One Sunday morning in December at 9:40, it was still a bit cold outside with the fog melting and sun slowly peeping out, I was lacing up my shoes when my daughter asked “Dad, where are you going?” “Running,” I said.
“Now? but why so late?” she asked with a puzzled look. It was a good question, and I didn’t have a convincing reply. I was training for the Mumbai Marathon which was about a month away. My body was still jarring from the shock of being hauled from the comfort of the bed & blanket.
It wasn’t all that important for me to be heading out for a run that winter morning, I could have compensated for it the next day or the next of the next day. Why was I going out that late? Why was I even running a marathon? But there was something that was making me go.“Because I want to run,” I said.
The truth is, just as you are heading out for a run, that’s the worst possible moment explaining someone or even to yourself as to why you run. Running is tough. Running is a self-inflicted torture to your body. You have to endure physical & mental pain.
But everyday morning, like me, thousands and lakhs of people, world over do it. “Why do we do this to ourselves!” No one has been able to decode this and no one ever gives a sensible answer, but deep down, we all know the answer. Running brings us joy, like those kids running in the park in circles; they are happy, they are excited, they just can’t stop running.
Some runners say it is a childlike joy that keeps them running. They can run on a humid morning dripping with sweat or get soaked in the rain splashing through puddles.
Various studies have proven the immense health benefits of running — from conditioning of your heart and lungs, to efficient blood flow and oxygen throughout the body, it can aid in decreasing the risk of a heart attack.
Running is a great stress-reliever. Many runners enjoy reaching the “runners high” — that adrenaline rush, that euphoric, clear, and calm state they feel after a long run. The feeling of being with themselves is like a solitary retreat albeit for a few hours from the daily noise and disturbances that surrounds us. We are able to come at ease with a relaxed state of mind.
A mind where ideas and pictures come and go. The value of solitude is priceless. We all have our comfort zone — our refuge from pain and stress or even a loss. For some, running is a place to escape to; for others, it affords an opportunity to rejuvenate, reinvent, and release.
The greatest gift of running is that you can challenge yourself and extend those predefined boundaries, and you dig deeper than you ever thought possible, you not only become proud of yourself but also those who love you bear witness to the inner strength you have unearthed. Just take one step at a time. You become a new you....