Tuesday 25 August 2015

Free- Falling

Free Falling 

"Skydiving without a parachute 
Open to all directions 
And the longing for each direction 
Is destroying me". (Meir Ariel). 

I finished  the first 9 days of my triathalon training.   

They were pretty interesting days! 

Never have I felt so out of control. Never have I felt so out of my depth. 

Much like the poet, I did feel that I was skydiving without a parachute.  Free- falling was more like it.   

I felt the need to learn how to swim, I felt the need to learn how to cycle. I felt the need to continue my old routine of running and weight training.  

I felt pulled in every direction. 

I swam 4 times ( well, I splashed around in the pool to be precise).  I cycled 4 times (on the spin cycle in the gym to be precise), I ran 6 times and I did weight training 3 times.  

Occasionally, I even went to work. 

For the last few years, running had become second nature to me.  Running was my anchor. My life was organised around running.  

I could disengage my mind from running while I ran. Sometimes I solved work issues as I ran, sometimes I thought about my children, sometimes I thought about my finances, sometimes I thought about future runs, or about Comrades and on occasion, I even thought about lack of sex due to all the training.          

I spent a lot of time daydreaming about future runs and future training.   I thought about all the great runs I would enjoy in the future. 

And often times I didn't think at all.  I could simply zone out. 

But during almost all those runs, I didn't think about the actual act of running.  The legs and arms moved on their own.  I didn't have to coordinate much. The act of running had become second nature.  It just happened.  Running, like walking, is something we do instinctively. 

A lot changed in these last 9 days. 

Whenever I got onto the cycle, I had to think about cadence. I had to think about my heart rate.  I had to figure out the height of the saddle. I had to adjust the distance of the seat from the handle bar.  I had to think about my hands and legs and back and neck.  I had to keep them relaxed and keep them in form.  

I had to think about increasing or decreasing resistance  and I had to think about making large circles in my mind as I pushed the pedals ! 

It was the same when I jumped into the pool. 

I had to remember to keep my legs straight and not bend them at the knees. I had to remember to keep my head down and my eyes looking at the bottom of the pool. I had to coordinate the reach and the catch and the recovery.  

And most importantly, I had to remember to breathe. 

I had to remain present on the cycle and in the pool. 

Every time that I jumped into the pool or climbed onto a cycle, I had to focus on the act.  I stopped planning for the next day or the next week, the next month and the next year.  I had to forget all about long term goals.   I stopped day dreaming of the great Triathalons I would take part in, in some distant future. 

Even when I wasn't running or cycling or swimming or in the weight room, my mind was occupied with thoughts on how to schedule my daily life.    I was simply trying to plan each moment of the day.   I couldn't day dream about a half triathalon or a full time Triathalon.  I had to simply plan to survive each and every day. 

I need to train for two of the three sports almost every day.  I am not used to this.  Besides I have no skills in two of them. 

I haven't sorted out this new lifestyle.  

The day is still just 24 hours long and I still have to work for a living and I have to study math and physics and chemistry with Aryan.  I still have to go to work, travel for work and do all the things that need to be done.   

I also need to add hours to my sleep time because of the heavier physical exercise load. 

I continue to feel the pull of Comrades and running but I also feel the pull of this new adventure. I like jumping into the pool. I like the idea of leaning to swim. I like cycling. I'm waiting to get out on the road and dodging the traffic and the dogs and the potholes. 

I feel the pull of a triathalon.  

"Skydiving without a parachute 
Open to all directions 
And the longing for each direction 
Is destroying me". 

Yes I felt I was being pulled in different directions and yes I felt uncertain. I did feel like I was in a free fall. 

Except I don't think I was being destroyed. 
I remember a scene from the movie Forrest Gump.  As Forrest sits on the bench with a box of chocolates,  waiting for the bus,  a feather is being blown all over the place. It goes right and left and up and down.  The feather does not control the wind, it does not fight against the wind, it does not take a rigid stand against the wind.  It allowed the wind to take it on a journey. It allowed the wind to take it on a new adventure.  

The feather simply floats perhaps believing that existence will do what's best for it and take it wherever it's meant to go.   There was no point in planning for the distant future.   The feather was open to whatever experience the wind brought to it that very moment.  

I too am being blown around. 

But I have faith.  I have faith that, in time,  I will land in the place where I'm meant to be.

I cannot plan against so much uncertainty.  I must allow nature to take its own course. I need to remain focused on each and every training session without worrying what  the next session, the next week or the next month will bring. 

Like the feather, I must trust in the wind. I must trust in existence.

I am enjoying this journey.  

Free falling can be fun. 


  1. Amit, wishing you a free fall as you like and a landing to a place of your destiny!