. Another 4 minute miler.

These are two examples and since then I have read hundreds of empowering and inspiring stories of those who have run their own 4 minute AS mile.

Setting goals

I set my intention to see what was possible for me and have not let anyone tell me I cannot run my own AS 4 minute mile. I am able to skateboard, snowboard and surf, lift weights, and have better flexibility than on the point of diagnosis and live a decent quality of life, despite AS, this took years to build up but I have there. I am not saying this has been easy and there are still challenges, but I truly believe if I had not woken up to the realization that I too could run a 4 minute AS mile I am not sure whether I would have had the inspiration and drive to learn how to recover a better quality of life.

This is not me saying that AS is going to be smooth sailing. It is me saying that we can live a good life despite AS, with patience, access to knowledge, tools and support. We can all too complete are own 4 minute mile whatever that means for us, whether that be to manage to get that PhD we dreamed of completing, hiking across Europe, or spend quality time with those we love. These are all examples of 4 minute miles.

In the context of AS is isn't about completing a huge physical feat, although it can be and I have seen many. It is about not letting AS define us, so on our deathbeds we can look back on our lives and know we gave it all we have and yes despite the challenges AS presents we ran our own 4 minute mile. What is yours?

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