When it comes to corporate do-goody programs and initiatives, I think I am pretty much at the top of the cynics list. Having been gainfully employed for the last 5 ½ years in the same organization, I have become a part of ‘the system’ and along the way I have picked up more than a few tricks of the corporate trade. So when the initial emails on the worldwide marathon that our company organizes started trickling in, I quickly deleted them without even bothering to read their contents. After all wasn’t it a gigantic marketing exercise that ensured that ‘the system’ gained publicity and good will? My lack of support was ironic considering that if the system gained I too would gain, given that I am a well-entrenched part of it but I think it’s best to let that bit slide.
This year though something changed. Maybe it was my boss’s long running (pun unintended) enthusiasm about having the team sign up for the event. Maybe it was my inner self saying that I needed to get rid of that tiny itsy bitsy bit of baby plumpness (What? Who says a 24 year old can’t have baby fat?). Maybe it was me trying to get a hold of how much I could actually push my right knee because for the last year or so I have only been jogging in moderation to stay in shape but in a controlled and sedate manner. This was after suffering a severely swollen right knee from running and a senior doctor had advised me to completely avoid doing so. Maybe it was just a little bit of everything.
Before I could change my mind, I decided to sign up but in a moment of extraordinarily questionable decision making, I decided to register for the 10k event and not the 5k one. Now I am pretty sure that I have never clocked 10 kilometers at a stretch. Ever. Surely I would be able to complete it through systematic practice runs and building my stamina while at the same time ensuring that my right knee didn’t give up on me. Or so I thought.
Work (rather predictably) decided to take a nasty spike upwards from the day I registered for the run and hence the slow buildup of my running capacity topped at only 6 kms as we approached D day. How I was going to complete the remaining 4 kms was anybody’s guess. To my chagrin the 10k run was to start at 6 AM on a Sunday morning which meant that I would have to wake up at 04:30 to get to the start line on time! So much for my weekend beauty sleep….
Based on my practice timings and my bad knee I was hoping to clock a time of an hour and a half which I felt was pretty reasonable given what had transpired. But deep down I had a sinking feeling that I would be huffing, puffing, panting and in the end breathlessly dragging my sorry self across the finish line while my entire body cried out in protest and pain.
And yet none of that happened. By pacing myself through the combination of a running application and listening to my body, I was able to complete the 10 kms at an average speed that was much higher than my practice sessions. Yes I ended up running a much greater distance while doing so at a faster pace than ever before. Go figure. And no, my body didn’t feel like it was about to give up on me and except for the slight pressure on my soles that there were no real aches and pains and I felt that I could’ve done another 5 – 6 kms easily. And I was genuinely pleasantly surprised.
Now most of my friends thought that I wouldn’t even attempt the 10k. Honestly I had serious doubts about the condition in which I would finish the run. But here I am, continuing my mid week practice sessions weeks after the company event came to a glorious close with a performance by the marvelous band the Raghu Dixit Project that did remind me of the Dave Mathews Band on more than one occasion.
That’s because I’m trying to see if my knee can take the stress of 21 kms which is my target for the Bangalore Midnight Marathon in December. Or if it will be able to let me get my time close to an hour for the 10k run at the same event. I guess it is safe to say that I may not be topping the cynicism charts when it comes to a certain topic anytime soon.