Running. And Stopping to Build.

Frances Khalastchi
4 min readAug 13

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I first tracked a run in Kentish Town on Thursday November 29th 2012 aged 31… exactly 5 years BEFORE having my first son. I write this 5 years AFTER having him.

I ran 5.87 km in 30 mins 12 seconds.

Since then, I’ve tracked 642 runs over those 5 years “BM” and 5 years “AM”.

I’ve run a half marathon and completed a Tough Mudder.

I have run 10k in 50:20 (28/7/13) and 5k in 23:27 (03/04/22).

My average running paces per year since having carried two big babies (9lb,4oz and 9lb,1oz) and having two C sections are:

2023: 5:35 min/km

2022: 5:14

2021: 6:13

2020: 6:29

2019: 7:22

I’ve tracked 2,162km

In 2022 I ran for 20 hours, 24 mins and 20 seconds.

None of this includes running on a treadmill three times a week for half an hour at Barry’s Bootcamp. I’ve completed 203 Barry’s classes now since my first class on 2nd December 2014.

My running “home” is London (I have a second running home in Brighton), but I’ve run all over the world.

I especially love running up mountains.

And I’ve come to understand it as a very metaphorical pastime or “story” for me.

I’ve really had to scrutinize why I run. What am I running from or to? Why do I compete with myself? Why do I listen to banging (trashy) house music while I run?

Why do I like a bit of pain? Why do I like the cold? Because I was born in Winter?

How connected am I with my body and how has this changed since being cut open three times? (I had a ruptured appendix on my 16th birthday) and cut out of my own mother.

As I write this post from my bed on a Sunday morning, my three year old asks me if he can please go back “into my precious tummy”, by which he means under the duvet.

Why do I need to be alone when I run?

Susan Payton puts it like this:

“Unpacking your stories will give you a ton of of clarity and a deeper understanding of your own motivations… you’ll discover that between your personal story and your business stories lies your why: the reason you do what you do.”

I find that psychotherapy helps with this too.

How many times have you stood in nature, overlooking a vista of sublime beauty?

Do you feel small? Is there a mortality check of a moment? Do you feel inspired?

Dr. Diana Theodore, the director of Theatre 4 Business, reminds us in her introduction to Susan Payton’s great book, The Business of Stories, that in the film Field of Dreams, “the hero, a farmer in the American Midwest played by Kevin Costner, follows the call of an inner voice saying ‘Build it and they will come’. He builds a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield.”

I won’t insult you by now explaining the significance of this to you and your business.

​But something I will speak to is the unconsciousness of how your experiences become signals … stories… for YOU to listen to as well as for others to hear.

When I run there is The Solitude. The Space. The singular direction. The arriving. The scenery… the context. How (even smaller!) I feel. The perspective. The change from my everyday life.

​Running, climbing, new vistas, make sure that no day is Groundhog Day.

And yet also I don’t want to run forever.

Why does “grounding”, building and just “sitting with” also work as well as running? Because it’s about commitment. Clarity. Confidence. Other people. Community. Another pain.

There is nothing like building a new structure (or business) in a landscape that has never had something like what you’re building on it before. And it’s about footprints.

We are very concerned with our environmental/economic/literal footprints now. Putting a foot wrong. Making tracks in the wrong direction. Causing havoc to nature. Concerned with our legacy. What will the children say? Maintainance.

The balance is between being still and moving. Building and running.

Both have their benefits.

Shall we unpack?

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Frances Khalastchi

Co-Founder at Better Bolder Braver — Marketing training and support that empowers coaches.