One day you agree to meet up with your super- trim, fitness- fanatic, runner friend. You park your car and wait outside the coffee shop. He hasn’t arrived yet. You twirl your car keys, and as you do so your gaze travels to your mid- section…. “Hmmm” you wonder … “Has my tummy grown since last summer?” You then turn around and give a fleeting glance at your rear end…I should have worn a longer top…..
Your friend arrives. The pleasantries are over. Your friend offers to order coffee. You sit on the uncomfortable, slouchy couch and surreptitiously check your friend out as he walks to the counter. You marvel at how fit he looks. Sigh!
In due time, the conversation between you veers to how your once chubby friend managed the current transformation. He says “ Oh that! Nothing really….I run whenever I can……”
Hmm… So it’s that simple eh? No pricey gym memberships, no heart- wrenching calorie counting (your heart wrenches when you go past your daily calorie limit and the red-velvet cake remains in the fridge), no fancy equipment needed, no back- breaking exercises, no awkward yoga poses, no embarrassing Zumba moves….
So you make up your mind, as you sit on that uncomfortable, slouchy couch and slurp your double cream mocha latte with extra topping of vanilla ice-cream….. I AM GOING TO TURN MY LIFE AROUND. No more of this pudge laden existence. I WILL RUN…. From tomorrow….
You get home. And all you can think about is running. You rummage through your closet to find some work out gear. You have none (or rather the ones you have do not ‘inspire’ you). You decide you need some extra- hip but functional running clothes. It would be a wise investment. But it’s already late. Can’t go buy them now! Shoot! Can’t go running tomorrow…..
Couple of days fly by. You were very, very, very busy (or so you tell yourself!). That’s why you could not get out and go shopping.
Finally a couple of days later, you take time out from your oh-so-busy schedule and go get yourself some super cool, super expensive running gear. It’s a wise investment- you convince yourself…..
You also read up. On how to run. When to run. Where to run. How much to run. What to eat before your run. What to eat after. Should you take a bath after your run? How to stretch? How to warm up? How to cool down?
Next morning, the alarm rings. 5:30 AM (very optimistic of you!) .You put it on snooze.
It bugs you again in a bit. You drag yourself out of bed.
By the time you are in your shiny, new running clothes; the sleep has disappeared. You look good. You feel good. You are excited.
The sweat- absorbent shirt. Check.
The dry fit tracks. Check.
The heart rate monitor and snazzy sports watch. Check.
Cap and sunglasses to keep UV rays at bay. Check.
Latest running shoes. Check.
The iPod with your favourite upbeat tunes. Check.
Branded armband. Check.
Cool, almost pro-looking runner. Check.Check. Check.
You go to a nearby park. Warm up. Stretch.
You stop. What the….. @$@#$ .
You are out of breath. Your lungs feel like they might explode out of your chest cavity. Your mouth is parched. Icky sweat everywhere. Eyes water. And to compound matters – your have a side stitch. You bend over and pant like a rabid canine. To hell with cooling down. Your life is more important. You head home.
The next morning… you are sore. Every muscle in your leg seems to ache and wail in agony as you gingerly move yourself to the bathroom to get done with all your daily duties.
How do people do this?
You saw a couple of toned, sinewy runners at the park last morning. They looked so at ease. They must be so dedicated…..so motivated….so fierce……
You brand yourself a loser….
You can never be a ‘runner’…..
Now as a runner let me tell you some rarely spoken truths about us:
- WE FIND IT AS HARD IF NOT MORE TO WAKE UP EVERY MORNING– Yes. Believe it or not it is a battle every day. And on some mornings, we lose it. Your sleepy mind tries to trick you every single morning. Come on, you ran yesterday and the day before that and you can run tomorrow, sleep in today- it says. The key is to fight the urge to stay in bed, everyday. Waking up is more than half the battle won.
- RUNNING FOR LONG CAN BE PRETTY DAMN BORING– You can have all the latest tunes on your iPod. You may have an important presentation to rehearse in your head. Or you may have relationship troubles to mull over…..hey, maybe count the trees (or dogs- in Bengaluru) passing by…. Nothing works my friend. If you want to run everyday for any stretch of time, you better WANT to run. Thoughts or distraction will not really help you eat the miles or kill the time. Many claim running helps them think (maybe it does – for the occasional runner). But when you run for half an hour or one hour or more….you don’t think about your day or your love life or your kids….you just want it to end…..
- THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE BETTER AT THE TRACK/PARK/COURSE– You look at all the “hard-core” runners in your neighbourhood park and are in awe. Think they are cool for being so fit and healthy. Yeah, sure! Ask us. We hate the guy at the park who can run faster than us. Or can run longer. There is always someone with more defined calves or a stronger core. Trust me, in my head I am as much a “loser” as the rotund ‘auntie’ waddling next to me.
- GETTING THE REQUISITE MOTIVATION IS A PAIN IN THE @#$% FOR US AS WELL– We lose the weight we wanted to lose. Run the times we initially aimed for. Maybe even run that marathon we dreamed about. Now what? Finding new ways to motivate ourselves is as much a challenge for seasoned runners as it for newbies. The key is wanting to push yourself as far as you possibly can….the results (speed, weight loss, toned legs…) are sure to follow.
- WE GET OUT OF BREATH AS WELL– No matter how seasoned we are, there is a point beyond which we get out of breath as well. We too get parched…. We too sometimes feel like our lungs might explode…..It’s all good my friend. You are not alone.
- IT CAN GET PAINFUL– Many a time, we feel let down if we are not mildly sore the next day. Means we did not push ourselves hard enough the previous day. Personally, I love the aches and pains- it just uncomfortable enough to remind me how great a work out I had the last 24 hours. And the best part, the more you train the faster the pain goes away….
- THE DOWNSIDES– Occasional blisters, pulled muscles, sniffles during the winter….it’s all part of the package. Just need to learn to deal with them.
Now that the not-so- pleasant truths are out of the way, let’s look at the upsides in a runner’s life:
- Over time, you tend to look pretty darn good (forgive the vanity!)
- Great calves, super strong thighs, (and urm…cough, cough! backside…), toned midsection, and no ‘pudge’
- You are the envy of your local park, track, course….
- People look up to you….
- The after- run high…it’s not a myth!
- The more you run, the more you can eat! (Well….that’s only my personal ‘upside’)
- You all know the other benefits….. health, fitness, fresh air, decreased risk of,,,,,,….blah, blah, blah……
So folks, when do you plan to start?
Till next time…..