Sunday, December 06, 2009

Retrospect on running the 10k run

I ran the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 10K run today. I managed to finish it in one second short of 80 minutes, which I consider pretty good based on my training. It was the first time I was stretching my body so much. I had been practicing for it for a bit now, but even the longest practice run had taken me only about 6kms.

I am not writing this post to say I ran the race. A tweet would have sufficed for that and that I did earlier today. What I want to highlight upon is the amount of effort one has to put into doing something which involves one's body. Being from a conservative middle class Indian family, I was encouraged to do well in studies and discouraged from spending time in sports related activities since it was considered wasted time. Not that I didn't have my share of playing sports - I ended up playing quite a bit of diverse set of sports, starting from Cricket, Table Tennis (Ping Pong to those who live between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans), Chess and dabbled in Tennis and football too. That said, the general assumption, when you come from that background, is that sports (and I am talking about the casual type, not the professional type) is easy and studies is not.

I want to break that myth. The fact is that running long distances is hard, very hard. Seriously. Any long distance running beyond the trivial takes a lot of effort - both physical and mental. Thats the key differentiating factor - in studies, your physical fitness is insignificant - if you trained your mind, you were good. Running is about both - physical and mental endurance. You need to plan, focus, concentrate and improvise, both in training as well as execution. That's the key - you need to bring both your body and mind into alignment.

Having done this today, there are 2 individuals I need to thank. The first is Shyam Mani, aka @fox2mike. He is a fitness freak, but more than that, he is an encouraging mentor. When I had brought up the idea of running for this run, he instantly agreed to helping me out. He ran the first few training sessions and always offered invaluable inputs on training, running, and the mental games involved. Many thanks to him.

Second is my dear wifey. She encouraged me from day one and egged me on to do this. Waking me up at 6 and sweet talking me to head out; having tea alone (her favorite coupling thingy) while I was out running; or waiting to have dinner, while I switched from morning to evening - all of this helps when you are trying to achieve something thats difficult for you. Many thanks to her too.

What's next? I am not sure - there will definitely be more running involved - but whether I want to stretch on distance or improve on time is something I haven't decided yet. Sometime soon I hope to decide.

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