As the running season for the year 2013 begins, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the subject. I am not a great runner. Heck - I started running only a few years ago… well past my 35th birthday. So this is not an attempt to guide or teach or inspire. I don't have any specific objective in mind as I am writing this. I am just sharing my thoughts on how I feel when I run long distance which others could possibly relate to.
I have been running relatively long distances (5K, 10K and 21K) for a couple of years now. When I run a half marathon, I take longer than a seasoned runner. A seasoned runner takes around 2 hours (And here I am excluding the seriously good runners who do it at a much more rapid pace) while I take 25 minutes longer. But if you think about it… I am on my feet for that much longer. So in that sense, taking longer to finish is better than finishing faster - right?
What do I think about when running… Deep philosophy? Something that has been occupying my mind? My next big business plan? I am spending 150 minutes with myself, should’nt I be spending it usefully ?. The answer, sadly, is that I am not thinking of anything in particular. So it is either a waste of mind space or it could be the highest form of meditation !! :-)
Music… I have tried running with music and without music. And interestingly I prefer running without music. I like to hear myself pant and puff – makes me feel the effort with every fibre of my being… music is actually very distracting for me. And I am not alone in this - I hear that most distance runners hate the ipod.
Some runners I know get inspired by the scenery around them. When they run near mountains or other scenic places, they go "Looking at the scenery sends a wave of happiness through me". Well for me, it does zip ! I see random mountains and trees - but no happiness, sorry.
Distance runners talk about hitting the wall at some stage of the run. For me it is not quite the wall, it is almost like a crocodile is hanging on to my legs. Just can't seem to lift my legs. The problem becomes more acute when you run real slow. Because your mind knows that you are just 1 step away from stopping or walking. Whenever the crocodile gets hold of my leg, I try to lift my legs higher and run. Counter-intuitive, but works for me !
How do I motivate myself to push myself more? I device little competitions in my mind. Sometimes it is between my left leg and my right leg. Other times, I tell myself I am running for the sake of my family members - the next step is for my wife and then my daughter and then my son ...... Once I do that, I cannot give up on them - can I? I know this sounds crazy, but hey - works for me....
Right after I finish a half marathon, what is the single overriding feeling that I have?. Has to be triumph and sense of achievement, right? Not really - for me it is mostly just mind numbing exhaustion ! Any thoughts of achievement comes much much later....
So - that is how I feel. I would love to know how you feel about running?