It was perhaps my brain fade moment when I registered for half-marathon.
My colleague chuckled, “Take a few snaps with company T-shirt to honour the sponsorship. Thereafter, abandon the run anytime you wish.”
I was never good at sports. My schooldays sporting activity was limited to recess time football, where entire boys of the class would divide in two teams and compete with a small rubber ball. Being non-athletic, in colony cricket matches, I was asked to field behind the wicketkeeper where runs did not count. At my college there were gym and other opportunities to improve my fitness. But my relationship with exercises was always been like that of an insincere one-sided lover. I was regularly irregular. So, I got the disadvantages without the benefits.
‘Is a turnaround possible?’
I started browsing sites giving clues for non-runners.
Most advised for training in dawning hours. Early to rise might be healthy, wealthy, and wise. But it was too boring for me.
On the D-day I was feeling lazy and almost dragged myself to the ground.
My mood freshened up and indolence vanished seeing people of all sizes and shapes. They were all in colorful tees and moving towards the starting point from all possible directions.
‘If they can, why can’t I?’
In no time, there was an announcement. All were ready to get, set, and go.
At the start, I was almost pushed by a big crowd. I had the same feeling of alighting from an overcrowded local train. I moved with the flow. I went past first a few kilometers at ease.
Thereafter, I was merely jogging slowly, stopping only at the hydration stations. There were volunteers cheering from the sides. I remembered the annual sports days in school which used to be dull days for me. Other than shouting out a friend or two, I used to move around the playground aimlessly. I enjoyed the current role reversal situation and felt like a champion on a mission.
Towards the midway, I started struggling. But I didn’t stop. My endurance came from my everyday cycling to office which was roughly ten kilometer away from my residence. I had also jogged to office thrice in the last two months as a part of my preparation.
By the time I completed two-thirds of distance, I was breathing hard and sweating profusely as the surface below my feet slid backward reluctantly. I kept filling my mouth with Glucon-D. I kept trudging forward.
I was into the last few kilometers. My body was about to give up. My primary school math-race event flashed before me. I had solved the sum first, but had lost the race. That day my math teacher was in tears. I felt momentarily that my teacher was at the other end of the marathon waiting to embrace me. I kept striding. The drums and bands near to finish line boosted my energy to sprint the last hundred meters.
I conquered 21; and with it, my many inhibitions.
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