Currently I am reading the second book by Lance Armstrong called,"Every Second Counts."To quote a few lines from the second chapter,"I know this much about myself: the surest way to get me do something is to tell me I can't.Explain to me that I can't possibly win the Tour De France again,and I have no choice but to try to win the Tour De France again." I also think the same way , I love to take new challenges in life.I have always told my friends to set small target and achieve them.Running is one such thing where u get instant results and success.Most of the battles in life are fought against others but the battles against your own self are the most challenging ones.In running every extra mile gives you a reason to be happy and motivates you towards a higher goal.The only motivation for me was to experience that feeling of reaching the finishing line.It is your experiences that gives you meaning in life.What lies in store for you in the next extra mile can be seen only by going that extra one.I remember being on top of peak in the Ombattu Gudde trek.We had reached the top,very early in the morning after lots of climbing , the previous day.Me and my friend were the early ones to reach the top.The Sunrise we saw was probably the most beautiful one i have ever seen and the experience is something which I still cherish to this day.Same was the feeling that drove me to this and I confess that every step I took during the run was painfully sweet.
If you run alone there are times when you want to give up, but running amongst thousands of athletes gives you that extra burst of adrenaline to just keep pushing.I had already decided that I will not rest or take water before 15 km.In the Kolkota half marathon the milestones were kept at every half a kilometer.This was very helpful because every target set was for half a km and achieved in short span of time and then mentally I had to fight for the next half.The only problem was that the race started at 7 a.m. and by 8 it was very hot and humid.I had completed the first 10 in an hour but the main challenge was the next half.If you are on the winning side of a football game you can understand that how endless the last 10 minutes were.This was the phase of the race between 12 to 15 km where every half km,seemed to be so long.But I stuck to my plan and rested after 15 km.Drank some water , cooled down the body a bit and then started for the remaining.Finally managed to complete the race in 2 hours 18 minutes.My hero of the race was a 70 year old who undertook this task.I avoid being some body but I felt that I want to be him.The elation and joy of the whole episode is so intense that one would like to do it again and again.
The marathon meant a lot to me.I had decided to participate in one some 8 months back.I knew i had the stamina and i had tested my strength in treks and cycling trips.But the job life had added that extra kilos which i had to shed.Football was a great help in attaining this goal.This was just a physical goal which I had to achieve.The main fight was against the mind.Running is very demanding mentally , it requires a lot of focus and commitment.I did most of my practice from December to Feb, the winter season in North India.All those early mornings posed a huge challenge of leaving the warmth of the blanket.I remember running in the early mornings in fog and the chill in my noses.I loved having a beer or two in the weekends and reading late in the nights.But the experience was worth the sacrifices.The beer I tasted yesterday after long 9 months was the best beer i have ever had in my life.
The City of joy and lonely wanderings on the Howrah bridge:
After finishing the race when I went back to my hotel room , I felt very lonely.I took bath and had my breakfast.I decided that I could not stay there alone and in spite of the pain in the legs , I went to roam around the Chandini Market.One of the reasons why like Kolkota is that it is undiluted.Unlike other cities there has not been many infrastructural changes.The market here was a typical street market with hundreds of small shops.There were lots of mobile repairing ,hardware,luggage and crockery shops. Amongst the cluster of these shops were few food and tea outlets.I wandered for about an hour for no particular reason probably I forgot myself in the crowd.I bought few beers and went back to the hotel room.I was lucky to see three back to back episodes of FRIENDS on TV and it enhanced my mood.It was then when the hotel restaurant boy knocked to take the lunch orders and also know the cricket score.I did not want to have the beers alone and i just invited him to join me and he happily accepted.
Few hours spent with a total stranger was awesome and I felt how cricket unites the whole nation.We live in a world where people are connected with each other by a few comments and likes on Facebook.A time will come when people will have coffee online and some techie will sell this idea and feel proud on being an entrepreneur.Most of the time we live in world where we meet people who are similar to us both financially and on knowledge terms.But this conversation I had was a learning lesson of a different kind.You must have traveled a lot on trains but there will be one journey where u met someone and you still have the memory of him.
This new friend of mine had suggested to start early for Howrah as there were possibilities of a traffic jam.But the roads were deserted owing to the cricket match and I reached almost an hour before the departure time.I had had two highs one the runners high and then the barley effect.I would have not walked on the Howrah bridge owing to the pain , but then I had had a great day and this would make it even better.I made a round trip of the bridge on both the sides.Over the music of Pink Floyd I saw the gushing water and thought about the people who have the courage to jump from the bridge.I was reminded of all the red gulmohar trees besides the railway track and the bed of dry leaves in the forests.Ya this is the spring season here and I had a spring in my steps too.A good beginning to a runners life.