14 October, 2017

Thoughts on motivation to keep running

A few personal thoughts on motivation to keep running:

Fitter, the sooner the better: I'm slowly but steadily getting back to running regularly, after a gap of almost 2 months. However, the three days I ran in the past week have made me realize I'm very much out of form, worse than I expected. I'm puffing and panting to do 10 kms. I stopped at 7 kms on one of those days. I need to get fitter, the sooner the better. I have the Chennai Marathon 2017 coming up in exactly 7 weeks from now. I ran the Dream Runners Half Marathon in July in 02:06 hrs. Right at the finish line, I put my mind to sub-2hrs in the next. I'm anxious about finishing it now. Certainly not good! Thankfully, it's still 7 weeks to go. So I went about thinking of ways to keep the mind charged for the same. Collecting good memories of the days well run is one. Where art thou, my good days of running?

Messages from the greats: Reading about what has helped some phenomenal long distance runners is another way to derive charge. And so, I went back to Haruki Murakami's 'What I talk about when I talk about running' again. I bought and read the book about a year and a half ago. It's a masterpiece with messages that carry hard truths about long distance running, with much simplicity and brevity. And there's one simple truth in long distance running that I loved from him that comes up in the Foreword itself. I quote him: Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. And so, here's to more pain.

As an aside:

I'm no plagiarist: Usually, when I read, I underline my takeaways so that when I feel like re-reading the book, I can just read these messages and walk away with the feeling of having read the book again. For some reason, today I wanted to re-read the full book itself. Just when I was halfway through the first chapter, to my shock, I found a striking similarity in his message (which I had not underlined) and my approach to running a few tough days of my 100DaysofRunning. It must have been a subconscious recollection of the message (unlikely, for I would have underlined it!) or a pure coincidence (which is an exhilarating feeling since I then get to share one trait of long distance running with a great runner! How about that?!) Eitherway, it felt like it was so much in me those days, but I was sinking into his message for the first time. I quote Mr. Murakami:
"When I'm criticized unjustly (from my viewpoint, at least), or when someone I'm sure will understand me doesn't, I go running for a little longer than usual. By running longer it's like I can physically exhaust that portion of my discontent. It also makes me realize again how weak I am, how limited my abilities are. I become aware, physically, of these low points. And one of the results of running a little farther than usual is that I become that much stronger. If I'm angry, I direct that anger toward myself. If I have a frustrating experience, I use that to improve myself.  That's the way I've always lived. I quietly absorb the things I'm able to, releasing them later, and in as changed a form as possible, as part of the story line in a novel."
And I had said last week: "Some days, I ran longer, proportionate to the intensity of anger I felt, to the point that on a few occasions, sheer exhaustion would beat the anger".

[The one point where I'm now aware I have failed is 'That's the way I've always lived'. No, I have not. In fact, the days (sometimes weeks) I have not run to drive away the anger/discomfort have cost me badly, both personally and professionally. I should've known better. I need to work towards that]

Anyway, someone pointing out the true source/origin of an idea or a thought is the death bell for the plagiarist. He should know better to protect the source/origin than his efforts to polish and present the message. So, if I were really a plagiarist, I wouldn't dare quote this. But I have. Hence proved that I'm no plagiarist!

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