Saturday, 10 September 2016

Registering for Comrades 2017

Registering for Comrades 2017 : Are you going about it slowly ? 
Great poetry crystallises our thoughts in a way prose rarely can.  
It helps us answer questions in a way prose rarely can. 
I love Mary Oliver's poetry, especially the ones about love ! 
Earlier today, someone called me on phone and discussed her desire to run Comrades.   
She hadn't registered yet she said, and was taking this decision very very seriously. 
She felt that this race is so big, so difficult, so momentous that she needed to go about the registration process after a great deal of deliberation.  
Such deep thinking and evaluation takes time, she said.   One must arrive at the decision slowly, she felt. 
She asked me how I had arrived at this decision to run Comrades in 2009.  After all, at that time, there had been not a single person from India who had run this race. I was to be the first and there was no guidance and no path for me to follow.  
"Did you take slow deliberate thoughtful steps?", she asked. 
I recited Mary Oliver's poem about Love to her as an answer.  
The poem is titled : I DID THINK, LET’S GO ABOUT THIS SLOWLY. 
"I did think, let’s go about this slowly.
This is important. This should take
some really deep thought. We should take
small thoughtful steps. 
But, bless us, We Didn't ."
That's how one registers for comrades, I told her.  Don't think.  Just fall in love.  
I hope she registers for Comrades 2017. 

Thursday, 8 September 2016

The staircase

Our house has a big main central staircase.  

From our hall, the staircase with 12 steps takes us up to a landing.   The Landing has two doors. One opens into my dads room and the other into my gym.  The staircase then turns and continues upwards for another 5 steps. This second landing leads to a long corridor which connects our library, my son Aryan's (aged 15) room,  my daughter Namrata's (aged 20) room and my room (quite old)   

My room is at the far end of the corridor, So every time I go back and forth from my room, I pass all the other bedrooms on the way.  

Last night , I was going up the staircase after dinner with aryan in tow.    He was just a step behind me and keeping pace.   Although I was climbing up at a brisk pace,  I wondered if I was slowing him down and so at the first landing, outside my dad's room, I paused to see if he wanted to run up past me.    I stopped and gave him some space. 

And suddenly, I missed my father a lot. 

In the later years of his life, my father used to climb up the staircase one step at a time.   He wasn't in pain or discomfort.   It was simply old age.   His feet had lost their ability to sense touch and so he used the strength of his knees and calves to climb up while being unable to sense the staircase with his feet. 

So after dinner, very often, when he and I were going upstairs to our respective rooms, I used to either go ahead of him or if he started up the stairs first, I'd wait for him to reach his room.   

I didn't want to rush him by being right behind him. 

So last night , I paused at the landing and gave Aryan some space to carry on. 

Aryan seemed completely unaware even of the fact that I gave him space.    So I continued up and he followed me.   

And I wonder when the day will come when I do slow him down.   I'm sure the day will come but yesterday wasn't that day. 

My dad stayed with me long enough to ensure that I became independent and settled in life.  I hope I can do the same for my children. 

The Comrades marathon registrations opened up on the 1st of September and I intend to register for the 88k Up run which will take place in 2017.    I hope that I can follow that with Down run in 2018 and then the Up in 2019 and then the Down run in 2020 and then Up run in 2021 and hopefully that will bring me to 10 Comrades finishes.   At which point I might as well run my 11th Comrades with a green number bib. 

As Aryan grows stronger with each passing day my prayer is that I can stay abreast with my boy on the staircase, at least until 2022.    

And then, although I hope I keep running, I won't mind if he starts racing up the staircase past me. 

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Are you a maniac ?

Are you a maniac ?

I have heard many runners say that running is their religion.  I agree.  It is our calling.  It is our happy thought of the day.   It is what we most look forward to each day and each moment.

Every morning some people answer the call of the Adhan, some answer the call of the Church bells and some that of the Barechu.  

I too answer the call each morning. It is a voice which calls me to run .  

Running is my religion and I love my religion.   And sometimes I wonder if I've become a religious fanatic.

I looked up the meaning of the word fanatic.

"fanatic".
noun
1.
a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause.
"religious fanatics"
synonyms: zealot,
extremist, militant,
dogmatist, radical,
diehard,
maniac, crank,
wackadoo,
wackadoodle

So I wonder,  "Am i maniac ? ".

The answer does seem a bit discouraging.

It is said that Religious zealots don't know when to back off.
I agree but only partly.

It's not that they don't know when to back off.  It so happens that they can't help themselves even when they know that they need to back off.

