"Running is equivalent to meditation !!!!!"
Have any of you heard this above statement ??? This is in fact true in my case.
How do you define meditation?
According to me meditation is something where you live in the present moment, not worrying about the past or the future and simultaneously keeping your mind at peace. To achieve this concept of living in the present, meditation involves concentrating on each and every breath inhaled and exhaled. And finally the awareness and feeling of each and every part of the body.
For me running is everything the above definition states and more. While running your whole concentration is on moving the body forward one step at a time, taking deep breaths of air in order to fuel that motion, feeling each and every part of the body, especially via the sensation of pain which makes you live at the present moment. This is of-course somewhat different from a traditional sense of meditation. Its like trying to find peace in midst of absolute chaos. There is literally no scope to get distracted with any other thoughts creeping regarding the past or the future. In other words the mind is totally void of any unnecessary thoughts, in short a calm and peaceful mind.
It has been nearly 5 years since I started running. So it was high time I ranted something in favor of it :P. It was more of a necessity back then and this necessity was triggered by a lifestyle of just working for 7 months in the corporate world. 7 months of corporate world and my triglyceride level was 171 mg/dL, which exceeded the normal value in unison with its other cholesterol cousins. So what solution comes to my mind???? RUNNING OF-COURSE and in one of the most unlikely places to do it. Initially was running within my house, up-down in the terrace and so on. I was way too shy to run on the streets or scared of being chased by dogs because I didn't want to end up as an object of ridicule to someone , since I couldn't run for more than a couple of minutes altogether.
The first month was the toughest. You could not run for more than 5 mins, hence the motivation was low , and on top of that there were pains at all the unimaginable places post the run. But something kept on inspiring me to keep on running and surprisingly I did. Gradually over a period of time I started to become better and better. And when someone starts to improve in something there is a constant urge to keep on bettering that. Finally I had a sustainable motivation which has been driving me for the past 5 years. It does surprise me when I reach a goal which I thought to be impossible a year back.... bringing out the fact that with necessary dedication anything is possible with the human body and more importantly the human mind.
The first official run I took part was in the Sunfeast Bangalore 10K 2010 , clocking a time of 59:57 mins. The subsequent year it was 55:40. Of late my official fastest time in 10K is 52:40 min and my BHAG for this year (Big-Hairy-Audacious-Goal!!!!) is a timing of under 45 mins. Hopefully would be able to do that in TCS Bangalore 10K on May 19. Keeping my fingers crossed. Apart from the countless 10K's I have run , I have run only 1 half-marathon (2:18:26 hrs) and 1 full-marathon(5:29:05 hrs). The later 2 were done in quick successions in order to strike out an entry in my bucket list :P. Moving on I plan to concentrate only on 10K's and half marathons, bettering my personal records. Eventhough I dont have plans of running full marathons frequently, considering that it takes a toll on the legs and the overall physical well being, pushing the body to the extremes, I do plan to run that distance for some special occasions like my bada-BHAG (Biggest-Hairiest-Audacious-Goal !!!!) of becoming an Ironman triathlete :) (3.9 km swim, 180 km cycling, 42.2 km run to be done within 17hrs ), hopefully would be one before I turn 40 :P.
Another reason for taking up running is that now I eat whatever I want -totally bindass. No Dieting, Not bothering abt calories- running pretty much compensates everything. It might be because of the same reason that I have not lost weight in the past 3 years and have the perfect weight for my height. Neither less nor more :). And this is one the cheapest sports out there, just slip into your favorite sneakers and run your heart out on the endless roads, churning out mile after mile. If there is one sport which signifies freedom, running would surely be at the top of that list :). Freedom from capitalist society with minimal or no gear required, freedom from dependence on an other individual, freedom from time of the run, freedom from competing with other individual (everyone is running their own races) which leads to freedom from worries, strategy and probably backstabbing and finally freedom from unnecessary thoughts.
But apart from the good side there is an ugly side to running too. Run very frequently without a break and you end up with a busted knee. So I do keep in mind not to run more than twice in a week. Further I plan to participate in just 2-3 events in a year so that they are distributed over the entire year and providing sufficient motivation to train in sun, rain or cold. And in order to supplement my running i have taken up cycling, kickboxing and planning to be a regular swimmer too :). So in short I can be termed as a pakka fitness freak :P.
So end of the day what is my present triglyceride count? which started it all in the first place.... it has come down to 94 mg/dL :).
"Pain is just temporary, Victory is forever !!!!!"
P.S.-->The title is shamelessly hijacked from a movie of a same name starring Simon Pegg, where his character runs a full marathon. A rather hilarious take on it :).
Image Courtesy: Navy Running.