Sunday, March 08, 2009

Run for it (and don't define the 'it')

So last Sunday I travelled to NTU for a 4-day company-sponsored course. True to its name, the course was intensive to the degree that we did not even have a reason to step out of the Nanyang Executive Centre where we stayed, studied, worked and slept for 4 days. On the third day or so, I started to feel it --- the 'conditioned air' in the air-conditioned building was getting to me. I needed some fresh air and decided to take a walk around my alma mater.

I hadn't taken my running shoes with me, so I wore my slippers and walked. I walked all the way to the running track in the Sports and Recreation Centre (SRC) and that's when memories of my third year in university came back to me. I was interning back then, and to shed a couple of extra kilos, I used to come back from office and run 6 rounds on the track every night before dinner. Some amazing results ensued, and that's when I got into the whole fitness thing.

However, that did not last long as my knee pain came back. In my first year at university, I had fractured my knee while jogging on the roads at 1 am (Don't ask. I was young and foolish back then. Now I am old and still foolish.) Of course, Viv likes to incorporate a hot Mauritian guy into the how-I-broke-my-knee-story. I assure you, the hot Mauritian guy was by no means fictional, and it is indeed true that he was so hot that when I first saw him, I skipped a step and sprained my ankle, but he had nothing to do with the fateful night I went jogging on the roads and ended up with a broken bone. In Viv's version, I apparently ran after the hot Mauritian guy on the roads at 1 am and ended up with a fracture. Many people prefer his version of the story. Sometimes I do too. It is more fun than mine.

Anyway, so when my knee pain came back, that was the end of my jogging. Undeterred, I found other means of staying fit, such as going to the gym, badminton, walking, walking a lot, walking very fast, and attempting to swim (believe me, I am still attempting). But the walking bit really helped me stay in shape.

So this evening, as I wore my shoes to walk to the beach, I decided to go for a run instead. It was unthinkable at first. I hadn't run in a very long time, and the last time I tried to run, I got rashes all over my legs, my knee hurt and the left side of my stomach started aching. It was like my body had developed an allergy towards running. But memories from 8 years ago, of the 6 rounds on the track at the SRC egged me on, and I wanted to see if I still had it in me.

I didn't.

I'd barely run about 15 minutes when the rashes came back and my stomach started hurting. So I stopped running and started walking very fast. After a while, I felt like I could run again. I ended up toggling between running and walking for about an hour or so, and even though I wasn't running very fast (let's just say I run at the pace of Roop Kumar Rathod's 'Tujh mein rab dikhta hai'), it felt great before the pain came back. Each time.

And I felt like I finally understood why people run. You've seen them at the beach, just running. Some are training for the Marathon, yes, and some are trying to get into shape, but a lot of them are just running. No reason. Just running.

I had not taken my watch or my mobile phone along with me, but I did have my ipod (hey, I can sacrifice the sense of time and connectivity, but not music) and it was great to run when Sunidhi went "Bounce baby bounce" and walk when Shaan crooned "Kuchh kam roshan hai roshni" (yes, the world has graduated to Delhi 6 and I am still hooked on the Dostana and Fashion music albums). I had time to observe things around me --- a dad encouraging his son to run faster, a lady with a pram full of dogs, a dad on a skateboard with a toddler balanced precariously in front of him, a grandma taking a walk with the aid of her domestic helper. And slowly, amongst the sweat, breathlessness and heat, a sense of calm prevailed. Usually, when I see cyclists riding at crazy speeds on the walking track, I feel like shoving a branch between the spokes of the wheels. But this time, I didn't feel that. Peaceful co-existence and all that.

And then a guy stopped me to ask me where the hawker centre was. I was amazed. In spite of the 'double-protection-do-not-disturb-me device' (running+ipod), he had stopped me. It was a beautiful welcome change. You don't see this kind of liberty-taking, interfering-in-your-life act, where a total stranger stops you as you're running, waits till you take your earphones off and asks you for directions. It just doesn't happen.

"You just walk down this path all the way." I said.

"Very far, ah?" He asked.

"Uhh... not really. About 5 minutes?"

He thanked me and went on his way, while I wondered, "Did I make it clear to him that I meant 5 minutes by walking, and not running?" And then I wondered if I wonder too much. Maybe it's true. Maybe we all wonder too much. And maybe that's why this physically exhausting activity of running helps. It does not give us time to wonder too much. And that's probably why so many people run. Without a cause.

In a world where we're either running after something or away from something, sometimes it's kind of nice to, you know, just run.



29 comments:

Arvind Iyer said...

GOLD !!

I came back from a jog an hour ago, and reading this felt amazing!

I think Singapore really has some fitness viral thing....it's good to be part of it :)

Shekhar said...

~nods his head~ I know exactly what you're thinking about.

I used to feel exactly like that when I used to train for the 10km run at my b-school.

A couple of days ago, overwhelmed with work, I just dropped off my cell phone at home and went off for a swim.

The calm that came from pushing myself for 10 lengths of the swimming pool was awesome... all that I was focussing on was the next stroke of the hands and concentrating on paddling my feet. Awesome!!

Oh, and btw, SILVER !! :)

Vandita said...

:)
i wanna feel like this too... at peace with myself.
great post sayesha !
PS: yayie @ SILVER

Vandita said...

lol 'twas bronze

яノςんム said...

lolz..
it kindda is notalgic for one who is struck at home and devoid of gyming cuz of an injured foot.. :(

Sanchit said...

applause...

even i jogged alot.. on the singapore airpot.. guess that air has it.. :D

Rambler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Navin said...

