Yes, I weigh a few extra kilos. Yes I am still single. Yes, I run. When people come to know that I run, and run regularly, the conclusion that is most frequently reached is that I am trying very hard to shed the flab so that I can enter the hallowed institution of matrimony! Some are forthcoming enough to blurt this out. Some say it in a round about manner in not so many words. Some have that naughty twinkle in their eye! I have now learnt to smile at this thought process and almost see humor.
I have been running regularly for the past two years. I have lost quite a few kilos. And it feels excellent to be in a better shape. And the idea of marriage is not altogether appalling. I may even like it. But this instantaneous derivation is not only factually incorrect but it reveals that many people fail to grasp the immense positive influence that running is capable of having on one’s life.
I began running at the time when life had thrown quite a few back-to-back rough seasons at me. Running has been a companion as I have come to see better days. To attribute this turn of tide wholly to Running would be rather dramatic and incorrect but yes, it has had a definitive influence.
There are some obvious advantages that running offers, and then there are the subtle ones, which may not fuel one’s vanity but may add to one’s substance!
Positivity and sense of accomplishment
When I ran the first time, i could hardly run 200m. I was gasping for breath; it felt that my knees would crumble. I could hardly take another step. The day I ran 400m, the high lasted for a few days! Can you imagine the feeling, the sense of accomplishment that I had when I (still visibly overweight) ran my first 5 km, on the picturesque bank of Nervion estuary opposite theGuggenheimMuseuminBilbao,Spain?
Energy and confidence
The increase in physical stamina fills one’s days with more energy. The success on the running track adds to the confidence. I have found that these two attributes have enabled me to take on more challenging assignments on the work place and there has been an overall improvement in the decision making than before.
Strengthening one’s will
There are always forces standing in opposition to one’s desire to run, and run long distance. Sometimes it’s the weather! Sometimes the lack of energy after a tough day at work! Sometimes you just don’t feel like it! Then there are days when there is a cricket match! (Such days have alarmingly increased in number). And there are countless other reasons. So running is almost always a test of one’s will to run. To develop stamina to run long distance, such will has to be displayed on not just one or two days but over a considerable period of time.
Then there is the thought process when one is actually running! The way mind rationalizes and thinks of excuses for not running the extra lap! Yes, the knee aches! Yes, you are breathless! But it’s that elusive distance one has set one’s mind on! So, endure!! Again, this is not a one time occurrence, but happens repeatedly as one tries to push for longer and longer distances. This longer distance can be a mere 200m or can be several kilometers, but one must endure to make the distance!
But, after several months of ‘endurance enhancement regime’ when one sits back and reflects, one finds that there are so many things in life which test once endurance. Whether it’s the work life or relationships often the best course of action is to willingly endure!
Commitment to a cause
Long Distance running demands long term commitment. Goals are met long term, short term, it’s riddled with pain and difficulties. For me, a ‘Couch Potato’ who loves food, the going is even tougher. It meant giving up ‘Zafrani Kesar Pista’ Ice Cream, cakes, chocolates and the likes, cutting down on the watching the ‘Men in Blue’ (The Indian Cricket team and the Chelsea FC) and as a reward what I got was the pain in knees and the delight of finishing that long distance that I was almost sure I would never make it.
There are many more things that I want to write about. But I guess that would be done in another post.
So over the last two years, running has been a valued addition to the lifestyle. I have still not participated in any racing event. I have still not shed all the extra kilos, I am still in the ‘wretched’ state of bachelorhood but I have enjoyed long distance running every bit.
So whether you are thin or ‘well fed’, happily married or ‘still looking’ I would suggest get a pair of running shoes and Run!
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