I detested any form of exercise since my childhood. As I a child I had been an avid follower of sports and played a few of them including Cricket, Badminton, Volleyball to name a few. However when it came to standalone exercises I always managed to find an excuse to avoid the same. This attitude did continue as I grew up and as a result of this lackadiasical attitude I had put on some weight as I got into a sedentary job. Like every other honest soul I made several new year resolutions to change the same – but later I accepted that these resolutions are kind of shortcomings one has to accept and live with. It wasn’t like I never tried to do something. I did make few other tries – to register myself ever year for a 5.6 KM marathon only to take the free runners T-Shirt because I never really ran in the event. I have no qualms in accepting that though I was ashamed a bit every time I wore the same.
Then came the month of June 2014 and something changed then. Suddenly my inner self woke up to the fact something is not right and I got to do something about it. I allowed myself to give it a try this time by going one level higher. Apart from registration I decided to run a few 100 metres daily to see if I can cope up and observe my capacity.
2nd June 2014
I still remember the date it was 2nd June 2014 – I tried my first run. One lap in the par nearby was around 1.5 kms. I ran the first lap with lots of motivation only to feel exhausted at the end of the lap. But then I looked up my timings. I had taken around 6.2 minutes to run the 1st kilometre. The first thought was “not bad, huh”. Lets try another one to see if I can manage. Then I finished the half of the second lap with full adrenaline only to stroll in the second half. Somehow I managed to finish that lap as well. The time showed 3 kms in 20.41 minutes. By then I had enough of it and decided to take the next exit towards home. However on the way back I thought rather than walking why not just run but at a lesser speed. I did that and the result was 4.94 kms in 36 minutes. It was an incredible result considering the first day.
On that day before sleeping I thought to myself, was there some kind of a miracle today ? Or really I am fit enough to cover that much distance on the first day. However the paining legs were telling an entirely different story.
3rd June 2014
The next day morning still I couldn’t get over it (had still paining legs though :-)). I went to office that day and whilst coming back I thought of giving it an another try just to confirm if that was just not by fluke. This time I could not have allowed myself to settle for anything less than what I did yesterday. But then I was scared not to injure myself. Hence I decided to go for a couple of laps again. This time 2 laps took around 20:34 minutes (1 lap = 1.5 kms approx.) It was the time to take the exit route once again. But somehow I pushed myself to go for a 3rd one thinking that if I don’t feel like going I will abort. I had already achieved my target of 2 laps and anything above that was going to be a bonus. At the end it was 5.06 kms in approximately the same time as yesterday 36:10 minutes. It confirmed that it was not a fluke but there is some truth in it.
Every alternate day
That day I thought lets try the same for another week and run every alternate day. This was at least to keep the motivation going until the Marathon day. Then every alternate day I would test myself to see if I can manage same/better than the previous day.
11th June 2014
This was marathon day – and a weeks’ practice had bore some results wherein I ran 5.6 kms in 37:06 minutes. I still remember how delighted I was as I had never imagined myself a couple of weeks before running even a kilometre.
The assessment day
After a couple days of getting over the feeling of super achievement it was back to reality. Still the puzzle how could I do it remained unresolved. I had to understand this. I had continue this practise as well – this time as I was afraid of going back to my old habits. That day I completed my 3 laps as usual but rather than going home I pushed myself for another one. I had decided to take the exit route after that. The 4th lap was really tiring however I kept going thinking that it was the last one and anyhow that’s my bonus lap. As I came near the exit point I decided to go for some more distance and take another exit. So I ran another half kilometre. Again as I neared the other exit, I thought why not to complete this one as well, anyhow I had achieved my target for the day – hence the 5th lap. At the end I was really exhausted and didn’t have the energy to walk home. So I decided to lie on the green portion of the park around half a kilmotere away. By the time I reached there I had covered around 8 kms. in approximately 55 minutes.
The self realisation
While lying down there as I looked up in the sky I thought – “Wow that was something !!” A couple of minutes later I realised that my most productive time was after the 3rd lap. First 3 laps were obligatory for me and later on everything was a bonus. Vola !! I had resolved the entire puzzle !! I realised that all the laps I ran after the 3rd one – I was thinking of them as Bonus Laps. So there wasn’t really any pressure or obligation on me to finish something. I had a small target to start with (of 3 laps) and once that was reached, I had further smaller targets each time – 1 more lap each time. This way essentially (and unknowingly) I had broken down a large work of running 8 kms into smaller chunks which I could digest at a time. I understood that as a result I was never overwhelmed by the bigger milestone and took a sense of accomplishment at every smaller step towards it.
Hence in the end it was not really a miracle or something to do about physical capacity but it was more of a mental tenacity. It was all about how long I can stretch myself before I hit a mental block.
Isn’t it analogous to a real life scenario wherein break and make approach works? That day I learnt a lesson of life – The Key is to remove the Mental Blockage before physically attempting something deemed as un-attainable. Using the same logic until now, I have been able to motivate myself to keep continuing my runs (even in inclement weather). And I am proud to mention that within first 6 months I could hit 10 kms consistently.
I still thank myself for having the (Bonus ;-) ) thought on that day to go for a Bonus Lap – as it completely changed my perspective to look at things, typically considered as unachievable.
In real sense I had run my first RUN of life.
After all – Its All Mind Game – isn’t it ?