I started training for the Delhi Half marathon earlier this month.  I hope that a strong performance there will help me with a strong run in the Mumbai Marathon which will subsequently be my launch pad to start training for Comrades.

I've been training very hard.  The 4 weeks took a toll and I needed to back off training today.  I needed either a complete rest day or an easy run.
But I decided to keep to the schedule and do my 1000x7 repeats.

The first 3 reps went reasonably well but at 400 meters into the 4th repeat, I felt heaviness creep into my legs and upper body.

I soldiered on and finished the repeat.  The 5th repeat felt much harder, the 6th more so and the 7th excruciatingly so.  
Every moment after the 4th repeat, I felt that I should quit. I knew that I should call it a day.  I knew I needed to rest. I knew it wasn't a great idea to push.  I knew that I could burn myself by pushing. I knew that I could jeopardise my training in the days to come.   I knew it was ok to cut short the repeats and go home and take a nap but YET,  I soldiered on.

Theoretically I just know that one must not push speed when one isn't 100% fit.
I know that It is ok to take a day off.  And yet when it came to application of that theory, I came up short.  

Sometimes I feel that my salvation lies only in completing my training as planned.  It is as if, I'm a true believer if and only if, I finish my training as planned.

The holy land lies beyond the closed gates and the only way to enter them is to be baptised with fire.   It seems it is very hard to back off from running.  

I think a non-runner or a non fanatic will not understand this urge to run.

One needs to be a maniac to truly understand this.

This desire to reach "the shining city on the hill" has come down through the ages.  

The Towers of Trebizond is a book about a group of people, "travelling from Istanbul to legendary Trebizond on a convoluted mission to spread the work of Christianity".  

It is also a "bracing meditation on the perils of love, doubt, faith, and spirituality in the modern world"

The first page of the book contains the "dialogues of mortality".

I felt that these dialogues completely explain our passion for running.

Running haunts us much in the way that the "shining city on the hill" has haunted generations.

Our unquenchable desire to keep running is much like that of these men wishing to reach their cherished city.

Running is our shining city on the hill.  It haunts our every waking moment.  It haunts our dreams. It haunts us now and it forever will.   Running is the fire to which we are attracted to, much like the helpless moths.  

Not many will understand our passion.  "We are men seeking after the Gods.  We are Gods seeking after men"

The dialogues:

"The sheening of that strange bright city on the hill, barred by its high gates...Barred from all, Phrastes?"

"From all, Eroton, who do not desire to enter it more strongly than they desire all other cities."

"Then it is barred indeed, and most men must let it go."

"Those who have once desired it cannot let it go, for its light flickers always on the roads they tread, to plague them like marsh fires.  

Even though they flee from it, it may drag them towards it as a magnet drags steel, and, though they may never enter its gates, its light will burn them as with fire, for that is its nature."

"Who then were the builders of this dangerous city?"

"Gods and men, Eroton; men seeking after gods, and gods who seek after men.   Does it not appear to you that such a fabric, part artifact and part deifact, reared out of divine intimations and demands, and out of the mortal longings and imaginings that climb to meet these, must perpetually haunt the minds of men, wielding over them a strange wild power, intermittent indeed, but without end? So, anyhow, it has always proved."

I read this passage and I know that it gives voice to my passion for running.

Yes I'm a maniac.

Question is. Are you ?

Saturday, 9 July 2016

The Golden Thread

The Golden Thread

On May 29, 2016, as I crossed the finish line of Comrades 2016, I felt a wave of relief and some amount of pride. 

However one of the first thoughts to enter my mind that very moment was about Comrades 2017. 

As I walked into the finish area and was garlanded with my medal, I thought: "If I come to comrades 2017 with the same amount of fitness that I did this year.. I won't finish. I better start training harder"

In hindsight that was so ridiculous.  I mean I had just spent a year dreaming about finishing 2016 and the minute I finished 2016, I was thinking about 2017.  

I came home after Comrades and rested for a month but all the time was spent time thinking about 2017.  I was waiting to start training again. 

I've been cross training during that month but I've been trying to get ready for Comrades as fast as possible. I push myself in the gym and on the spin cycle and am impatient but the results are slow in coming.    After 30 mins on the spin cycle I get off and walk for the next 30 mins with wobbly legs and I wonder..."When will the strength come. I can't wait." 

I do some dead lifts and wonder, "When will the benefits kick in, I can't wait"

I cannot wait to lose the weight I've gained in the last month and wonder when will I lose it. 

