What I (not Murakami) talk about when I talk about running

“I run in order to acquire a void”, I had an idea what Murakami meant when he wrote that in the book ‘What I talk about when I talk about running’ but I couldn’t understand exactly. What void is he talking about? Why do I run? How does it make me feel? What do I think about when I run? These questions had been swirling in mind since I read the book. Every run is different and hence, the answers are never the same.


Today, while running I understood exactly what he meant. Most days, I run because am training for something. Some days, the run is more personal. On those days, I run because am trying to run away. From a situation. A conversation. A person. The voices in my head. My thoughts. Memories. Stress. Anxiety. It could be anything. I run faster and faster till I can leave the thoughts or the situation behind. And then the pain takes over. I am exhausted, gasping for breath, weaving in and out of traffic trying not to get killed, calves screaming in pain, ankles reminding me about an injury that could flare up. In that moment, all I feel is physical pain, there is no space for thoughts or trivial worries. My body takes over and the mind shuts down. Then I stop. I have reached my void. A feeling of exhilaration takes over. My body is flooded with pheromones. I maybe useless, worthless, a tiny, unimportant speck in the universe, alone BUT I can run. I know how to outrun my mind.

The void is as close to Nirvana I can get.

Disappointing half marathon

I am very annoyed with myself. Very. I could have met or crossed my personal best timing in today’s half marathon (IDBI Mumbai half marathon – Oval Maidan-Gateway of India-Marine Drive-Charni road-Oval Maidan) but missed it by a whisker. Not because I couldn’t have run faster but because I didn’t remember the personal best timing. I should get it tattooed somewhere but it’s going to change every year and that can get expensive.

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Something happened on the 15 km run today

The plan was to run from Gurgaon to Delhi today on MG road for my 2nd last long run for the half marathon training. Migs suggested the Artemis day breaker half marathon event which happened today but I wasn’t too keen. Running on Golf course extension road doesn’t excite me. But I changed my mind last night. Running at an event will be a better option since I will wake up on time and get the run done. Running alone would require a lot more will power.

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100 days of running

I came across the 100 days of running event on facebook few weeks back and promptly joined it. Someone on twitter remarked “100 days of running in this weather?”. And I realized, that is the whole point. It is so easy for the weather to disrupt a planned run – too hot, too cold, rains. In Gurgaon, I can look forward to only 2-3 months of perfect weather. Rest of the year is torture. Does that mean I should run only in times of perfect weather? Running events don’t get cancelled due to the weather, even when it rains.

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Pre and post ADHM check list

  • Charge your headphones and check if they are working properly
  • Make your ADHM playlist if you have been lazy like me and have waited till the last day for this
  • Ladies… shave your legs and arms if you plan to wear shorts/sleeveless. Yes, yes, even though it is freaking cold. I plan to die in my running shorts. Men- I wish you would shave those legs and arms too but it isn’t mandatory
  • Sleep well on Friday night. A little late for this one, I know
  • Buy your pre run fuel. DO NOT TRY ANYTHING NEW. Eat what you have eaten while training. I will eat 2 bananas in the morning
  • Carry food you plan to eat during the run. DO NOT TRY ANYTHING NEW. I don’t eat anything when I run and I don’t plan to. I bought running gels last week but I will first use them in my training runs.
  • Carb loading. This is supposed to start a week in advance but eat carbs today as well. Carbs does not mean desserts and unhealthy foods. It means potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes, bread. Carbs are different from unhealthy fats.
  • Wear your run day outfit today and check if you are comfortable. Wash the tee given by ADHM.
  • Make post run plans. I am going to Sarvana Bhawan for b’fast. And since I don’t have company as of yet, I won’t have to wait in a long queue for a seat at a table. Everyone will rush to Sarvana or Andhra Bhawan or American Diner for b’fast tomorrow.
  • Carry a change of clothes. You may need them incase you are not heading home directly. You can change in the car. I may just wear a skirt over my shorts.
  • Carry a disposable bottle of water and food tomorrow. Everyone has to reach the venue before 6 am and the run starts at 7 am. There will not be any water/food available there. The first water station will be atleast 1 km into the run. You don’t want to start your run thirsty and hungry.
  • Sleep early tonight. Sleep by 9/9.30 pm.
  • No liquor tonight please.
  • Make epic plans for tomorrow. I am going to sleep, read and watch movies.
  • Get a massage tomorrow. A race is very different from a training run. You will push yourself like you haven’t done before and that is going to hurt. Groupon has some good offers. You can even check out chumping.in.
  • Don’t forget to stretch after the run. Everyone is generally very excited and they skip this part. There are so many runs coming up in December and January, you don’t want to miss out because of sore muscles.
  • Carry your protein shake for post run fuel. I will leave mine in the car. There is a baggage counter at the venue where you can leave it.
  • Most importantly, smile for the cameras. Have fun. Whether you meet your timing target or not, make this a memorable run.

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We all have niggles in our body but they don’t surface for most of our life because our body is perfectly capable of leading a sedentary life. According to me, injuries are nothing but us coming face to face with underlying issues that may have cropped up because of a bad diet, bad posture, sleeping pattern, not getting enough sleep, not moving all the muscles in the body etc etc etc. Everyone who works out seriously faces an injury. Sometimes it is because of pushing yourself beyond a certain point and other times, it has to do with a past habit.

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The last long run before ADHM

Today was the last long run before ADHM organised by Adidas (as a promotion for their Delhi Marathon in Feb’16), Coach Ravindra and a few other NGOs.

I was extremely low and bored last few weeks which reflected on my fitness levels. There was no enthusiasm for the gym or running and I just wanted to take a break. In a regular month, this is ok. But not right now. There is ADHM followed by SCMM (Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon) followed by New Delhi Marathon. And if I still have energy or motivation I want to run the half marathon on the F1 track at Greater Noida in March.

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Running advice for beginners from the experts

I attended a session of School of Running organized by Coach Ravinder and the guys at Jogo app today at Leisure Valley. Two long distance runners- Paramvir Singh and Rashmi Mohanty shared tips and answered questions about running. The event was mostly for beginners but nonetheless, it validated some of the things I have learned since I started running.

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Dwarka Half Marathon

My full marathon training plan has a timed half marathon and I registered for this one. I was supposed to run last year but couldn’t because I was exhausted. Last year at this time, running a half marathon was a huge deal and I prepared for months for it. I haven’t run in Dwarka and don’t know when I will get the opportunity again so this half marathon was a way to get familiar with that part of the city.

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