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The Psychology of Running


I stepped into the dreaded zone of diabetes, close to one year back. That placed a seal of educated declaration on what I always believed in - that is, I am a basically, a sweet person. It was heavy and dreadful with research on the internet and scary taglines screaming - silent killer.
 
The struggle began with some medicine and then some gym. Eventually, as with everything else the dread faded away and so did the exercise. Lack of time, irregular work hours, travel, moodiness- I was having a quiver full of arrows in terms of excuses. Eventually, slowly and slowly I drifted in to danger zone.
Then almost on a whim, I went out and bought out an expensive pair of shoes. I began running. No gyms, no machines, out in the wild. It was a different world. The initial pain slowly became fun. It was my way of testing myself and surprising myself. The great thing about running is that it suited my temperament. It is a solitary exercise. You do not need a trainer to make a run, to tell you how to do it the right way. All you need is a pair of shoes.
 
That is the great fun part of running, it has least dependency on the external world. Then, half-mile by another half-mile, I took to running. The run always began with great deal of dithering, and then you promise yourself another mile, and then another. The rhythm of the steps clears off the tense thoughts and slowly the sky is  clear. Slowly, it doesn't  matter that you are loved so little or so much, nor does it matter that no one understands you. Nothing matters except the run. There is something soul-cleansing and divine in the drop of sweat which runs from the back of your neck as you cross the first mile. You are cleansed and pure soul. The body and soul are one for a while and you bask in this oneness.
 
I run in the park nearby, which is an amalgamation of three different landscapes. One is the manicured district park with picnicking crowds, Other a large lake with some historic ruins on the other end, and yet another is the deep, shadowy run in slumbering woods with cozy couples and feisty fawns. Against the boring environs of treadmills, running in open gives you a lot of choices. You change the track, elevation and scenery as you might want to. The perspective of life changes with each vantage point. That is the fun of running in the open space. Another advantage, I found when I was on vacation recently in the hinterlands of Amarkantak where I ran in the forest along a brook, relishing the greens without the worry about equipment or space.
 
Slowly the thoughts space out and mind is busy watching the birds, the people, the changing hues of the skies. Then there is ample opportunity to do body weight exercises in the open park. Towards the close of the run, I find a tree and do pull-ups. Then drop on the ground to do some push ups. Life is unpredictable and we know not what will happen next. But when I run, I feel I am in control and I will someday run with my daughter when she is sixteen without embarrassing her. I am not afraid of dying, I never was. I however, do not want to decay into death. I want to walk into the sunset. No man can wish for eternal life. We at best, can wish for an easy death, easy and quick. That is what a good health can assure us. To quote Haruki Murakami from "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running"
 
"Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest...Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits, that is the essence of running and a metaphor for life."
 
I have been meaning to write this post advocating running since the time I took to it, but never thought I could qualify to write. However, now slowly, with difficulty having crossed 4.55 Miles, I feel, I have some moral right to write this. My advise:
 
1. Get the right kind of shoes and clothes to begin. Having spent some money will bring some seriousness to it.
 
2. Don't wait to get into shape to begin running. It will happen. Don't underestimate your body. It will surprise you. It is not about overcoming your physical limitation. It is more about overcoming your mental limitations.
 
3. Don't wait for the right state of mind to begin running. Mind will fall in line. The thuds of running feel will settle all the noises in the mind to silence.

PS: I am trying to breach 5 Miles barrier, and while away from any medicines, feel I am not that wseet anymore.
 

Comments

Saket Suryesh said…
Thanks for the comment, sir. Planning to run? Did 5.1 miles today.

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