I started running a few days ago and cannot wait to reach a stage when I can do some speed and hill repeats and not feel buggered as I do right now. 

When will Jan come so that I can run SCMM & qualify for Comrades 2017 ?

When will I finish all the long runs for Comrades 2017 ? 

I also want to quickly get over with the aches and pains which are sure to come along the way.  I also want to get over with all the early waking up and eating right which has to be done. 

I want to quickly get to the part where I am super fit and ready. 

I want to quickly get to Durban and to the expo. 

I cannot wait for the year to go by so that I can stand again on the start line of Comrades 2017.    

I seem to have no patience for the process by which one goes through life.  

My eagerness to quickly breeze through the days and fast forward to June 4, 2017 made me think of a story that I had read.  

The author of the story, "The Magic Thread" is Unknow but it was retold by William J. Bennet : 
 "Once there was a widow who had a son called Peter. He was a strong, able boy, but he did not enjoy going to school and he was forever daydreaming.

"Peter, what are you dreaming about this time?" his teacher would say to him.

"I'm thinking about what I'll be when I grow up," Peter replied.

"Be patient. There's plenty of time for that. Being grown up isn't all fun, you know," his teacher said.

But Peter found it hard to enjoy whatever he was doing at the moment, and was always hankering after the next thing. In winter he longed for it to be summer again, and in summer he looked forward to the skating, sledging, and warm fires of winter. At school he would long for the day to be over so that he could go home, and on Sunday nights he would sigh, "If only the holidays would come." What he enjoyed most was playing with his friend Liese. She was as good a companion as any boy, and no matter how impatient Peter was, she never took offense. "When I grow up, I shall marry Liese," Peter said to himself.

Often he wandered through the forest, dreaming of the future. Sometimes he lay down on the soft forest floor in the warm sun, his hands behind his head, staring up at the sky through the distant treetops. One hot afternoon as he began to grow sleepy, he heard someone calling his name. He opened his eyes and sat up. Standing before him was an old woman. In her hand she held a silver ball, from which dangled a silken golden thread.

"See what I have got here, Peter," she said, offering the ball to him.

"What is it?" he asked curiously, touching the fine golden thread.

"This is your life thread," the old woman replied. "Do not touch it and time will pass normally. But if you wish time to pass more quickly, you have only to pull the thread a little way and an hour will pass like a second. But I warn you, once the thread has been pulled out, it cannot be pushed back in again. It will disappear like a puff of smoke. The ball is for you. But if you accept my gift you must tell no one, or on that very day you shall die. Now, say, do you want it?"

Peter seized the gift from her joyfully. It was just what he wanted. He examined the silver ball. It was light and solid, made of a single piece. The only flaw in it was the tiny hole from which the bright thread hung. He put the ball in his pocket and ran home. There, making sure that his mother was out, he examined it again. The thread seemed to be creeping very slowly out of the ball, so slowly that it was scarcely noticeable to the naked eye. He longed to give it a quick tug, but dared not do so. Not yet.

The following day at school, Peter sat daydreaming about what he would do with his magic thread. The teacher scolded him for not concentrating on his work. If only, he thought, it was time to go home. Then he felt the silver ball in his pocket. If he pulled out a tiny bit of thread, the day would be over. Very carefully he took hold of it and tugged. Suddenly the teacher was telling everyone to pack up their books and to leave the classroom in an orderly fashion. Peter was overjoyed. He ran all the way home. How easy life would be now! All his troubles were over. From that day forth he began to pull the thread, just a little, every day.

One day, however, it occurred to him that it was stupid to pull the thread just a little each day. If he gave it a harder tug, school would be over altogether. Then he could start learning a trade and marry Liese. So that night he gave the thread a hard tug, and in the morning he awoke to find himself apprenticed to a carpenter in town. He loved his new life, clambering about on roofs and scaffolding, lifting and hammering great beams into place that still smelled of the forest. But sometimes, when payday seemed too far off, he gave the thread a little tug and suddenly the week was drawing to a close and it was Friday night and he had money in his pocket.

Liese had also come to town and was living with her aunt, who taught her housekeeping. Peter began to grow impatient for the day when they would be married. It was hard to live so near and yet so far from her. He asked her when they could be married.

"In another year," she said. "Then I will have learned how to be a capable wife."

Peter fingered the silver ball in his pocket.

"Well, the time will pass quickly enough," he said, knowingly.

