Tuesday, January 20, 2015

....Running Chronicles...

I have had an interesting experience during my long run over the weekend.
Before I share that let me digress a bit. We all know how much I love running. Ever since I have come back from the UK I have started running in the open more aggressively. Earlier running in the open was restricted to a few odd days in a month. I was more of a treadmill girl. "The controlled weather" was too tempting to get going. The past few months have been different. I have logged more miles. I have challenged my body more and the experience has been fantastic.
There were days when I cried out loud because of the-most-dreadful- Side Stitch ever. There were times when I fought my runny nose like a maniac. There were times when I had more blisters than  toe nails on my feet. I think I shouldn't really complain because for every complaint of mine I have had a shining moment. It all makes it worth it.

Coming back to my story, running out in the open has been exhilarating. I went out for a winter run the other day at 12:30 PM. Yes, I like the fact that it is cold. It gives me more flexibility and I can run in broad daylight. There was an old lady walking on the track. Her steps were short but continuous. She was slow but rhythmic. She looked in her 70's.. We wrapped up our session together and she asked me about running. She asked me the total distance I ran and my time. I was kind of surprised but then I gave her the details (1:02:47 / 10kms). She had seen me running there earlier also. She smiled and told me her story.

Circa 1965: The place where I am staying at the moment was a small village back then. There were no fancy apartment complexes. There were just independent houses, bungalows etc. She was a 20 year old young bride and was finding it very difficult to adjust with her new family. Her husband started taking her out for night walks to a nearby park to blow off her pent up emotions. They would sneak out from the back gate once the lights were out. After 6-7 months of walking religiously they started running for 1 minute towards the end of their walk routine. They gradually increased it and soon after they were running for an hour. She had no clue of the distances she logged. Those were the good old days of no-gizmo-running.. To this date she exercises and after almost 50 years you can call it an addiction. Nobody in her family ever found out about their adventure.
I was in awe of her. I asked her so many questions. I told her about my half marathon experiences and she was quite happy. Sadly her kids never got in to running but she walks 10kms daily. The whole incident has kind of stayed in my head. While saying bye she just said - " Keep running. It makes you stronger"

I kept thinking about her and probably she saw her reflection somewhere in me. She looked at me with love in her eyes. Her affection was genuine. There was a lot of admiration when I talked about my half marathon experience. She was equally excited about meeting a fellow runner. Meeting her was different. She felt proud of me and I felt perfect in her eyes.
Do you know how amazing it feels? For a moment I forgot about everything. It wasn't a runners high. It wasn't megalomania. It wasn't narcissism. It was just awareness of how I was being perceived by a woman who could easily be my hero.

We keep bumping in to each other every now and then in the same park. She likes to walk under the winter sun and we silently acknowledge each other and say bye before leaving.

It's been a while. I hope there are no awkward silences. 


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