(Jumping out of bed) Ohmigod! Its 7.10 am, who starts running so late? Chalo, it’s ok now, I have to do only 20 x 1-minute reps, so what’s the big deal…It’s not 1km repeats! Changed and downstairs, by 7.30 am I begin my warm-up. 20 minutes or 4 songs, how should I time it I grudgingly wonder, as I slowly pick up my feet and start a slow shuffle. After 2 songs, I look at my watch, and decide that 15 minutes is enough! I am bored already. Whatever man! I take a few deep breaths, a swig of water, I square my shoulders and am ready for my “speedwork”!
Lap 1: What a joke, 1-minute reps. How is this real? The minimum that I have ever run are the 200m reps when I was training for the fast 5k!
Lap 2: (a bit preoccupied) It was so much fun painting yesterday and playing the piano after.
Rest 2: Yes, it is a whole new way of living.
Lap 3: Who would have imagined that I could do so many different things in a day?
Rest 3: And the best part is that this is the stuff that I had always wanted to do.
Lap 4: (nodding my head in agreement with myself! To an onlooker I looked crazy!) Yeahhhhhh!
Rest 4: That is SO true. This is how I would have spent my time, if I had so much free time.
Lap 5: So slow! Where is my mind! Focus focus!
Rest 5: Much better, my heart is really racing now, I am doing well.
Lap 6: So ya, I have really been doing everything that I love doing, these days. The books, Shakespeare and all that.
Rest 6: Yuck, who is this guy from the building running here? I have never seen him before. What a pain, I will have to make sure that we don’t cross paths!
Lap 7: He is running so slow… must be a newbie! SO!!!! This would have been my life if I was not a runner!
Rest 7: Of course, imagine how much time running has taken up. How much mind space and physical energy. Over all these years!
Lap 8: I am going to push it now that I am warmed up.
Rest 8: True, even if I didn’t run, I would have done some “form of fitness” or the other.
Lap 9: Hahaha, and how I used to laugh at those who said they ran for “fitness” or as an “exercise”. You run to RUN. ‘Coz you are a runner!
Rest 9: Ya, but to imagine, that this would have been my life if I were not a runner!
Lap 10: What a revolutionary thought. I could never have imagined a life without running. And look at me now! If someone had asked me that question I would have had no answer! Who could have EVER imagined a life without running?
Rest 10: (panting now) Ya, these twice a week one hour runs on this 200m track of the building hardly qualifies as running.
Lap 11: Well, it’s not bad. Look how much else I am able to do. And am getting a different sort of fitness.
Rest 11: (snorting) Who cares? What does that even mean “different sort of fitness”?
Lap 12: Start fast, rest was over 8 seconds ago. Pick up my feet, I need to pump my arms. These reps are only 1 – minute- so I need to go all out.
Rest 12: Oh man, need this rest, that was quick!
Lap 13: (streaming with sweat now): Wow, this is like an alternative reality. Me as a non-runner. Who would have thought I would evolve into this new person, into “fitness”!
Rest 13: But the real question is, what will I do once I CAN run?
Lap 14: Hmmmm, good question. Let me think…I love my books and piano, and the new painting, so that cannot go. Strength training is not fun, but I have gotten into a routine. So hmmmm. What will I give up?
Rest 14: Does that mean that if I were not a runner I would be living like this?
Lap 15: I am tired now, 5/6 more to go. Lap 39 on my Garmin. What does that mean? How many are done? But so- the real question…would I have lived like this, if I didn’t have the last 15 years of my running?
Rest 15: Breathe breathe breathe, that was hard. My thoughts are really pushing me!
Lap 16: But if I never ran, then I would not be doing this workout, killing myself in the heat, in this building, trying to hold onto whatever running I can!
Rest 16: Ohmigod of course, then you would have not been so crazy.
Lap 17: But my life is so much fuller now than before when I used trained like a maniac for those races…running dominated my diet, my schedule, my LIFE.
Rest 17: I loved it. Because I lived more. Go now, its 48-second rest instead of 30…I am dreaming!
Lap 18: Oh ya, I learned to live more. Live more. What does that mean? Live more.
Rest 18: To get more out of life!
Lap 19: Only 2/3 more…Yay…It’s been fun today, and honestly, look at that guy, calling himself a runner, he started after me and stopped before me, what a loser! I can keep going.
Rest 19: (smiling) That’s because I am a runner! (thank god no one can see me smiling with myself!) Hahahaha…and life is a circle!
Lap 20: I am a runner I am runner I am a runner. So what if I am not running now. I am still a runner.
Rest 20: And I will always remain a runner. ‘Coz I have endurance, resilience, and all that jazz.
Lap 21: This may be an extra lap (my (dis)ability to count would have remained the same, runner or non-runner), but I will do it because I am a runner and I will ALWAYS complete what I have set out to do! Go, GO, GO!
Rest 21: Ya, die now, do funny things, like running. I should have simply worked out at home with my air-conditioning on and done that YouTube workout!
Cool down: “Normal” walk-jog… with my mind in a tizzy because of the running, the epiphany, and the heat!
The past month has felt like a scene from an alternative reality. Surreal, unnerving, and yes, incredibly frustrating and even depressing to think about. It’s an odd sort of marathon. We are still near the start, most likely, and no one knows how far it is to the end. The days blend into one another, and the weeks, and now the months. I think accepting the “new reality” and understanding what that means for us as amateur athletes, is the lack of visibility for how life will “go back to what we were used to”. Running isn’t going anywhere. For most of us, there’s nothing to lose and nothing to prove right now.