When I started running…

The many health benefits of running are known to both runners and non-runners. However, there are certain experiences that can be only noticed only when one starts to run. I have been running every morning for about six months now (barring the time when I have been injured), and it has benefited me in numerous ways. In addition to the obvious health benefits, running has introduced me to new perspectives. These are the perspectives I want to share –

  1. The world don’t matter

When I first started to run, I was very self-conscious about it. I would get the sense that people who were watching would judge me if i didn’t run in a certain acceptable way. But soon I began to enjoy running, and I loved doing my weekly 5 miles. On other days, a 3 mile run would suffice my appetite for running.  The more I ran, the more I loved it, and soon I was not self-conscious about whether people were looking or not. Nor did I feel obliged to run in certain style. I would sometimes take huge strides while running;other times, I would run just on my toes. Most importantly, I did not feel the need to run in the conventional style as long as I was running sincerely and honestly and doing my allocated miles for the day. At the end of the 5 mile run, I punched the air and then punched my chest (Djokovic style) in delight. It did not matter who was looking – I was having fun the right way, and that was what mattered.

This perspective was an eye opener and it brought about this mindful awareness. The important thing was to be sincere, have fun, and the rest didn’t matter. It also occurred to me then that:

  1.  People don’t have the time to sit there and watch what you’re doing. Everyone’s is just as busy in their own lives.
  2.  If people do make comments, feel privileged that they have time to look at you in their busy lives. You don’t need to oblige, or listen to every comment.

 

2. Every run is different from the previous

When I first started running back in November 2015, I could barely run 3 miles. I would be out of breath, and catching my breath would take time. The more I ran, the better my stamina became, and I was able to run 3 miles with ease. I soon started doing five miles every weekend, and again, to begin running five miles was tough. I was able to complete my first five mile on the first try, and since then have completed many more five miles. There was one stark discovery though – Every day, when I set off to run the five miles, I would have doubts.  I eventually have always finished the five miles I have started, but during every start, my mind has had doubts. I have come to know that every day is going to be different, and just because I have done the five miles previously, I can’t take it for granted. I have to motivate, re-motivate, and re-re-motivate myself during the runs. A small variable change – the wind, the temperature, the sleep I had, the shoe, the feel in the legs could very well change the entire pattern of the run. Every run, thus, becomes different from the previous.

The idea is to stay vigilant, to keep myself motivated, and just like the run, everything that you start is achievable.

  1. Life is a marathon, not a sprint

I know this is a cliché, “Life is marathon, not a sprint,” but it does hold true. When I first started running, my objective was to run a full marathon. Unfortunately, I have not been able to do that. I might have at least participated in at least one, but well, that number never ran. But as I do my five miles and sometimes close to six miles, it dawns to me how tough a full marathon would be.  The distance of an official full marathon is 26 miles which is at least four times more than I normally run. It takes me roughly around 50 to 55 minutes to do five miles, and if I ran at the same average pace, it would take me nearly 3.5 hours to complete a full marathon. This is if I can maintain the average pace, and we know the body tires, so taking that into account, it would take me around 4 hours or more of running to do a full marathon.  That just puts everything in perspective – running a marathon does not happen overnight. When I first started out saying I am going to run the marathon, I had no idea what I was talking about. But now that I run, and have experienced the effort that goes into running, I can understand the effort it takes to run a marathon.

A humongous task like running a marathon cannot be achieved overnight; it takes time. It takes training, eating right, and mental strength to achieve the distance. I have not run a marathon, but even with all the training that goes into it, when it comes to the real deal, many falter. Running a marathon in many ways does sound like what life is. You can be prepared for it, but yet, life brings about subtle variable change to always challenge you.

At the end of the day,this is the beauty of both life and a marathon – to be able to overcome and complete challenges one after another.

 

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Intensity beats extensity

My latest endeavor sees me trying to get in touch with various people, converse with them, and get a perspective of how they view life. These people that I try to get in touch with all made some sort of connection with me. They’ve either inspired me, motivated me, or just made me feel good about being a human.

Today, I got to meet one such amazing human. I had written to him few days back on his Facebook page, and he had agreed to meet me. I was absolutely delighted,  Raghu Aditya was going to be the first person I was going to meet for this new project of mine. I came to know about him about a month back whilst going through an article on M&S. Right there and then, I wanted to meet this amazing person.

The article is titled “Friend of the furred and the Feathered”, and the first few line aptly conveys who he is and what he does.

Raghu Aditya has devoted his life to bettering the lives of animals, so much so that he is willing to put his life on hold for the sake of theirs.” – M&S

We sat on this elevated platform of  Krishna Mandir, Patan and he shared his insight, and his outlook on life. Initially, there was a just that bit of silence, and I said him “I did ask to meet you, but now that I am here, I don’t know what to converse about.”  To which he replied, “It’s okay. We need to enjoy the silence as well. Occasional silence is nothing to worry about.” This has  to be one of the most poignant moment of the conversation, as it made me feel easy, and I was not bothered by any occasional silence that crept in later on.

I was really eager to know what  got him to start caring for the animals. He recounted his story of how he used to not be as kind to insects as a kid, and his father told him that those insects felt as much pain. Upon knowing that these insects felt pain, he decided to not take part in such activities. This childhood awareness got him to being the person he is today.

“Animals understand the basic language. Not justdogs, but every animal and birds.” he said. “We just have to be patient enough to learn it.” he added. He then exemplified this concept by saying when talking to dumb people using sign language, if one is patient enough to learn the sign language the conversation will get better and surprisingly the dumb person will seem interesting. However, if one loses the patience, then the person able to speak will not find the dumb person interesting.”All animals understand love, compassion, and kindness. You just need to be patient enough to learn it., and when you do you understand love –  non-judgmental  and pure” he says referring to love he gets from the animals.

As, we conversed  we touched on the topic of choices and our many interests. “What seems like many things right now may not be many things.” he said. Giving his own example he told me, he himself had a lot of things, but now connecting the dots he looks back and sees they were all related. His love for animals, his passion for music and other things. “Intensity beats extensity every time” he quoted.

By this time we were sipping tea that had been brought up to us by a local vendor. After we were done with the tea Raghu asked me if  I wanted to join him. He said he had to check up on a dog who had had an eye surgery few days back. I agreed and followed him, and very soon saw a dog lazily sleeping. Raghu approached him and called out “Lucy” upon which the dog excitedly started wagging. Raghu checked Lucy’s eyes, unfortunately the injury had not healed and it looked as if the stitches had come off. Raghu made few calls and applied ointment to the dog’s eye and we left.

By then it was time to go home, and as we bid goodbye, I was mightily pleased having met Raghu. I feel privileged to have had the chance to meet him and converse. I am glad I wrote to him and now we are “Strangers No More”.

Raghu’s message is simple “I am not a vet, nor was I trained to do this. But if I can do it, we  all can practice the act of kindness in our own community.”