After months of dithering I finally re re restart running. Its an amazing thing running. Its called a democratic sport. Have feet, will run. A slow jog, an energetic trot or a full sprint, it doesn’t matter and neither do the reasons.
There came a time a few years ago when I got it into my head that I needed to get fit. I started swimming, I played various sports, I started going to the gym, I started yoga and I started running. I still play the occasional sport but slowly gave up the rest. I grew bored with the routine. But something, and I don’t know what, brings me back to running. Whenever I sense a thickening of the waist, whenever I feel the need to be left alone, whenever I feel the need to think, I feel like running.
In most cultures, running is primarily viewed as a way to attain that perfect shape. Lardballs feeding at burger joints and a million other insufferable places view it as a great way to become a “stud”. And why not? But to many other people running is more than that. Its about spirituality. Its about feeling one with nature, feeling one with the wind, the grass (ok maybe concrete), the earth and with oneself.
So I put on my shoes, do a few stretches and set out. I pick a destination which I can cover in 15 minutes or so. And I am off. The first few minutes feel great. The weather is perfect, cloudy with no rain. I reflect on various aspects of my life and people around me. My thoughts go to an advertisement featuring Thierry Henry in which he is running alone, just like I am and it feels cool. Just for the first few minutes.
Then the pain starts. It begins just below my ribcage and spreads to my calves and heels. I huff and puff like the steam engine to Matheran struggling up the slope. I check my watch and see that not even 9 minutes have elapsed. Its the inertia of the previous sedentary months I suppose. A voice keeps telling me “Dude 9 minutes are enough for the first day. Just stop. Tomorrow you can do more.” But I refuse to listen. The destination is only 6 minutes away. All thoughts vanish from my head and only the white line, which would mean I have arrived, fills my eyes.
I labour on gamely despite 75 kilos of Rohit dragging me back. 12 minutes. So very close and I put on an extra burst of pace hoping it will help me forget the pain. The adrenaline surges as I stagger on. I know I can do it……….. 14 minutes………. I see the line. I have timed this run to perfection. As the seconds count down and the line approaches ever so close, I feel a sense of relief.
As I cross the line and slow down to a walk to prevent my muscles from seizing, my breathing begins to slow. The pain lessens. But my heart soars high. Higher than the clouds that obscure the sun. It is a feeling like no other. The sweet smell of success is intoxicating and makes me forget everything else. As I walk back, the sky darkens and it begins to drizzle. Rain falls on the thirsty earth triggering that sweet smell and drenching everything.
I walk home through the downpour a proud man.