Registered for Tomorrow’s Marathon? Dropping Out Because You’re Unprepared? Think Again!

This is for all those, who like me, registered very enthusiastically for the half-marathon/marathon in July and were already training or had started doing so in earnest, but have since, for a variety of reasons, not been able to get into adequate shape and are now not too confident of running or are thinking of dropping out and doing a no-show tomorrow. It is for all of us who can’t help but get irritated by all those stupid feel-good articles about the event, where previous runners, or the “oldest” or the “youngest” or the “100 marathon” participants are being profiled in an attempt to generate a positive buzz about the race, but which only serve to depress us further.
I started this column in December 2008, with a piece, titled “What I write about, when I write about running”. I had touched upon my motivation for running and had written. “I’ve started focusing on the anger; on the terrorists, on the events, on the enemy. This helps pump up the adrenaline and endorphins…”. This time unfortunately, there is no such “greater” motivation.
Then in May, when I started my training schedule, I wrote a piece, called “130 days”, for the number of days left for the marathon. In some kind of runner’s euphoria, I had actually come up with these words, “And yet in the end, it comes down to just one elemental issue. The simple act of running! Putting on a pair of shoes, with shorts or a track-suit and a T-shirt, without any fancy equipment, getting out into the open, either in a garden of sports track or on the road and pounding the ground, one foot after another, on and on, emptying your mind of all unnecessary thought, zen-like, focusing on just one goal; running.” Currently, the mind that stringed this together, is a complete stranger to me!
And then somewhere in September/October, it all collapsed like Port-au-Prince did two days ago. There was no time to run or train. The few times I was able to shoe-up, only drove home the fact that I was out of shape and in no condition to run a targeted 2 1/2 hour half-marathon. By early-December, I had mentally decided to forego this one, simply because it made no sense at all to run without adequate training and without some kind of timing goal.
But then two things happened. The first was the announcement that we would get to run over the Bandra SeaLink. The second was a realization after speaking to some friends, that I needn’t run with a purpose…I could just stay at the back of the pack, and enjoy myself, partly running, partly walking, and have a good time! The last time, I had taken the race too seriously…perhaps this time I could go there and have some fun!
Once I had filtered this idea through both, my right and left-brains, it just began to make a lot of sense. Even with a slow run/walk, you can usually finish the course in reasonable time. Moreover, what is the certainty that the Sealink will be a permanent fixture of the course next year as well? What if this is a one-time chance to walk/run on it? Would you want to miss that?
In the last few days, I have successfully sold this logic to a few of my friends who, like me, had decided to opt out, but have now decided to show up, just for the heck of it.
And as for the serious running…there’s always next year.


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