Since the race and my return to reality, I have been at a bit of a loose end. I don’t know what to do with myself as I have spent the last 3 years afflicted with tunnel vision. One race. One goal. One path.
Over the past few months I have been in a state of fugue vis-a-vis my training and hence with my life, in general. I let things rest, expecting some clarity to come with time. 6 months later, and nothing. I spent time with my piano, with casual running, with work. But it is not the same. The drive, the focus, the overall sense of satisfaction has disappeared.
I have started training with the gang, albeit am always two steps behind them, as the willingness to bear pain has dissipated. So, speed work is an epic fail- and long runs…oh, how I love long slow runs. The sanctity of Sunday runs is maintained. Consequently, training is erratic, at best.
Along with my running, what I have been dragged into, literally, is swimming three times a week. All these years I have always looked forward to Mondays as my sleep-in morning. Monday was(!) my rest day. Alas, this year, I am in the pool at 6.45 am for a session with the coach and 3 amazing triathletes! It is good for recovery, Sanjay tells me. I am not sure if I believe him! I struggle to keep up with them and matter-of-factly halve the number of laps per drill when the coach instructs us. This much swimming is enough to kill me! Nonetheless, I have begun to enjoy these sessions and thus have moved my rest day to Tuesday, which has turned into a nap-in-the-day day, as my body recovers from the madness of the weekend (I’m including the Monday morning madness with the weekend).
My first swimming lesson was about 6 weeks ago. From panting after each length, I have now progressed to being able to swim 4 lengths at a stretch. The coach says I am doing well and I am thrilled! Several times over the past few years I had tried to learn how to swim freestyle but it always got side-lined when training for the Mumbai full marathon peaked. This year, I plan to keep my thrice a week swims on. Instead of running 5 days a week I now run 4 days a week.
As if running and swimming was less, one day, a road bike, along with the trainer showed up at home. I really didn’t have a choice but to start cycling, as well. How I have cursed Pulin for this! I have no room left in my room to walk around, with the piano on one side and the bike on the other!
Oh, how grateful I am for friends like these!
There are friends who inspire you and show you how to dream
And then there are friends, who hold your hand, give you courage, allay your fears and promise to be by your side.
We need both kinds.
And I am grateful for them.
This year, to integrate both these sports, while training for a full marathon in 2 months, is a juggling act. Along with a plethora of workouts now to choose from, now I also need to decide which sport. Ah me, the complexity of a simple life of fitness! As a result of all this, I now spend my days in a perpetual state of exhaustion. I feel like I am the zombie I used to be 4 years ago, when I trained for my first real marathon and my body was just getting accustomed to the hard workouts. I am eating like a demon and enjoying it!
Having done this for a month I understand how each day brings me a new high. A new sense of achievement. And real joy, yes, as we all know, is in training and beating ourselves. Being stronger today. Progress is important, be it slow or fast. It is imperative to keep moving forward.
As I mull over where I have reached today, with these 3 sports, I realize that swimming had been in my peripheral vision for a few years, that once I would reach a certain plane with my running I would try my hand at triathlons. That is why it has happened. Unknowingly, I have drifted towards it. Our thoughts really determine our course of actions, consciously as well as unconsciously. We gravitate towards what we believe we want. Everything has a time of its own, we just need to realize when that is and seize the opportunity. And then if another good thing comes your way, grab it too. It could overwhelm you at start, but where there is a will ether is a way. Life needs to be led wider and richer. We don’t always need a goal, we just need direction.
As I look for meaning in each day, a purpose for our time on earth, I see that we are but minute specks in an abundant universe. All we can do is lead our life in the best way we can, by living each day filled to the brim. By squeezing how much ever life we can out of each day.