Yes I know...... I can so much relate to it..... not with the injury part but just with the running part..... I too love running..... I still pursue running 6-7 rounds of the track...... These lines are just so awesome..... "In a world where we're either running after something or away from something, sometimes it's kind of nice to, you know, just run."

You know i do run daily for one of the two reasons....... either for something or away from something.

This piece just felt great. BY GOD touch ho gaya ji (as Dolly says in Oye lucky, lucky oye!) .Keep'em coming. "Just Run".

rt said...

Great Post!!

Sum said...

Ahh! So much of running..... err just running!
Nice :)

gugun said...

I could hugely identify with this post ..

was training for a marathon last year when i screwed my knee. and since then have been doing this walk-run-walk-did_i_overdo_it routine .. and then everytime I asked myself "why do I do this at all" .. the answer is always the same. I just love to run. Nothing to do with medals (which i never had anyway) or a sense of achievement or the fitness part of it. Just the high that you get at the end. :)

and yes, those magic lines at the end of your post. I am maroing them. for my email signature. thanx :)

Inder said...

i wouldn't want to lose my perfectly spherical shape by jogging... :)

PizzaDude said...

Ah! A fitness related post finally. Glad to read it. I need something like this to motivate me even further.

//I run at the pace of Roop Kumar Rathod's 'Tujh mein rab dikhta hai'
Hahaha!! I can see that the obsession with the song has still not stopped. I am currently obsessing about Bolna halke halke.

VIDYA said...

Nice post....although I must agree with Inder :D

l_0oio0_l said...

oh well as many said here....i can completely relate to this too...... coz I juz love running..... was never a runner or anything but then after I moved to Sacramento, I started running along the American River.....in the woods....just beside a 30 mile long bike trail.....and aaaaaah the calm pushing you to run is juz amazing....

Now we know why Forest just ran and ran....

cant wait until i leave from work ....and go run....the feeling is juz awesome!

amitbhatnagar said...

I loved this post..
But unlike many others above, I have never been a runner and did not relate to the post.. till i reached the last lines..
"In a world where we're either running after something or away from something, sometimes it's kind of nice to, you know, just run."

Awesome!! Just awesome!!

Swathy said...

great Post bhai..
Its true, sometimes its just the "run" that matters..

Taurus Girl said...

Great post...
and the ending, marvellous.. :)

santasizing...Fantasizing said...

I have been dying to get into the fitness regime for months now..and somehow it just doesnt happen!!!!
reading your post has totally inspired me bhai...i think i will give it anothr try..
any tips that u can share for lazy bums like me?:P

Masood said...

Great post. Greater inspiration.

Jakes said...
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Jakes said...

ekdam barabarr..
kal se hum bhi daudne ko jayenge.. run for nothing wala.. hopefully will be able to sustain the habit.. unlike umpteen earlier times :D

What's In A Name!? said...

:) I feel like getting my lazy self off the chair and exercise a bit.. :)

Good read, it was.. :) Btw, make a wild guess who I am! :)

What's In A Name!? said...

Oh, and also, if you do guess who I am, then please do not write my name.. :D Give me a hint that you've got it.. :P Am a bit panic striken at the moment.. :D Don't want people googling my name and reaching the blog! :-)

Dewdrop said...

It was good to read this piece... reminded me of my days when I was a fitness freak and moreover brought memories of me jogging in Juhu Beach in Mumbai... I should get back to it someday... Thanks for reviving those good ol' days!

mythalez said...

Run, Sayesha, Run !! :P

Sayesha said...

#Arvind,
Great going, buddy! Jog-te raho! :D

#Shekhar,
Aha! Swimming! I haven't been to the pool in a very long time! Must go soon!

#Vandita,
Run and you'll feel it too! :)

#Richa,
Temp injury or permanent? :O

#Sanchit,
Tu airport ke andar bhaga? Late for flight kya? Hahahaha! :D

#Navin,
//BY GOD touch ho gaya ji

Hehehe! Thanks. :)

#rt,
Thank you. :)

#Sum,
:)

#gugun,
Thanks!

//and yes, those magic lines at the end of your post. I am maroing them.

Sure! Apun tere ko line maarne ki permission deta hai! :D

Sorry very bad joke, I know. :|

#Inder,
Hahahahaha! Lazy bum! :P

#Pizzadude,
//I need something like this to motivate me even further.

Are you motivated enough? Join me for my sunday run??

//Hahaha!! I can see that the obsession with the song has still not stopped.

Hehehehe! You will not believe what all I listen to these days. Today I was on 'Tujhe yaad na meri aayi' from KKHH! :D

#VIDYA,
Hahahaha! Another one! :P

#l_0oio0_l,
I wish I could run in the week too... but no time. :( But I will make up in the weekend! :)

#Amit,
Thank you. :)

#Swathy,
Thanks! :)

#Taurus Girl,
Thank you! :)

#Santa Fanta,
//any tips that u can share for lazy bums like me?:P

Only one. Bhaag Dhanno bhaag! :P

#Masood,
Thank you. :)

#Jakes,
//kal se hum bhi daudne ko jayenge.. run for nothing wala..

Just do it! :)

#What's In A Name!?,
Thanks. :)

//Btw, make a wild guess who I am! :) Oh, and also, if you do guess who I am, then please do not write my name..

Okay fine. I'll just give reveal the keywords. Green parekhombie? :D

#Dewdrop,
Thank you. Yes, you should totally start doing it again. All of us should keep one another going! :)

#Mythalez,
Running, running. :P

What's In A Name!? said...

My god! Sahi jawab!! :D :D :-)

Shanks_P said...

hey Bhai ....
U just inspired me to go for a jog on a freezing clmate at evening 3 :)
kudos :D

shanks