Fitness

Did you try the #100DaysOfRunning challenge?

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How #100DaysOfRunning turned into a time to dwell on life’s great truths and little joys alike

#100 days of running. Thank you Priya for getting me going! Priya went the extra mile, came home, did magical things with my watch and mobile, downloaded and synced stuff to various apps and has yanked me into the world of running and fitness apps.

99 Days more of running.

That was my first ‘100 Days of Running’ (HDOR) post. With it was a photograph of those in my running group who had signed up for the global challenge that required us to run for 100 consecutive days for a minimum of two kilometres a day. We then had to upload our daily run on to the HDOR app (I clocked 572.9 km in 115 hours and 25 minutes. Two others in my group clocked 1,000 kilometres).

We met every morning at 5.45 am and ran together for the next hour or so (in my case, I also broke into a walk). For 31 days after I started, I would religiously upload the group selfie till I bumped into a dear but exasperated friend Rajini who threatened to block me on FB if I did not find something more interesting to post other than pictures of myself, all of which looked the same! “Learn to pose or pout or do something different!’ she snapped. I sulked, but had to grudgingly admit she had a point. The dishevelled, boiled-lobster look was not something one should post again and again, no matter how pretty the trees in the background. So I decided to look around as I ran.

#100Days
  • Hundred Days of Running is a fitness movement which started in 2015 to encourage people to make running a part of their lives, a habit, and a way towards better fitness. The event has seen more than 15,000 runners across India and around the globe commit to run daily through 100 days of summer’s hottest months. The most number of participants are from India, with 11,316 of them covering a total distance of 39,86,603 kilometres.

Worrying about what I would post that day shifted the focus from my throbbing feet to a less painful activity: thinking. I began to pay more attention to the conversations I had and to my surroundings. There were days when I just ran and felt there was nothing to highlight, yet, as I walked home post run, something would give, and there, I had an FB post.

My HDOR posts included snapshots from my day. Of a peacock dancing outside my window, the flaming Gulmohur trees, the Miyawaki forest I ran past, the solitary guy who did push-ups, squats, planks right there on the roadside, unmindful of the pointy gravel. (He turned out to be an ex-fauji just retired, returned from Tripura.) I shared loads of links to articles I had enjoyed reading. When I had 86 days more to go, I shared a link to one about the Buddhist monks’ 1,000-day challenge, and vowed to tone down my showing-off. There was also mention of the books and authors I read in the 100 days. Colin Thubron’s Shadow of the Silk Road, Amitav Ghosh’s Gun Island, Irving Stone’s The Agony and the Ecstasy, Shanta Gokhale’s One Foot on the Ground: A Life Told Through the Body...

Running, I learnt, was a time to dwell on life’s great truths and plan menus. When combined with social media, it was also a way of sharing day-to-day experiences that would otherwise go unrecorded. Like the time the flower lady Karupaatha and I chatted for a bit. “She is easily over 80 years old. Her husband is home-bound. She walks miles every day to earn a living. As it is a Friday, she says she has earned a little more than usual. As you can see, she looks happy. ‘One more round and then home,’ she smiles. 16 days more for me to go. What about Karupaatha?”

I also got to show off. When there were 22 days more to go, my mom shared her coffee and this family story with an exhausted me: When Rabindranath Tagore visited Mysuru, he was invited to watch a play put up by her uncle Varadachar. Tagore said he could only spend a few minutes watching the performance. He arrived, was welcomed warmly, was offered the best seat and was given a brief about the play. Tagore was so taken that he sat right through it. Varadachar’s company was called Ratnavali Theatre, and Ma says that office still stands in Mysuru!

Did you try the #100DaysOfRunning challenge?
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Cutting to the final day, a big gang of HDOR runners in the city gathered to run. This is how it went: Everyone overtook me. I paused and bowed my head respectfully in front of places of worship I passed by, made way to those behind me, thanked the volunteers and only broke into a run as soon as I spotted a photographer.

As I ran the last leg, I wondered what I would write on FB. A collage of my posts perhaps? I hear Rajini’s voice, and so just wrote ‘Done and dusted’. Maybe I should have written ‘Also ran’.

Things one DOES NOT say to a fellow runner:

Are you running the 5k? (when you fully know it is a 7k run).

This segment we are running is uphill.

By the way, crawling is an option.

Don’t worry about trailing behind so much. It is all about finishing, not winning.

You are doing good Ma’am, for your age (from an equally grey-haired volunteer whose only job is to clap and cheer as you pass him by).

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Printable version | Sep 16, 2019 6:15:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fitness/my-100daysofrunning-experience/article29012932.ece

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