That night Peter could not sleep. He tossed and turned restlessly. He took the magic ball from under his pillow. For a moment he hesitated; then his impatience got the better of him, and he tugged at the golden thread. In the morning he awoke to find that the year was over and that Liese had at last agreed to marry him. Now Peter felt truly happy.

But before their wedding could take place, Peter received an official-looking letter. He opened it in trepidation and read that he was expected to report at the army barracks the following week for two years' military service. He showed the letter to Liese in despair.

"Well," she said, "there is nothing for it, we shall just have to wait. But the time will pass quickly, you'll see. There are so many things to do in preparation for our life together."

Peter smiled bravely, knowing that two years would seem a lifetime to him.

Once Peter had settled into life at the barracks, however, he began to feel that it wasn't so bad after all. He quite enjoyed being with all the other young men, and their duties were not very arduous at first. He remembered the old woman's warning to use the thread wisely and for a while refrained from pulling it. But in time he grew restless again. Army life bored him with its routine duties and harsh discipline. He began pulling the thread to make the week go faster so that it would be Sunday again, or to speed up the time until he was due for leave. And so the two years passed almost as if they had been a dream.

Back home, Peter determined not to pull the thread again until it was absolutely necessary. After all, this was the best time of his life, as everyone told him. He did not want it to be over too quickly. He did, however, give the thread one or two very small tugs, just to speed along the day of his marriage. He longed to tell Liese his secret, but he knew that if he did he would die.

On the day of his wedding, everyone, including Peter, was happy. He could hardly wait to show Liese the house he had built for her. At the wedding feast he glanced over at his mother. He noticed for the first time how gray her hair had grown recently. She seemed to be aging so quickly. Peter felt a pang of guilt that he had pulled the thread so often. Henceforward he would be much more sparing with it and only use it when it was strictly necessary.

A few months later Liese announced that she was going to have a child. Peter was overjoyed and could hardly wait. When the child was born, he felt that he could never want for anything again. But whenever the child was ill or cried through the sleepless night, he gave the thread a little tug, just so that the baby might be well and happy again.

Times were hard. Business was bad and a government had come to power that squeezed the people dry with taxes and would tolerate no opposition. Anyone who became known as a troublemaker was thrown into prison without trial and rumor was enough to condemn a man. Peter had always been known as one who spoke his mind, and very soon he was arrested and cast into jail. Luckily he had his magic ball with him and he tugged very hard at the thread. The prison walls dissolved before him and his enemies were scattered in the huge explosion that burst forth like thunder. It was the war that had been threatening, but it was over as quickly as a summer storm, leaving behind it an exhausted peace. Peter found himself back home with his family. But now he was a middle-aged man.

For a time things went well and Peter lived in relative contentment. One day he looked at his magic ball and saw to his surprise that the thread had turned from gold to silver. He looked in the mirror. His hair was starting to turn gray and his face was lined where before there had not been a wrinkle to be seen. He suddenly felt afraid and determined to use the thread even more carefully than before. Liese bore him more children and he seemed happy as the head of his growing household. His stately manner often made people think of him as some sort of benevolent ruler. He had an air of authority as if he held the fate of others in his hands. He kept his magic ball in a well-hidden place, safe from the curious eyes of his children, knowing that if anyone were to discover it, it would be fatal.

As the number of his children grew, so his house became more overcrowded. He would have to extend it, but for that he needed money. He had other worries too. His mother was looking older and more tired every day. It was of no use to pull the magic thread because that would only hasten her approaching death. All too soon she died, and as Peter stood at her graveside, he wondered how it was that life passed so quickly, even without pulling the magic thread.

One night as he lay in bed, kept awake by his worries, he thought how much easier life would be if all his children were grown up and launched upon their careers in life. He gave the thread a mighty tug, and the following day he awoke to find that his children had all left home for jobs in different parts of the country, and that he and his wife were alone. His hair was almost white now and often his back and limbs ached as he climbed the ladder or lifted a heavy beam into place. Liese too was getting old and she was often ill. He couldn't bear to see her suffer, so that more and more he resorted to pulling at the magic thread. But as soon as one trouble was solved, another seemed to grow in its place. Perhaps life would be easier if he retired, Peter thought. Then he would no longer have to clamber about on drafty, half-completed buildings and he could look after Liese when she was ill. The trouble was that he didn't have enough money to live on. He picked up his magic ball and looked at it. To his dismay he saw that the thread was no longer silver but gray and lusterless. He decided to go for a walk in the forest to think things over.

