Look, I’m running!

15 Jan

ImageAre you a morning person? Well, I seem to have become one what with the Mumbai Marathon just round the corner. But the alarm clock has become my biggest enemy. I’ve just about slept that it begins to ring. At least it feels that way, and there is nothing you can do about it, because you’ve filled up the marathon application form, paid the money, got your running bib, and have tom-tommed about your ‘big half-marathon plan’ to one and all – including the chai-wala in office, who ensures you get a nice hot cup of tea simply because ‘Madam bhaagne wali hai’* – ever since Registration Day.

But once up, it’s easy to be about. And once out of the door, you think it’s going to be a breeze. Seriously. You begin your day by appreciating the finer things of life: the sea, the birds, the fresh morning air, the rising sun. Yes, you are on your way to a healthier you: You walk with your shoulders back, back straight, tummy in, and make it to an imaginary starting-line with a spring in your step and a song on your lips.

Never mind the regularity or irregularity of your running/training sessions , the inventory will be well in place – state-of-the-art shoes, running shorts, running socks, a pro-clima top, knee-support, a wrist band in case you sweat too much, a mobile phone arm-band, a bottle of energy sports drink… In short, the works.

You’re halfway to the starting-point and your imagination begins to run wild. You imagine that you’ve already crossed the finish-line, and you’ve already begun to receive well-deserved congratulatory remarks on a race well-finished, and are just short of being interviewed by the press when you say under your breath, ‘C’mon that’s taking it a bit too far’.

Now you’ve reached the point where you intend to begin running. Stretch. You feel that all eyes are upon you, because it’s not every day that one sees a champ do what he or she does best – Run! Mind you, this is Day One, and every day after that, it’s the same story, in this exact sequence.

Workout started. The first twenty seconds feel like heaven, and you are running smiling, and looking around and nodding at many that pass you by. You may even excitedly shout out a ‘Good morning’ here and a ‘Good Morning’ there. What the ‘Good Mornings’ really mean is –Hey look, I’m running! But after those precious twenty – that could well extend to thirty if the wind is on your side – life is hell, and the sinking in of that fact is the most tormenting experience. You’re not sure if you’re going to be able to run for the next ten seconds. You are now striding with much effort, employing every ounce of strength, and breathing so heavily that the person who is just a meter ahead of you is coerced into looking back, and may even then not make way for you. Silly bloke.

The gradual physical exertion and obvious incapacity has now worsened the mental state. All that seemed sublime once has lost character. The smile is gone, beads of sweat have begun to appear, and you don’t care to be nice to anybody anymore. ‘Good mornings’ are a thing of the past, and the only words you know and could care about are – Please God, please, just a little more…  The mood is foul, and nobody or nothing seems pleasant: The drivers don’t know how to drive, the pedestrians don’t know how to walk, the cyclists are way too free-spirited, the school-buses run way too fast and way too much to the left, the school-children are fidgety, the dogs poop too much, the garbage vans stink and pollute the fresh air you were so happy breathing in a few minutes ago, cabbies have blinkers on, and people who are out on a stroll will never use the footpath or make way for the ‘runners’.

By now the knees are shaking and the feet aren’t landing with precision, the ankles hurt and the need to relax one’s hands once in a while seems paramount. You realize you have not made use of the wrist-band that you have so enthusiastically bought and so you raise your hand and use it to use it. You feel you have been running for hours, but the watch tells a different story. Time usually runs, but when you decide to run, it decides to walk and sometimes even stands still.

And you tend to make note of the expressions on fellow-runners’ faces just to make sure that you’re not alone in this battle, and you are almost glad that they, too, seem grumpy and unhappy, most probably because their untold story is just like this one, and sometimes in the exact sequence.

** THE END **

*Madame is going to run (the half-marathon)

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4 Responses to “Look, I’m running!”

  1. priya tyagi June 23, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    very beautifully written about the pain and trauma of a beginner in this field

  2. Running Girl January 15, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    😀 When I first started jogging, I felt like I was having an angina attack. I stopped and let my heart catch up with my feet. On Day 2, I walked a bit and then jogged for five minutes. That helped. It´s been 6 months since I started jogging and now I can jog 2 kms without panting, sweating or stopping. I am way out of shape but I am trying. Nicely crafted post.

    • urvashia January 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

      Haha! I know just what you mean 🙂

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