Every morning I wake up with stiffness in the body and it trying to convince the mind to take a break. What follows usually is a session of Green tea and spinning on my charkha for about an hour. Do not forget the moral support by Biscuit (my six year old Labrador pet!) who lies around sometimes dozing, but, sure as hell to claim his walk come rain or high waters. The action of the magic potion and the therapeutic effect of vajrasana on the thighs and the feet on one hand and mind waking up to the highs after the run invariably means that by the time I have given Biscuit his walk, more often than not, I am at the gates ready for the run. This Saturday, the body won and I slept. This was more than made up by two good days of run on the Sunday, a Full marathon, and today the usual 32K.
What I have experienced in the last few years of my running is that the physical aches and pains go away as a few kilometers are put in. I try to go at a very gentle pace and the speed is adjusted to the feeling inside. I have returned battered in body only in competitive runs where the atmosphere gets me and I try to run to beat the guy in front. All this was good as long as I was running alone at my own highway NH-218 back at Hubli. During my runs here in Chennai, while the company of runners gives me reasons to cheer, it also sometimes leads to my running beyond my natural pace at which competition sets in and observing the surrounding or talking to oneself ceases.
While running in Hubli, I first became aware of my body and after a while I was able to run at my natural speed. Since the traffic was very less on the highway and the drivers became friendly over time, I became aware of the nature around me. Finally, even the wondrous show the nature put up each day, only received my side glances. I was able to turn inward and experience the meditative state of running. I was at the stage of attempting to switch off my mind and body to be able to rest while on the run to really stretch the period of run. All this was possible as I kept to the same route each day. The entire sequence was like the hula loop dancer act with each stage being one more hula loop being added to the waist.
In my four odd months of running here, I had to start again to learn the road and cultivate friends on the way. I have not been able to reach the stage of observing nature as I still am not confident of the drivers I meet on the road. The breaks on the beach road and negotiating walkers means not proceeding beyond the first hula loop! This means even though a certain amount of run means a fix of feel good endorphins, I have not been able to proceed to the meditative benefits and this has been frustrating. The latest addition I have tried in the last few days is a being silent while running. This may be rude to my running partners, but, I hope it would enhance the experience. Added to that is the limitation of finishing the run before 9 AM to beat the traffic and the Sun. The stretch on the Sivananda Salai is the closest to the NH-218 feel I have been able to get. I think it’s time now for me to go for a long run with a group to re-ignite the Mojo! The virtual challenge ‘Run for Month’ started by Nagraj Balgi would have to do for the present!
I ran a four hour twenty minute full marathon on Sunday and a three hour seventeen minute 32K today. The experiment continues!