Sunday 19 July 2015

Look at the Mirror (BNP Endurathon 2015)

Look at the Mirror (BNP Endurathon 2015)

Yesterday I was privileged to take part in the BNP Endurathon 2015. This was a 25k run organized in the Borivalli National park.  It was a hard run. In the pre-race briefing one of the race organisers described the route as one where Comrades runners are born.  The rolling terrain with 4 small hills when added to the heat and humidity certainly made it a hard run.

As I stood on the start-line, I was ready for some suffering.  I had very modest expectations from this race for myself.  I simply wanted to finish the race.  I didn’t want to come in last.

Since running Comrades on 31 May 2015, I had fallen off the wagon.  I was eating everything in sight, sleeping in late and I was not really running or exercising.  I had joined the MIG Top gear running group but had run only 5/6 times with them in the preceding 6 weeks.  I had put on 4 kgs of weight.

So as I said, I didn’t have any expectations except to run and enjoy this race.

Today, Facebook is full of race pictures of the 1000 odd participants.  People are congratulating the race organizers for a splendidly organized race and also sharing their personal experiences.

Most of the runners have been happy with how the day unfolded.

I was however taken aback when a very young and strong runner shared his experience.  He was gutted he said.  He was so disappointed with his performance that he apologized to his friends for his disastrous performance.  He had expected to come first and he apologized for “losing”.

His post made me think...about myself.

I have often gone into races with high expectations for myself.  While I’m training for Comrades I often see myself running into the finish in under 11:00 hours.  Unfortunately on race day, I barely manage to finish in under 12:00 and that sometimes leads to disappointment.

All runner love running!  That I think, is a given.  We can never question that.  Some want to run the race in a target time.  That too cannot be denied.  There is no harm in setting a goal.  Running for time and running for pleasure are not mutually exclusive concepts.  They can co-exist.

The question is not that I desire something and then am sometimes disappointed when the desire is not fulfilled.  The question is, “Did I truly work hard towards my goal to be righteously disappointed on not achieving it”

Does my disappointment have a solid foundation?

Osho once told the story of a young man trying to find a bride.  “A new shop opened in town.  It was a shop where any young man could go and find a suitable wife.

A young man went inside the shop.   Inside the shop he found two doors.  One door had a sign on it which said, “Young Wife”, the other had a sign which read “Older Wife”.  The young man pushed the first door and went inside.

Again he found two doors inside.  There was no wife to be found no wife, just two more doors.  The first door had a sign which said, “Beautiful” the second had a sign which read, “Ordinary”.

The young man again entered the first door.   Again there was no one inside.

There were just two more doors.  The sign on the first door said, “Excellent Cook” the sign on the second door said, “Not a cook”.  The young man pushed through the first door. (I would have done the same).

Again he found two doors inside.  The sign on the first door said, “very talented singer” and the sign on the second door said “does not sing”.  He pushed through the first door.

Again he found two doors inside.  The sign on the first door said, “Rich woman” and the sign on the second door said “Poor woman”

Once again the young man chose wisely.  He opened the first door.  This was good judgement, good calculation, good wisdom.

But this time, when he opened the door.  He found himself in front of a large mirror and there was a sign which read:

“You desire many wonderful traits in your wife.  It is time now for you to look at your own face.”

This is much like me. I often desire great performances from myself at my races.  I want pace and speed and grace, but have I stepped back and looked at myself?

Have I looked at myself in the mirror?

I want to finish a sub 11:00 Comrades but have I put in the training? Have I run the hard sessions? Have I put in the speed sessions, the hill sessions, the long distance sessions and the correct rest sessions?
Have I slept right? Have I eaten right?

It is easy to desire and then be disappointed and gutted at one’s race day performance.  But one must always look at oneself in the mirror and ask if one truly deserves that which one desires.

I agree that sometimes even after doing everything right one has a bad day.  But that will almost always be the exception and not the rule.

I was lucky that at BNP Endurathon 25.0 I didn’t have any extra-ordinary desires.  I didn’t want to run fast. I just wanted to finish.  For a change, I knew my limitations on the day.

But come January 2016 and I will once again start dreaming of Comrades 2016 and that elusive sub 11:00.

But I have come to realise that I will need to have a long hard look in the mirror before I next stand on that start-line.

And as far as finding a wife is concerned: All those doors have long been shut. !   


  1. Do I deserve what I desire...........

    that's a great one... keep up the spirit....cheers