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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Run Beta Run # 2

I am convinced about the duality of mind and body. In fact, I have a feeling that they started off at the same place set way back in time but one has evolved much more than the other. Humor me if I ask you to imagine the body as a separate specie altogether; one which is far down below in the evolutionary chain, one that doesn’t even have a language and only responds to physical signals. In fact, as I write this, I am convinced that my body is none the wiser still for it is blissfully unaware of this manipulating conspiracy.

No. I am not smoking dope. In the past month or so, I have experienced this in action. I have cajoled, conned, and coerced my body into partial submission. Partial because I have not mastered the art yet.

As I tried to increase the running distance, my body started to harass me with varying and irritating difficulties. It was either the knee or the shin or the lungs. I have come to know of more scientific terms for these troubles in the past month than I care. Firstly, all these terms are glamorous. I mean how cool it can be to admit that I have an ITBS (Iliotibial Band Syndrome) condition or Runner’s Knee or shin-splints. Glory aside, it did get irritating that I was simply not being able to move up from the 13.2km mark.

So the first thing I did was to give up on lapping. Instead, I have since started running up and down the East Coast Park (ECP). It’s an 18km round trip. The first time I gave it a go, I easily covered the first 9kms in an hour. I stopped over for a drink from a vending machine and then my body simply refused to budge. After multiple starts-stops-starts, I somehow got back to my place in 2:40 hours. Yes. You got the math right – it took me a good 1:40 to cover the same 9kms back. I might as well have been crawling. It didn’t help that during one of my very special moments of vulnerability, I was spotted by a colleague. Damn.

Two days of soreness and self-loathing later, I tried for a second time. Everything was going smoothly till my right knee gave way. After 1:30 hours, I decided to take a cab instead.

Some more days, soreness and self-loathing later, it was now the turn of the shins to splint. Only metaphorically of course. Total running time – only 40 mins.

I seriously considered giving up running except for one side-benefit that I hadn’t bargained for – my squash game had improved by leaps and bounds. I was still losing as many games as before but at least it wasn’t because I was running out of gas. This coupled with something somebody mentioned somewhere propelled me on. Here is how the saying goes – The body gets used to what you give to it.

So, I decided to send the body some strong signals by adhering to simple rules – a) I have to run up and down the ECP and b) There will only be one stop for drinks. The game-theory and past history suggested that my body would laugh at my face at the mention of these rules. So, the only way was through demonstration. And demonstrate I did. I am now at 18km covered in about 2:05 including the break. The body has internalized the message well. It knows that the only way out of that running track is through running that distance and the faster it runs, the quicker it will be back at the couch in front of the TV. Now, there are no aching knees or splint shins. It’s almost like how one trains a wild but dumb animal through a combination of carrots and sticks. For me, sticks are working well. For the time being anyway.

Next – An 8 hour-long road trip to Penang, Malaysia and a half-marathon run at Penang Bridge. I have invented a term for it – Motorathlon.


Hiren Gajria said...

WOW. That is some insane running your are doing. Somehow I can never get myself to run. Always hated it in school and still do. I barely manage to run - rather call it jog on the treadmill 3 times a week. I manage 3.2 or 3.4 km in about 25 minutes.

Im more fascincated by Bodybuilding. Im about to break the 200 pound barrier on my squats. And yes your right - the body does get used to what you throw at it. Mind you not for long. So watch those knees Beta.

Anonymous said...

Hats off to your passion and fortitude dude. But I advise you not to ignore your body's signals, its your body after all :)

Annoymously said...

From accidentally killing yourself on the highway to deliberately on the racetrack, your journey on the road to mid-life self discovery(?) (i barely restrain myself from using the world crisis) is fun to read. Esp as we are nicely ensconced in comfy chairs while doing so.

Besides, everyone else here has already demonstrated enough awe at your punishing feats. I like the quote you mention. It's probably the same for the mind too.

Safe distance aids my next comment. It's cute how only a guy could apply game theory and all kinds of science to any kind of physical activity. As long as you're having fun - go Dorm!

Beta said...

Hiren - 200 pounds... Whoa! Is the only way I can respond to that.

Annoy - as opposed to applying science to spiritual activities??

All - I am taking good care of myself. Regular rest days, long stretches before and after. But take your point and thanks for the concern.

Annoymously said...

Sticking my tongue out at you!

By all means do leave out the fun part. Do take notes, maintain a file of lap avgs/ records broken etc - am sorry i forgot this is all one big competition in the world of brawn versus brawn.