Sunday, November 01, 2015

Back to the Path

After I got busy with my marathon preparation - since June -  I stopped going Sudarshan Kriya by myself.

Every Sunday at 7:00 AM, there is a refresher course - where an Art of Living teacher guides us in doing Suriya Namaskar, and a few Asanas, Pranayama and finally Sudarshan Kriya in Guruji's voice -  in our Apartment Complex party hall.  I used to attend them occasionally before, and after signing up for the Marathon - I stopped going.

On Sep 20th evening, after I finished the Half Marathon and was cooling my heels in the hotel room reading a book I picked up at Blossoms on Church Street - I get a WhatsApp message from Aditiji - she was my teacher when I attended the Art of Living Course in August, 2014. "Where are you, don't see you nowadays?". I was in such a good mood ( runners high ), and I immediately replied, "I was training for the Marathon. It is done. See you next Sunday".

After sending the message I wondered - Man is this sheer coincidence or is it all planned. Would be interesting to know the sequence of events in Aditiji's life which prompted her to send me the message  - perhaps that Sunday no one turned up and she went through her contacts to round up elements like me ( on-now-off-now ) 

That Saturday I told San, ( more off-now-rarely-on element ) - tomorrow lets go to the refresher meet. San incidentally was suffering from cough which started almost around Monsoon beginning and was not going away. She said perhaps the So-Hums will be of help and she readily agreed.

Sunday morning I wanted to sleep - no more long runs - it was the very next week after 4 months of running on Sundays - but San was all pumped up to go do Yoga. Seeing her charged up the enthu rubbed on to me, and we both went to the Party hall. 

We did all the Yoga, Pranayama and Kriya and by 9:00 when I opened my eyes - I felt the same feeling I got after running 12 kms during the marathon - that same calmness, the clarity of vision and mind - and being almost thoughtless. I just wanted to go sit under a tree, close my eyes and linger there. 

After that the next few days we continued doing the yoga and Sudarshan Kriya by ourselves. San's cough went off. Again - can be coincidence - the rains stopped - or the So-hums had an impact. I am finding more of the skeptic in me reducing and I am starting to believe in the meta-physical world. 

I am realising a few things. 

Breathing is the key to opening something amazing locked up within our bodies. From my early days of running to the current running form - my breathing has gone from huff and puff - to a gentle steady relaxed breathing. I can run for long distances without getting exhausted. Likewise the breathing we do during the Pranayama - especially the Ujjayi breathe ( )  and the fast paced Bhastrika ( ) - immediately puts the agitated mind in a calming state.Then the countless So-hums we do during Sudarshan Kriya takes it up a notch. 

Yoga is another crazy body hack. It would take a solid half an hour of pounding the road before I would start sweating profusely. Within 5 minutes - a fast paced Suriya Namaskar will have the same effect. I think I can only do 6 or 8 rounds of Suriya Namaskar. There are these Yogathon events ( like Marathon ) where they do 108 rounds - want to give it a shot sometime. I have some fatal attraction to these Marathons and Yogathons.  There are a few more asanas I have learnt which gets the heart racing in no time. 

There are a few Magic spots in the body. Chakras and Kundalini Energy ( , and Solar  Plexus ( - which Yoga and Breathing activates in a positive way. 

There is so much to tap into the India's century old secrets - Yogas and Kriyas. Since there was no scientific explanation I thought these were all VooDoo - but having experienced a glimpse of the "other side" - I want to continue unravelling the secrets. 

September 20 - The Half Marathon

Tl;dr : After preparing for a Full Marathon, I complete the Half Marathon - in just under 3 hours.

This reminds me of a tweet I read "Woman completes marathon without talking about it" - and thought about myself. Here I am chronicling each week of my Marathon training![ Starting here ]

Anyway - here is a brief write up of my running the Kaveri Trial Marathon 2015.

I had booked a cheap room near MG road, one of the fancy startups of 2015 - parallel to Church Street - where all the pubs are there. Woke up at 1:00 AM, freshened up and walked to the bus pick up point near Queen Victoria Statue. This is near the Chinnaswamy stadium - and till I reached I was not sure if the bus will be there - and was wondering what will the plan B be if the bus had already left or didn't show up.

Thankfully 2 buses were there - and a volunteer cross checked my name and let me in. I got in and immediately dozed off.

Took more than 2 hours to reach the race venue. It was still dark. They had music going on and felt energised.

Some 200 odd Full marathoners were there. Their race was to start at 6:00 AM. The race starting point was a Km away. For the 800+ Half Marathoners , the race was to start at 6:30 AM. The full marathoners started proceeding to the race start point.

I went and stood in the queue for the Portable Potty. There was a long queue and there were 5 units, but only 2 were functioning as water and toilet paper were out in others. Next time - carry a roll.

I had to rush to the race starting point - and boy oh boy - there was such a huge crowd. And the track was so narrow. I thought - there is going to be a stampede.

It was beautiful. Just perfect weather - not too cold and fresh clean air. And the excitement and enthusiasm all around crept into me.

Starting point at the distance

6:30 Start.

The fast runners pulled away quickly and we laggards started slowly - the narrow road was not a problem. I was looking at how people run  and a few were stomping heavily - felt bad for their legs - it will hurt bad at the end.

I ran without a break till the turn around point came - and still kept going - passed all the aid stations and finally stopped at around 12kms. I was listening to 2011 Space odyssey. What a brilliant book.

I was munching parle biscuits and looked at the sky - and it looked so clear. My mind was calm and devoid of any thoughts. Paused the audio book and let the moment sink in.

I resumed running and continued my gentle unhurried pace. Soon I was just 5 or kms from finish line. No pain came thankfully and was enjoying the run.  It is all in the mind.

The sun was up, but clouds quickly covered and there was a gentle breeze.

The people in front

People behind me

Full marathon gives me the shiver.. 

Finally completed it in a new Personal Record time of 2hours and 53 minutes.

The deed was done.

The Full Marathon looks impossible now. Perhaps will give it another shot next year. Will continue my training. Have to increase the pace. This number I put up - was still slower than the veterans - 60 years and above - first place finish ( 2:45 I think ).