Last Sunday I ran the Dream Run in the Mumbai Marathon. It was a 6k run and not much when compared the full and half marathon, but it gave me a real buzz. The atmosphere, the crowds, the music. And of course the pleasure of being able to run down Marine Drive. It was fantastic.
I’ve never been in to sports or athletics of any kind. I was one of those kids who HATED sports day and despised having to do march past and try out for athletic events. I would cower behind my hands when the ball came hurtling towards me when we played dodge ball in school. My idea of exercise for the longest time was walking at a relaxed pace and a few ill fated dalliances with gym memberships. That’s it. The idea that I, hater of P.E and sports day would ever run or be physically active, and enjoy it even, would have been laughable to the me from ten years ago.
But ah. How life changes.
I started running in the winter of 2009 with the Couch to 5k challenge. I would drop my son at day care in the afternoon and then head off. A no doubt bizarre figure, running and walking in completely inappropriate running gear of red fleece hoodie, puffer gilet and tights under my running shorts. Oh and let me not forget my woolly hat and mismatched gloves.
Then spurred on by my dear friend and running fiend I took part in an 8k run at Windsor with hardly any practice. I was one of the last to finish the run, and the only people behind me were a group of senior citizens walking the route for a charity. As I ran the distance at an excruciatingly slow pace the only mantra going through my head was ‘do not get overtaken by eighty year olds. Keep running’.
The outcome of that run was this amazing sense of achievement. ‘Wow. I can run. And enjoy it’.
So after pushing Boot Jr. out in to the world and once certain internal bits were back where they were meant to be, I decided to start running again. The 6k dream run was a small goal that I had to work towards. And now I’d like to think that with the right kind of training, next year I can attempt a half marathon at least.
This morning I was reading Ammani’s blog and her piece on why she runs. It got me thinking about why I like run.
Running is mostly a solitary exercise. Sure you can run with a friend or with a running club, but, unless you want to start gasping for air and collapse after a few miles there really isn’t much talking involved. I run, because it is the only time of the day I am by myself, with my measly thoughts which though not earth shatteringly important, are well, my thoughts. For the rest of the day I am surrounded by people. Children jabbering and cooing and drooling and crying and singing and whining and complaining and arguing against the injustice of having to drink milk. House help advising, complaining and gossiping. Phone calls. Milk men, post men, lift men, veg and fruit men and paper men beseeching, greeting and haggling. Noise. I am surrounded by it all day long.
When I run I am alone for that one hour. Even though there are others around me walking or running, I am not expected to stop and say hello and smile.
I can just keep running. Trying to run more than I did the last time. Trying to run faster.
I wish I ran for a more meaningful reason. But I don’t. Even though my reason is a little… well lame, I’m glad it gets me out of the door with my running shoes laced up.