Running My Own Race
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. Thomas A. Edison
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle
Running a marathon had been one of the many ‘to do’ activities on my wish list. It was pending for a long time, but always existed as a task to be accomplished. I had heard it to be a difficult race and that it required lot of physical and mental resilience to complete. In national Police Academy, during our basic training course, we had a tough training regime. Physical fitness was one of the most important contents of this training and I had completed this with flying colors but that was in year 1997. Now after a long gap, running a marathon seemed a perfect test for my physical and mental faculties.
There was a new beginning in August 2014, when I was posted at Mumbai. In Jan 2015, I ran my first marathon. But an important question that came to me immediately after I decided to run the marathon was, whether my physique would support? Some people discouraged me by saying that this is not the age to take up running as you might damage your knees. Few said, what is the idea of running a race where it takes a long time and some, jokingly though said, whom are you going to impress at this age?
Since I had already made my decision to give it a try, I decided to go ahead with self-training. Also, seeing so many people on the streets of Mumbai practicing regularly added to my resolve. As I began to Practice, I realized that running was more important than timing for amateur runners. One of my friends rightly pointed out that in marathon every one runs at his or her own pace. Forget about timing, if you complete the race, that is a reward enough. The joy of having finished the marathon is enough to make issues like ‘time taken’ irrelevant in the first instance. The amateur runners run for the joy of it and that is the meaningful part of this race. Only after running the first race successfully does one push the goalpost further away and decides on time frames to complete the race.
Having made my resolve to run the race, I decided to accept the challenge head on. Getting out of bed was the first hurdle I had to cross. One fine morning, I spent some time thinking about it and a name kept flashing in my mind. It was Fauja Singh, the legendary runner who is still running at the age of hundred plus. If he can have the resolve to run at this age and running regularly for so many years, then why can’t I? I accepted the challenge and started preparing for marathon at each day break. This was the last time I deliberated whether to run a marathon or not and to wake up at dawn to practice for it or not. Since then I have run many marathons and wish to run many more.
I did not take any formal training but started on my own. Initially a friend of mine practiced with me but he developed some heel problem so stopped running. For my second marathon at Mumbai, I practiced all alone. It is actually difficult to run alone and one has to be highly motivated to do so. However, after completing the race you feel contended, satisfied and above all you have a sense of achievement that is beyond achieving any monetary goals or any materialistic target.
Actually, running the marathon was a means for me to push against the self-imposed barriers of age and mindset. It was a means to again taste the sweetness of a hard-won victory, won with courage and dignity. I feel, this is what a person should actually understand. The rat race of life actually imprisons us in our own chains of desires and we use all and any weapons of deceit and lies and falsehoods to reach our targets. But the real meaning of success lies in courage, true strength and living with honour. Only then, can we attain contentment. A person who wins through cheating, would never appreciate what he has but would always be unhappy about what he does not have. And while running the marathon you are only running against your own weaknesses both physical and mental like sloth. And no cheating can make you win. So run in the race of life like its your personal marathon and only way to winning is through hard work and above all not giving up at any stage.
In the end the important question is, what did I accomplished by running a marathon?
1. I proved the point that with practice you can achieve your goal.
2. I experienced the thrill of running with so many enthusiasts.
3. I wanted to understand whether there is any age limit to run a marathon. I learnt that there is none.
4. I got rid of my inhibitions.
5. Our body is amazing, the more you work on it, the more it responds.
6. I set an example before my children and people close to me including my friends.
7. You have to take out time from your, “SO CALLED BUSY SCHEDULE,” as everyone has 24 hours in a day. So, no excuses.
To conclude, I realized that marathon is nothing but a mental game. If you have not trained your mind enough then you can’t run and complete the race. There is a continuous fight between mind and body. If you have a strong mindset you will win, otherwise you will lose. While preparing for marathon you will have to continuously tell your mind that ‘YOU CAN DO IT’. Those who win are not extraordinary people but they plan and train themselves in an extraordinary way.
So, the mantra is, ‘‘those who practice, dedicate and work hard will always be the winner’’. Always aim high, that is not the prerogative of few and be the winner.
Always remember, “winners don’t quit and quitters don’t win.”