Eyeing One More Marathon Run Under My Belt

I ran my last full marathon about 4 years ago – sometime in January, 2017.

Since then, I have often heard the stirrings from within to get back to the level of practice I was used to, back then.

Because, I want to run another long one – very soon.

Injuries, laziness, lack of motivation, work, ………. were the reasons for not seriously training for another marathon, all these years.

Now it is time to go beyond the seductions of good reasons and listen to the louder imploring from within, to ask of myself that important question once again.

There is that part of me that cautions me against being over ambitious. Getting back to that level of preparedness is daunting. I had reached the summit then. Now I am nearly in the depths. Though I run quite regularly, long distances are things of the past.

We are all greater than the rock. The story of Sisyphus.

I recently read about the predicament of the Greek mythological hero, Sisyphus. He was condemned by God Zeus to push a huge boulder up a hill only for the boulder to roll back down again, once he reached the summit. Then he had to push the boulder up the hill again and again, for eternity.

But Sisyphus proved he was stronger than the rock. And he relentlessly soldiered on – though mindful of the futility of pushing the weighty boulder up the hill again and again, every muscles straining, only to have it roll back down hill, once he reached the pinnacle. Over and over and over again.

Maybe his joy was in the glory of plodding to the summit. Or he just had no choice. Or, he accepted that choiceless situation gamely, even happily.

If, even the gods were jealous of Sisyphus, it must have been because he had a way to be happy – regardless of whether he was up or down. He must have been one of those rare people who lived in the present and relished every moment, especially the challenges.

Sisyphus knew the knack of converting even challenging situations with poise to make him stronger. Perhaps it is precisely this aspect that Carlos Castaneda meant with this statement:

“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.”

So, while going up the hill with the boulder, Sisyphus would have relished the act of pushing and making himself strong. And while coming down, he would have thoroughly enjoyed sauntering down.

Opting for the choice to run is a way of telling myself that I am stronger than the rock and glory awaits at the summit. And even along the way.

I know it will rain in the mornings as is the case in Chennai these days, I will be soaked in sleepiness at 4 in the morning, I will pant for breath while running and I may even feel tired of it all.

But I will run and keep running because it is a way of telling myself that I am strong enough to take on the pains of the body as well as other life challenges that life may throw at me.

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