POWER OF MIND
This happened on my Sunday run 2 weeks back. We were given a target of running 21 kms.
At 5.25 am, 5 of us huddled into a Honda City and started driving towards the start point. Throughout the journey, we debated on how much we would run that day. All of us were clear that we wouldn’t run the prescribed 21 kms. The decision to be taken was whether to run 15 kms or 18 kms. By the time we reached, majority decided to run 18 kms. I too agreed knowing that it was the right decision. But that didn’t mean that I felt prepared to run 18 kms at that moment.
It was a perfect weather to run. Mumbai was finally getting its dose of winter and for runners, this kind of temperature helps. There was a lot of crowd as this was to be the last long distance running before the SCMM 2016 for the half-marathoners. There was a lot of excitement and light banter all around.
We started our run at 5.50 am sharp. Inspite of the great weather, I didn’t feel inclined to run 18 kms. We usually run a loop of 7.5 kms to complete 15 kms and 9 kms to complete 18 kms. By the time I reached 7 kms, I decided that I would do only 15 kms.
I felt a bit guilty about this decision because during the run up to the 7th km, I kept telling myself, “Positivity & Responsibility are your top 5 Gallup Strengths. You always complete what you take on etc. etc.” You may wonder, why the reference to the Gallup Strengths. Well, I had just attended a workshop the previous day on the topic and was eager to make an impactful entry in my journal and ofcourse, impress the other participants and my coach in our WhatsApp group with how I had applied my Strengths.
So now you can imagine how guilty I must have felt to turn back at 7.5 kms instead of running the 9 kms mark. “Positivity” being another Strength, my mental talk, had to change to make me feel good. For sometime I focused on my breathing. Then I told myself, “All is not lost. I will get back to the starting point and then run back another 3 kms and thus, complete 18 kms.” I was happy with this decision because now I wasn’t cheating on my “Responsibility” and I was using “Positivity” effectively. Ofcourse, there was a niggling fear that once I reach the starting point and see the warm, mouth watering muffins, I may just drop the thought of running any more that day.
On the return, when I completed 10th km, I realized that all this mental chatter was draining me. That’s when an advise that my husband and trainers from Striders (the company that trains more than half of Mumbai runners for marathons), struck me. They have told me many times to focus on my breathing and get into a rhythm. The recollection of that advice was most timely as it helped me to get into a comfortable zone for the next couple of kms.
Then once again the chatter took over. “Will I be able to run back after reaching the start point? I have to somehow do 18 kms today. I must be inspired to run another 3 kms after reaching the starting point!” etc. etc. Just then a group of my friends who are running the full marathon came by. They had just started their run and asked me to join them. This group was running at an easy, comfortable pace. Thanks to them I managed to run 19 kms that day and got my personal best timing.
My learning from this run: I am a practitioner of the Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism philosophy of life wherein I have often heard that the environment around one is a reflection of one’s own thoughts, words and deeds. I think, that wonderful Sunday morning, I saw this in action.
I was keen to run 18 kms and was looking for ways in which this could happen. My environment supported my just so mystically.
Firstly, the recollection of the advice to get into a rhythm came just as I was getting mentally fatigued.
Secondly, the group of full marathoners came by just when I needed the motivation and energy Continue reading