My tryst with jogging

I devote this piece to all of you out there who apparently gave up on a challenge the first time they suffered failure. For me, it had come in the form of building my strength and will power to work towards a physical challenge I thought I would never overcome.

I have been walking, out of habit since the past 15 years from what started as a fitness gig. This has been interspersed, time and again with power training, yoga, dance, swimming and the kinds that didn’t last long enough to be part of my routine. Walking lasted for the sheer pleasure of how it felt much less strenuous, especially with a friend or two to keep your conversational explorations in tow. This had falsely acclaimed me a place at the higher end of the fitness spectrum, by friends and acquaintances.

This routine continued till about a year back when my friend who is a high octane workout buff invited me to have a 2-mile jog with her that I accepted with no second thoughts. I huffed, puffed and panted for what seemed like an endless stretch to keep in pace with a seemingly seasoned jogger, not to mention my ill-equipped lungs and shin splint that my middle-aged body stood witness to. It was a bitter-sweet experience that I took home with me that day, with mixed feelings of disappointment on one hand and motivation on the other.

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As chance would have it, 2 months later I enrolled for a 10 K race along with some enthusiastic friends and I had made up my mind to stretch my limits a bit further on every jogging session still making sure I didn’t hurt myself to the point of hating it. I realized that in order to gain speed you need to build strength and endurance. It is effective to alternate the run with power training sessions. Keep yourself hydrated during and after the run. Warm-up diligently before and after the run.When your legs can’t take anymore give short breaks and save yourself any injury. The season ended not too bad with the realization that I could jog at least 1 mile at a stretch huffing, puffing, limping (and blaming age)inclusive, leaving room for more improvement.

In quite contrast, following summer saw a nose-dive in the progressive chart of my strength, endurance and speed. My inactivity had seen an all-time high with a few impromptu strolls in the neighborhood to answer my guilt call. To add to it was a barrage of high calorific food that made its way to the gut in the winter holidays. It wasn’t before I put on a few pounds that I swung back to the regular walking routine that often came after long days at work!

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End of January saw the dawn of the next session of Cap 10 K practices for the race of 2015, that I envisioned as a nightmare for the fear of disappointing myself. Nevertheless, this was an opportunity to get back in shape, so I decided to join the band-wagon with much fan-fare. Enough precaution was taken to loosen up the muscles and increase heart rate through a set of dynamic stretching routine before the run and static stretches soon after, that seemed to have paid off well the first day, since I did come close to my target of continuous jog for more than 2 miles. I repeated the routine for the following week, with a steady pace of short strides, for a stretch of 3 miles causing no major discomfort to my legs! At this pace, there is anticipation of some improvement on speed and endurance in the coming weeks!

For more information on dynamic stretching, go to http://www.runnersworld.com/stretching/a-dynamic-routine

It did come as a revelation never to give in to initial feelings of failures or negative thoughts that visited my doubting mind. If you try hard enough, you just might as well prove yourself wrong more than once!

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Conscience!

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent!

Everyday, the media spits out disturbing stories where I hear the wail of an innocent girl abused, tears in a mother’s eyes whose child is abducted, and the haunting pain of a wife who lost her husband to war. It is a painful realization that our  world is losing consciousness and morality that has brought us at the altar of self destruction as human beings.The time has arrived for a shift in our understanding of real meaning of peace, love and harmony, on this tiny speck of dust that we call Earth.

Our conscience as a human race has come at crossroads with restlessness ruling the world, with constant friction between countries, between religions and castes, between races, and people coming at loggerheads at the drop of a needle. And for the shameless, lackadaisical attitude that turns a deaf ear and blind eye for all the injustice around us, we should rather be shameful. Sure enough, we have failed conscience!

One way we could bring more sanity to the war stricken minds that are more united in their hostility than love, is to teach the values of tolerance, compassion and harmony. It all starts from home, where we need to sow the seeds of righteousness in young minds from a very early age and be role models ourselves. If only educational institutions incorporated in its curriculum an agenda for awareness in our society to look beyond the differences of nations, color, creed or sex, a new generation of human race could evolve. If only places of worship became abode of enlightenment for altruism and selflessness and pure growth of inner self, rather than breeding grounds for shallowness, pretense and vulgar display of power and influence. If there were to be more holistic treatment of stress at work place that emphasizes on a healthy work-life balance, we would have less of machine-like humans. Even when we have the right tools for spiritual enrichment like the practice of yoga, meditation, and umpteen outlets for emotional catharsis, we fail to put them to right use. For us, peace is just a 5-letter word whose symbol we proudly flaunt on our shirts .It is time we took care of the inferno in the human minds that could consume the entire human race in its blaze than the most powerful nuclear weapon.

As we stand with heads held high on the pedestal of victory having conquered the world, unaware of our feet stained with blood from our ruthless, heartless actions, it is our conscience that we massacred. When man hollers and beats his chest for all his MANLY deeds, he is denounced the title of human, yet remains oblivious, and that is nothing but crucifixion of mankind!

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