On Sunday, 21st July, when Rajan told about 45 people in the class to come prepared with a 90 seconds presentation on any achievement I decided it was time to implement the long pending dream of running 21 km. I had come quite close to doing this once or twice during the last five years, yet I was not there yet. This would be an achievement, I considered, – hot from the oven – to announce to the participants.
I started the practice in all seriousness. Last Monday I ran about 12 km. My left ankle started giving me creepy feelings immediately after that. The pain was back and seemed more severe than ever. The ice pack treatment did not seem to help. I decided I would not risk my ankle for giving my ego a boost. So, on last Wednesday I just walked about 5 km. The remaining part of the week’s mornings were consumed in sleep and the Friday morning CTW frenzy. I was reconciled to the prospect of disappointing myself yet again, practically the whole of the week.
Yet, before going to bed on Saturday, I set the alarm for 5 am – giving myself half a chance of redeeming myself.
I woke up even before the alarm on Sunday morning and so when the alarm rang, I was ready to roll out of bed. I got ready and after spending some time stretching, I commenced the run around 6.00 am.
As I started, I told myself quietly, in a firm way, that I would complete the half marathon come what may. The first circuit – from my home to the road near St.Thomas Mount and back – took me about 40 minutes. What daunted me constantly was the recurring thought – I have barely begun and so many more kilometres remain to be conquered.
I remember telling myself again and again that having embarked on the run it is no use worrying about the long distance remaining to be covered. Instead, focusing on each step I take – one step after another – is easier on the mind and body. I have this fickle mind that is constantly exploring ways of straying from the present into the future and past.
Most of my run was a battle at staying present. I remember how it felt when I managed for some brief time, off and on, to experience the present, as I ran. I remember the quietness descending on me. I heard some birds sing and the occasional vehicle piercing the silence. I absorbed the vast spaces and the towering trees along the sides of the road. I sensed energy coursing through my veins and running seemed a lot easier. Those moments were short-lived, but very beautiful and invigorating.
My unfaithful, two-timing mind would be back again to inhabiting the past and the future and I remember now, the inner chatter resembled being in a noisy market.
Before the second circuit was completed I got into a shop and bought two plastic pouches containing water. I drank most of it and the remaining I poured on my head to feel its coolness. That helped a lot, but my legs seemed to weigh a lot more. The spring in the steps was missing and my ankle pain was coming back, slowly.
I managed to put one step after another and conquered the distance of 21 km that day. It took me around two hours and 30 minutes and perhaps about 15 to 20 minutes out of this, I walked.
I know I can challenge myself to attempt about 30 km in another month or two, if I set my mind on it firmly. And then, who knows – a full marathon? I want to do this at least once. I have to strengthen my ankle and more importantly, my mind.
I am convinced, one’s achievements in life are limited or expanded by how he or she thinks. I also realize that an achievement in one sphere of life can lend energy and enthusiasm to accomplish great things in other areas of life. Life is holistic, it cannot be compartmentalized.
I keep thinking about Wallace D Wattles’ quote I received from Neale.
Every action is either strong or weak,
And when every action is strong we are successful.
I narrated my running experience on Sunday to everyone in the class. There was a generous applause. I did not get the prize though. There were others who emoted a lot better than me. That is another area, I know I will strengthen, with effort and time.
I feel very good. It is time for more strong actions.