Thursday, September 14, 2006

Run Forrest! Run!

I had quit my job, gone for a trek in the Himalayas, came back home – a visitor after almost 2 years. As my luck would have it I chanced upon an old school friend Jay. He had become an Army Lieutenant. I, a truant engineer. He needed some company for his early morning runs. I agreed almost immediately. The casualness of his offer subsequently vanished during the runs. On the first day I jogged 5km in 25 minutes. The distances stretched - 7, 8 10km - (with a concomitant improvement in time) and what had started as a filler became a whole routine. We would run, exercise and then hang around in chai shops for long. I had been doing fairly well until one day he decided to put me to test. It was a 20km python in which I was sure about getting stuck in the middle somewhere in the innards. And I was afraid I would spoil the reputation that I had so recently and so painstakingly built. Jay kept telling me: abbey, daaru, sutta ke baad bhi tu kaafi fit hai yaar.

But I ran. We shifted the time to evening since the summer sun blazed by 630 in the mornings. We walked till Deer Park and from there ran till the Annicut at Naraaj and back. We couldn’t complete the entire length (I was in a dilapidated state). And when I announced 16km at home rather agonisingly there was no jubilation. (and it was at that very moment I pledged to show them that I could run a marathon . . . not so melodramatic of course)

That evening Jay gave me some gyaan on running in particular: (1) It’s your hands as much as your legs which can exhaust you (2) It’s best to know your optimum speed and then stick to it faithfully.

And we talked - I having run out of thoughts to accompany me and he to give me food for thought. He said the clincher was boredom more than fatigue. You thought you were run down when in fact you had been just done in by the sameness. He said one should just run without thinking things or wondering about the route or even noting how much was left to cover. I thought that was a very unimaginative and mechanical way of doing something. But I ran.

I ran every day for about 2 weeks back home and then I continued by myself at NGV in Bangalore. Then I had to go home again and my ritual stopped for almost two months until last week when I heard about the Bangalore Marathon. Sometime after I had started I had promised myself I would run a full marathon but that needs some reckoning still. This time I’m making do with the half marathon i.e. 21km. I collected my chest number the other day and didn’t tick any cause for which I would run on the form. For the love of running if ever there was an option like that.

Yesterday I clocked 15 km in 86 min and there was still some pizzazz left. I felt good even though I was pushing myself after a long time. My target is 21km in 2h 10min.

My preparation has been punctuated with rather long breaks and too little conditioning. But come Sunday morning and I’ll forget. My legs will tell me they can carry me a few yards more, my heart will pump in excitement and my brain has already assured me (during the run only) it won’t meddle with other more important faculties.

The great philosopher Nike(as a sales pitch?) had once said:

"There are clubs you can't belong to, neighborhoods you can't live in, schools you can't get into, but the roads are always open."

Wish me luck!

P.S: The reporting time for the half marathon is 530 am instead of 430 am as has been printed on the handouts and website (in true Indian ishtyle). Better clarify before landing up in the dark at Kanteerava Stadium.


PritS said...

All the best.

Ruchika said...

Hey thats great that u'll be running the marathon! I've been thinking of joining the Hutch Marathon, but I think thats going to remain in my thoughts.. actually I remember the cross-country marathons I used to run in school, and I think I didnt like them.. so am going to stick to that idea for now..

Best of luck to u! Keep us posted on how it went!

satyajit said...

merci beaucoup!!