The Running Diaries- ”you are tomorrow what you believe today…”

‘’You are tomorrow what you believe today’’.

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I am not a runner; I can’t run for my life; I am not made for running; I have bad knees; I have a family history of arthritis; there is no way I can run; blah blah blah

 

These are just some of the reasons I encounter when I try to persuade friends to run. And believe me, I have tried each and every excuse in the book and more.  The only reason it changed for me was not the dream of becoming a ‘runner’ ( which I I still don’t think I am) nor was it the faint hope of losing weight ( blame it on the genes, are you reading this, mum!). I started running just to prove to myself that there is nothing one can’t achieve once you put your mind to it. Running was the most difficult thing and I had to prove to myself that I had the grit and determination to capture it.

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So armed with a plethora of information ( thank you google ), flanked by an ever so loyal running partner and boosted ( read as – kicked out at regular intervals for training) by an ever loving clan, the running games started! I did everything a first timer did, buy hordes of running apparel ( still the saga of matching socks  carries on 🙂  and magazines ( not as expensive as cycling gear, though ),  bought a fancy garmin ( I love it!!) and acted as if my malayalee heritage had raised me on pasta and sphagetti ( carb overload before tapering!)IMG_6513

I soon discovered that I was accompanied by two friends, both in my head, an angel and the chimp, who loved talking to each other about me, loudly and annoyingly all the time. All my planning and execution of runs, whether they were the failed 2 minute runs or the long 20 mile runs were discussed to the minutest detail, the chimp shooting down every plan and the angel encouraging me to rise above it!

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My RP and I soon joined the Knowle and Dorridge running club ( K&D). Every Wednesday evening, I would set out to run, every Wednesday, in my mind , I would fail. Within a few minutes, I would be nearly lost in the midst of narrow winding roads while my contemporaries would glide ahead. My lungs would fill up with fluid frothing from my mouth, oozing from my nose and out of all sweat pores. I would hop skip and jump from uneven pavement on to the road, only to be honked back to the pavement by an irate driver. I slipped on dry autumn leaves, scratched my elbows along dark walls and grazed my legs along tall brambles and ivy. In fact, I stumbled even when there was nothing to stumble upon! 

But we persisted and kept going, knowing that someday we will because we can….

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In a couple of weeks, I became the queen of excuses. The chimp in me had an instant encyclopaedia of excuses ready to whip out even at the thought of the impending run while my angel would gently prise me away from those negative thoughts. Anything passed for an excuse, and in an instant, maternal instincts took priority. I was suddenly the conscientious mum and home maker, wanting the perfectly ironed towels and socks for my family…..really!!!  The lamest excuse was that Romeo was tired and wanted to go back, as if that can ever happen! However by this time, my angel was getting stronger and more vociferous, slamming the chimp back into place.

RP bore the brunt of it all. My chimp made me avoid his calls, my phone would be turned off so that I miss the scheduling messages and one Friday, I even tried to get him into a late night party mode and bribed his wife to keep him in bed for some extra hours in the morning. Alas, nothing worked. 8am sharp, he would be ready, two bananas in hand, knocking on the door and gosh, how I hated him for that! We would start our run, me with a huge scowl on my face, him with his expressionless demeanour.

wp-1490788588746.jpgMany a times, I have felt like turning back when he would be charging ahead, many a times I would curse him for ruining my dream of a perfectly perfect sun kissed morning sipping tea in the garden ( as if that will ever happen!!) and many a time, I blamed him for making me wish the earth would swallow me up whole when confronted by the fresh, immaculately dressed female fatales we would bump into, on their way to the salon or spa.

But we persisted and kept going, knowing that someday we will because we can….

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Soon, spring was around the corner.

Within a month, things were looking better. I could run to the end of my mile long road without turning beet root red and without shooting the snot bullets that I became an expert at. I mastered the art of breathing and could hear the sound of silence. My chimp was happy to rest and my angel flew in front of me, clearing the clouds ahead.

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By the end of 3 months, I was no longer the straggler in the running club. I went into a fit of hysteria when Geoff, our running leader, casually said that I had become a strong runner. I would look forward to the club runs and the chimp no longer needed her excuses diary.

RP and me were a team, once again and we were on a high. The  anger gave way to respect. Respect for bearing with all my demands, for tolerating my tantrums, for accepting my downfalls and for the support without which we wouldn’t have persisted.wp-1490788589687.jpg

We ran fast and furious at times, scaring dogs, toddlers, parents, ducks and whatever came our way. At times, people in mobility scooters zoomed past us but we ran, happily…..we ran in the sun, in the rain and in the snow because we now know that one sentence that holds true: you never feel bad after a run.

I no longer scrutinised myself in the mirror, just plain happy with the confidence I saw smiling back at me. I stopped worrying about size zero or party clothes, my mind was busy planning the attire for the next run. A change that was noticeable was the stance which changed, I was walking head held high, looking ahead into the future, just contented to have conquered my worst fears.


However, what was even better was the post run ‘reflection’ or truth being the slumped and near dead pose on the sofa with the roller behind my head, where the body refuses to move but the mind is buzzing with activity, dreaming and thinking back about the last few hours, of future runs, heaving pizzas, washboard abs, medals, marathons and more marathons….( what the heck, we can always dream, even if it doesn’t come true, we can at least dream the dream!)


Food for thought: persistence is the key, if you can continue for 3 months, you can achieve anything you aim for!

Life begins at the end of the comfort zone…….and I love it!

 

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