Monday, August 31, 2015

Thank God I can run

Life is definitely not a bed of roses, even the most hardcore optimist would have to accept that as fact.

It has its ups and downs. One time it's bright and sunny, the next its gloomy and filled with rain, both in the real and metaphorical sense. How much of one condition there is in one's life would naturally vary depending on one's disposition or outlook in life, but the fact remains that life is not really so much a plateau as it is undulating.

On certain moments, one experiences joy and ecstasy, on others, pain and agony. And just like situations in life could be positive and encouraging at one instance and  undesirable and damaging at another, people could be loving and grateful, just as much as they could be callous and thankless.

Family and friends - and faith too - help get us through all these. Runners, I believe, have the run as well, as a gift and a blessing, to help get them  through life's difficult times and to celebrate its wonderful moments when they come.

Like everyone else, I have had my moments of difficulties. In most of them, since I started running, doing a 10k or a longer run, helped me clear my mind of clutter and think better. Running, especially when done solo, and I always find it best to run by my lonesome before the sun rises, gives me time for personal reflection, my moment of silence and meditation, with only the rhythm of my breathing and the sound of my footfall to keep me company. It has worked for me, and it still does.

I don't always get an easy answer or find an immediate solution every time, some emotional burdens are heavier and take more time to deal with than others, but I somehow find solace in my running, some kind of comfort on the road or trail. I feel better about myself, more confident I could face whatever is before me.

Thank God I can run. Still.

P.S. Wondering why running (or any form of aerobic exercise) helps people think better? This article from Scientific American provides a good answer. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Life has its seasons; running too

There is no denying it. I am in a rut right now.

My mileage has dropped over the past two months, and attempts to do better have not been very successful. If there is something I find consoling, it is that I haven't totally given up running. I still muster the will power to get out of bed in the wee hours on certain days and go for a run. Be it work or age catching up with me, the fact is I am struggling to get back to the usual grind.

Right now, I am telling myself this is temporary. I am telling myself I can get out of this rut, if not tomorrow then maybe the next day or the day after that. I am telling myself the running days will become more frequent, the distance covered in every running day will increase, that I will be leaving this staleness behind.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

The final leg

After running 15 kilometers over rolling terrain, you get tired. I would say it's the same for all runners, newbie or seasoned. Your legs get battered from all the pounding and get exhausted.

If they could talk, your legs, they will tell you to stop. They would complain about the torture you let them go through. They would air their disaprroval of being dragged out of bed in the very early morning when sleeping was the natural and logical thing for a sane person to do. Your lungs would perhaps be joining the chorus too.

After running 15 kilometers, I felt all that. My lungs and legs were not talking, they can't, but they were telling me just what they were telling me. They'd rather not be doing what I had in mind. There were three uphills ahead, an equal number of descents, maybe a couple more. I would do surges through them.

I can feel the exhaustion everytime I picked up the pace. There was no pain, nothing like it, but there was fatigue that made my legs feel heavy. There was no smoothness in the stride. There was labor in each step.

There is nothing easy here. There is nothing to make you feel ecstatic. There is only difficulty and suffering.

But after you have finished that last leg, that last kilometer, with a surge to the end of your run, after you have given your all , after you stand bent at the hips, catching your breath, your two hands resting on both knees, you straighten up and walk slowly, walk tall, proud to have silenced that voice inside that always tells you to stop.

You have conquered. You have won.

p.s. I posted negative splits in those last 5 kilometers of my 20k run and had a faster second half overall. Sweet exhaustion.