Tag Archives: marathon

Run. Write. Run. Is this how it’s done?

18 Jan

Overcoming the writer’s block with the daily dose of 500…

Dan Kennedy has a new way of doing it. He calls it the little morning exercise. Correction. It’s called the gay little morning exercise because you are supposed to be happy doing it. Yay! You’re supposed to be happy that you’re writing something – it could be just about anything, so long as you write. Graham Greene was into it, too. 500 words-a-day, no matter what. And up to now, I’ve done 71. Now 73. 74. Okay, it can be easy if you trick yourself out of it. 88. But we are grown up. We don’t do child-like things. 99. Even though we are tempted to.

beagle-tToday, and every day after today – my ass, I have to write 500 words, I have to squeeze them out of me. Yesterday, I had to run a half-marathon. I had to squeeze 21.1 km out of me – Ok, that’s 13.1 miles for all those who don’t get the kilometer-shit, but we shall take that in our stride.

Running a half-marathon, and writing – up-hill tasks both, mental games, physically challenging, and very very unpaying. Writing, physically testing? – Well, it could lead you to pulling your hair out or someone else doing that for you. Mum, for example. All she sees me do is sit for hours-on-end, leg-over-leg, staring at a screen, not answering door-bells, or telephone calls – the ones that come on the landline. And that shit really gets to her.

There’s another similarity in dealing with running long distances, and writing. It becomes easier if you break up the acts into quantified little goals that you achieve part by part. Peu-a-peu, if you know French. Schrittwiese, if you know German. Little by little, if you know what I mean. I’ve reached a crazy 292 words. But the secret to success lies in not doing the math. It’s good to be ‘in-the-now’. Never mind how much has already been done, never mind the how-much-more-to-go, focus only on the present – the current word being written, the current step being taken, and pretend it’s all good. Breathe in. Remind yourself that you are not going to die. Hydrate. Then take another stride, and write another word, because word after word after word is power, and step after step is… another step.

You will feel maimed, mangled, mauled, mutilated, until the rhythm takes over. Remove the negative shit from your head, shut up that insidious little bastard-voice that keeps bringing you back to the numbers game over and over again, trying so hard to knock you down. Overpower it. Concentrate on the marvel of the human form propelling in perfect cadence against the backdrop of a rising sun. Pray that your knees are strong enough for the concrete hills, and keep repeating to yourself: I can do this shit, it’s not difficult. And it won’t be long before you’ve got the whole 385-yards under your belt, and reached the amazing 500! Oh Lord, mum’s still after my life to answer those door-bells, and telephone calls, the ones that come on the landline. 507.

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Let’s make a beginning

Why I felt like Tendulkar on Marathon Day

23 Jan

Mumbai MarathonThe Mumbai Marathon is the most important day for the city of Mumbai. Mumbaikars put their best foot forward on this day, and the City with Heart looks its best with bobbing heads and thumping feet against a lovely skyline.

Here is an attempt at capturing the Mumbai Half-Marathon experience as Guest-Blogger on mumbaimag.com, a site that highlights everything Mumbaiya. Read on, if you will: http://bit.ly/Ws6011

(Image: PTI Photo/by Shashank Parade)

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)