Hi everyone.. I know most of the readers here are looking for food ideas, please don't mind my fitness posts. If you don't want to read about fitness please click on the food label above and just head over to the food-only posts. I love food too! :)
Those of you who are still reading, many thanks! Very sweet of you to humor me! :) There are bound to be some people here who occasionally mull over getting active, being healthy, etc etc,.. stuff I have heard and thought about too. Maybe you will get active and maybe you won't. It's ok. Don't take pressure. You will get active when you want!
And you don't have to run to be active. I am not necessarily advocating running here. If you are considering getting active in some way, do whatever activity you think is fun. Don't pick something boring that you are bound to quit. Dance. Go for a walk. Take your kids for a hike on your local park trail. Jump up high every time you see SRK on the TV. ;) Getting active is all this is about. If these posts give you some food for thought, that is enough.
Also, I feel running has served me in ways that have influenced my all-round life, not just my health. That is why I persist in writing these posts! Even if the topic is running, other factors like motivation are pretty general. And I think someday somebody who may need that little boost (or I, myself) might drop by. Then these posts will be there for them.
So, on to the running post..
Why do I run?
Just to get out - No matter how lame this might sound.. this is the honest, unromantic reason why I started to run. I got sick of being indoors all the time. But there was nowhere I had to go. It was freezing outside. And I was tired of sitting in the house. So I went to the gym. Gyms and large motorized-equipment are a bit scary to me. So I did the tamest thing I could imagine.. walk on the treadmill. But this walking-on-the-spot business very rapidly got boring. And no surprises I quit going to the gym.
Back to square one.. getting bored in the house.. cold outside.. Ok now, this time I knew there was no point in quitting the gym. So back to walking again. But this time I started reading up about running and started a run-walk program (Couch to 5K) on the treadmill, joined an online runner's forum that gave me advice on newbie-runner cautions and motivation. In a few days I realized that running is not too bad.. I was enjoying it! :)
To wear sporty clothes - I have never been sporty in my entire life. I was that person who insists on playing only ghar-ghar because everything else makes me sweat. Now, I have a set of runner clothes!! It's actually quite fun to see myself dressed up, looking all runner-like :D
To be gross - Aah we are getting warm here. You just have to trust me on this one.. particularly if you are new to your gym or exercising. No one out there cares what a runner looks like.
When you are running, you are sweating rivulets. Your face is tomato-red. You are either desperately gasping for breath with your mouth open, tongue hanging out or pressing with one hand the right side of your torso, hoping that stitch in your belly goes away before you fall off the treadmill. All in all, you are so uncoordinated, gross and dirty that people no longer have any expectations from you. It is enough if you don't aim your sweat shots at their feet or blow your nose in their face. (This.. on a food blog!! Raam-Raam!!)
But yes, runners are allowed to be as gross and awkward as they want. It's one time you can completely lose your inhibitions, no alcohol involved.
To eat what ever I want - In less colloquial terms, health benefits. People often start running for weight-loss. This is a good point. And yes, if I eat too much cake, I do just think "I'll run it off tomorrow".
But more than weight-loss, physical activity provides a major boost to your overall well-being. When you run, endorphins are produced and when those kick-in, you get a major "happy" high! :) This is actually a significantly important reason for me to persist in running. When I am running, the positive aspects of the most heartbreaking projects just shine through like spotlights! Some of the best ideas I get are while I am on a run!
To make friends - I run alone.. by myself. But, there appears to be some cosmic connection between runners! Whenever I see another person running on the street, I feel a strange kinship with him. Dude, I feel your pain, I feel your joy! Run, Forest, run! The fat lady huffing along the side of the street, I feel like she is my friend! What's more, it's not just me. Runners are really friendly to other runners. When I am running and I see another person running, every time they will nod to me or wave or at least grunt and give some brief sign of acknowledgment! Some really long-time runners too will sometimes give me a thumbs up or say "You're running good!" and you will find me beaming through the rest of my run! :)
Without trying to join any group, I have somehow become part of a group - a group of people who are bound by a single activity! We don't know each other, we don't particularly remember each person we see running. But when I am running by myself, every runner out there is sending me goodwill.. hoping that I have a good run!
To win every day - When I am running, I usually have a goal, say, "Run 40 minutes" or "Run 3 miles". These goals are usually set by whatever training plan I am following at that point. The plans usually set something for the whole week - Sunday rest, Monday 2 miles, Tuesday rest, Wednesday 2 miles, Thursday walk for 30 mins, Friday rest, Saturday 3 miles. Every day, I have to meet the goals of this plan. On 2-mile-days, running 2 miles is the goal. On rest days, rest is the goal. Long-run days are the time of reckoning! If I have been consistent all week, then I can make it through the 3 miles long-run. If I have slacked off all week even doing 2 of those 3 miles may be too hard.
But who cares about all these numbers? So I run 2 miles, 3 miles.. what's the big deal! The deal is.. SUCCESS!!!!!! Every time I run just a little bit longer than before.. I have succeeded in my goals! No matter what happens in the rest of my life, running is the one thing that gives me success every single day! Every time I reach a new distance, that success stays with me for the rest of the week! So most certainly I will push hard and get my success today! No one will know I ran 2.9 miles or 3.1 miles or what, but I will know!
I only have to beat myself yesterday to win today. I set my own targets. I set my own pace. I am in full control! And I love it! :)
Cheers and thanks for reading!!
PS: These mile and time numbers are generic and arbitrary in this post. Don't take them too seriously.