It was a long time since he had been in that part of the forest. The small saplings had all grown into tall fir trees, and it was hard to find the path he had once known. Eventually he came to a bench in a clearing. He sat down to rest and fell into a light doze. He was woken by someone calling his name, "Peter! Peter!"

He looked up and saw the old woman he had met so many years ago when she had given him the magic silver ball with its golden thread. She looked just as she had on that day, not a day older. She smiled at him.

"So, Peter, have you had a good life?" she asked.

"I'm not sure," Peter said. "Your magic ball is a wonderful thing. I have never had to suffer or wait for anything in my life. And yet it has all passed so quickly. I feel that I have had no time to take in what has happened to me, neither the good things nor the bad. Now there is so little time left. I dare not pull the thread again for it will only bring me to my death. I do not think your gift has brought me luck."

"How ungrateful you are!" the old woman said. "In what way would you have wished things to be different?"

"Perhaps if you had given me a different ball, one where I could have pushed the thread back in as well as pulling it out. Then I could have relived the things that went badly."

The old woman laughed. "You ask a great deal! Do you think that God allows us to live our lives twice over? But I can grant you one final wish, you foolish, demanding man."

"What is that?" Peter asked.

"Choose," the old woman said. Peter thought hard.

At length he said, "I should like to live my life again as if for the first time, but without your magic ball. Then I will experience the bad things as well as the good without cutting them short, and at least my life will not pass as swiftly and meaninglessly as a daydream."

"So be it," said the old woman. "Give me back my ball."

She stretched out her hand and Peter placed the silver ball in it. Then he sat back and closed his eyes with exhaustion.

When he awoke he was in his own bed. His youthful mother was bending over him, shaking him gently.

"Wake up, Peter. You will be late for school. You were sleeping like the dead!"

He looked up at her in surprise and relief.

"I've had a terrible dream, Mother. I dreamed that I was old and sick and that my life had passed like the blinking of an eye with nothing to show for it. Not even any memories."

His mother laughed and shook her head.

"That will never happen," she said. "Memories are the one thing we all have, even when we are old. Now hurry and get dressed. Liese is waiting for you and you will be late for school."

As Peter walked to school with Liese, he noticed what a bright summer morning it was, the kind of morning when it felt good to be alive. Soon he would see his friends and classmates, and even the prospect of lessons didn't seem so bad. In fact he could hardly wait."



Next week I turn 50.  

Most of my life thread has already been pulled out. 

Why in the world am I wishing for another year to go quickly ?  

Why in the world should I want Comrades 2017 to come quickly ??  

Should I not wake up every day and squeeze the most out of it ?  

Must I not enjoy every training session to its full without the urgency to get to June 2017?  Must I not enjoy every rest day ?

The aches and pains are sure to follow. But should they also not be welcomed?  After all, some day when the thread runs out, they too will stop.  

Why not relish the good and the not-so-good that the year will bring forth ?

My Golden Thread was always rationed & its best that comes out of the ball at its predetermined speed.  

My days are and always were limited. It would be silly for me to rush through them. 

Trying to run fast during Comrades is a smart idea.  Trying to rush through my remaining days is silly. 

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The morning alarm

"We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are." : Max De Pree

These are probably the most motivating and true words that I have ever read.  

I try to assimilate them.  

Whenever I run, I think and  dream about what I wish to become. 

I continuously plan what I want to achieve in terms of my running.  

During my runs, my mind is making and remaking my future training strategies.  : I add distance to my long runs, I add more repeats to my interval training, I add elevation to my hill training, I add volume to my total mileage. 

I can see the glories that I will achieve for myself in my next race.  I can visualise my awesome performance. 

I decide that I will really train hard in the days and weeks and months to follow.  It will be blood and guts and grit and glory.  And I can visualise the awesome race that i will enjoy. 

These are normally my brave thoughts during and immediately after a run as I drive home. 

But the pivotal moment for me comes every morning when the alarm rings.    

I'm astonished that it's already time to wake up.  I'm convinced at that moment, that I really need to rest up.  
Rest, after all, is the corner stone of good training.  

In a split second, I quickly recalculate and come to the conclusion that I can go and run in the gym later in the day or I can add another run sometime during one of the remaining days of the week. 

I then switch off the alarm and go back to bed and then .... I continue to remain the man I am by continuing to be the man I am. 

Shakespeare spoke about a tide in the affairs of men.  
He said that if we take up the tide at the flood it leads on to great fortune. 
But if we miss that moment of high tide, we will remain stuck in the shallows. 

I don't wish to remain in the shallows.  It is Time! 

