The Miracle of Running

Everyday / Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

There is something so primordial about running. Maybe it’s in our ancestral genes. I don’t know. I don’t know who passed it on in my family, but it is in my genes, for sure. Last year, when I was watching the insides of my left knee, which the surgeon was kindly slicing through, I had only one question. He paused in the middle to show me something that was cottony and fluffy, which definitely did not look like what a knee should like. If only perceptions were reality! I asked him the question then, during the pause. “So when I can run?” He looked startled, that razor in one hand. “Three months,” he said, back to the monitor. I nodded. Content. Three months, I can take. Three months flew by. “Can I run?” I asked. “No,” he said. “You have an ACL injury. Don’t run at all.” Apart from a rather long list of other donts. I went to another doctor. He was more sympathetic although he couldn’t fathom either why I would want to risk everything to run. I am not a professional athlete. I am not a sportsperson. Why then, should I want to run?

But the second doctor told me something I never forgot. “Listen to your body. If there is pain, it’s your body talking to you.” And so I went back. I learned to listen to my body. I worked on improving strength and fitness. Then slowly, towards the latter half of this year I started to run. Body didn’t tell me to stop. So I ran. 20 minutes 3 times a week. And then, one Thursday, I didn’t stop at 20. I was angry that day. I think it was last month. So angry that I felt that I needed to get it out. Anger, if nothing, is corrosive. I finished 3.10 km in 20 minutes. And then finished 5km in 28 minutes. You know why I love to run? Because of this. When I run, I don’t think. It’s just me and my body. Try running when you are distracted. You find that you cannot. In that sense, running is meditative. It can block out thoughts. Completely. For those few moments, I can be at peace, not in this vortex my mind occupies all the time.

Last week was enervating physically. The cysts I have leave me with a dull ache most of the time, and then they sap me of all energy. On Saturday, I had to pause, take a break at just 10 minutes while running. I hated that. Today was no different. A migraine and nausea ate away. That dratted tiredness too lurked like a monster. I got on the treadmill with trepidation. And that’s when I thought. Sometimes, I ought not to listen to the body. Because there is something way more powerful than the body. The mind. So I told my mind to do what my body didn’t want to do. It was slower. More painful. But at 34 minutes, I finished my 2nd 5k run. This sounds very self-paenish. Yet, beyond the culled remains of each day, it is wonderful to know that the mind can obey you where the body cannot. And that miracle of running is what I crave. Each time.

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