The alarm clock announces the arrival of the tide.   

I'd better wake up and smell the coffee.   

Yes, it is Time !

But first let me hit the "snooze" button, just for a bit. 

Saturday, 2 July 2016

The arithmetic on the frontier of running

"The Arithmetic on The Frontier of Running".   

I need a few things to improve my running and I'm trying to make a budget. 

I've analysed my race performance and have come to the conclusion that the following things are absolutely essential for me to improve :

1) A treadmill.   

I've created a gym in my home and added quite a lot of stuff in there but more is needed. 

For many days and months I've been thinking that a treadmill is absolutely essential. 

Once I have a treadmill it will be easy to sleep-in so as to get my 8 hours of sleep and yet put in the run that is so necessary.   At other times, it will be easy to put in the 2nd run during the day even when I'm pressed for time. 

A decent imported treadmill should cost between ₹ 2,60,000/- and ₹ 5,00,000/-


2) A new Garmin:
I do own a Garmin. But I  think that my Garmin 310 Xt is too old.  I saw my friend wear the latest Garmin which gives the heart rate data without the need to wear a chest strap.  

I think the heart rate data is vital in being able to train well.

I haven't spoken to my friend Dinesh who imports them but I think that should cost around ₹ 24,000/- 

3) Sun Glasses :
My sun glasses have lately been fogging up during the rains.  I can't focus.    A good pair of new Oakley's need to be bought.              ₹ 10,000/-

4) Protein shakes & GU gels

The right food at the right time is bound to help. I can't cut costs when it comes to nutrition. ( ₹ 7000 a month ).  

I also need to take help on a continuous basis from a sports Nutritionist to get rid of the extra flab that I'm carrying. ( ₹ 25,000 onwards )

5) Shoes & Socks
My shoes and socks are all worn out after all that comrades training.    Good shoes are the cornerstone of good running speed. 
I need new ones.

And while I'm at it, perhaps some new dry fits t's and shorts will help as well. ( ₹10,000/- for shoes every 3 months ) 

6). A good personal trainer for the gym and one for running might help as well.  ( ₹'s : the sky is the limit )

These are my very modest needs.   Almost everyone who wishes to run well must probably need all of this: Of this I'm sure! 

But as I did my technical research about running in some sports and scientific journals, I came across a very interesting poem. 

The poem written by Rudyard Kipling was first published in 1886 and is called, "Arithmetic on the Frontier ". 

The poem is about the British fighting in Afghanistan in the 1800s.  

Kipling talks about the massive discrepancy of wealth and weaponry between the British soldier and the Afghan freedom fighter. 

The British soldier was educated, from the best schools, in the art of war and had the best weapons of the day.  

The Afghan had nothing but a ₹10/- rifle !

Kipling writes that for 7 years the British soldier trained at a great cost to learn how to fight.  About £300 per annum were spent for him to learn : 

"A great and glorious thing it is To learn, for seven years or so, The Lord knows what of that and this, Ere reckoned fit to face the foe ------
Three hundred pounds per annum spent On making brain and body meeter "


But a poor uneducated Afghan with a 10 rupee rifle (jezail)  brings down the £2000 educated British soldier. 

"A scrimmage in a Border Station -- A canter down some dark defile -- TWO THOUSAND POUNDS OF EDUCATION DROPS TO A TEN-RUPEE  JEZAIL (rifle)  -- The Crammer's (school's) boast, the Squadron's pride, Shot like a rabbit in a ride!  "

All the profound education and knowledge which the British soldier had was of no use against the poor afghan who could strike hard and shoot straight. 

"No proposition Euclid wrote, No formulae the text-books know, Will turn the bullet from your coat, Or ward the tulwar's (sword) downward blow Strike hard who cares -- shoot straight who can -- The odds are on the cheaper man. "

So many of my friends don't need the things that I think are necessary to run. 

I've seen so many of them run without shoes or a watch. 

I've seen them run without a care in the world about the clothes they wear or about their protein or carb intake. 

They have never had a GU gel or an Isopure protein shake. 

They have never had a coach or a sports nutritionist help them. 

All they rely is on their hard work and passion and ability to push themselves. 
And they run like the wind !

So I've come to the conclusion. 

I don't need a new Garmin or new sunglasses or new shoes and socks and such.  All these things are superfluous. 

All one needs to run well and fast is courage and strength of character and hard work and the willingness to shed some blood and sweat and tears.  

I think this needs too much strength of character.

So I think, I'll just get the treadmill.