Friday 16 October 2015

Eat your Jam - today

Eat Your Jam Today!
“The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day”: Alice in Wonderland.

I truly believe that every runner must keep a log book.  It is simply a book where he or she can log the miles run, along with some basic information about time, pace, kind of terrain run on, weekly total etc.  This helps a runner know where he’s been in terms of his training and where he is headed. 

The training program written in advance into the log book helps one plan the work week because after all, we are all people with day job’s and real life has to be manipulated around the running program. 

Sometimes, looking at the log book after a race, helps one identify what went right and sometimes what went wrong.    

I started keeping a log book since the time I started running about 10 years ago and I can look up what I did in terms of running on each and every day in the past 10 years. It almost seems like the, “This day in history” column we see in some newspapers. 

I normally have two log books next to my bed, that of the current year and that of the year gone by and I often like to look at exactly the same day and week of the previous year.  This helps me know where I stand in terms of my fitness.  Having written down my future training program into the log book weeks in advance also helps me know what is coming and helps me prepare mentally.

But all good things taken to an extreme can be abused and at some point become counterproductive.

On Friday night, I fell sick.  I suffered from food poisoning.  I spent most of the night in the bathroom, doubled up over the pot, pucking out the contents of my stomach.   The night left me so dehydrated that the next morning, the Doctor administered two bottles of IV fluids. 

I lost my Saturday morning run.  I spent most of Saturday in bed but I hadn’t recovered enough to even go and run on Sunday and consequently lost the Sunday run.  I spent most of Sunday also in bed.  

On Sunday evening, I opened the log book to total the week’s mileage.  It broke my heart to write 0 km for Saturday and 0 km for Sunday.  I opened last year’s log book and saw that I had done a 15k on Saturday and 25k on the same Sunday.  The weekly total fell short by 40k as compared to a year ago.  I felt extremely sad.

But by Sunday night I felt reasonably recovered and was determined not to log in another 0k for Monday, especially since the old log book showed that I had run an easy recovery run of 10k the previous year. It also bothered me that another 0k would ruin the week planned ahead.

As the alarm rang on Monday morning, I was torn.  Should I go run or simply take one more day of rest to ensure total recovery?  What was the right thing to do?  How must I live today as today dictates or should the past decide my current course of action? Must I run today as today dictates or should I let my future running plans dictate what I run today?

I remembered one of my favourite poems by Kalidas which I had learnt as a student in the 10th grade:

Look to this day
For it is life, the very life of life........
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new.
I pondered over the words and I knew what I had to do.  I also had support from various quarters. 

At one end there was Kalidas, glorious and full of divinity and at the other end was Alice in Wonderland. 

I’ve always hated Alice in Wonderland, especially when I was a kid.  I hated the idea of chasing a rabbit down a hole and the name Mad Hatter seemed to me extremely disturbing.  However, it does have its share of wisdom which was lost on me at that time.

The Queen tells Alice that she will employ her for “Two pence a week, and jam every other day.” The Queen further clarifies that, “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day”.  So Alice objects, “It must come sometimes to jam to-day”, “No, it can’t,” said the Queen. “It’s jam every other day: to-day isn’t any other day, you know.”

Lying in my bed that morning, I realized that that’s how I was living.  Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow, never jam today. 

I had forgotten that this moment was the only real moment that there is.  I couldn’t make my plans based on either last year’s log book or on the future schedules written down in the current years log book.  I had to live each day as it dawned.  I had to live each day to the best of my ability.

I knew I had to make a decision for the day, which was relevant for that particular day.

I knew I needed one more day of rest.

I stayed in bed that day.  I didn’t go to run.  When Neepa returned from her run, I joined her in the garden for a cup of coffee and a slice of toast and yes, I did put a lot of Jam on it!

1 comment:

  1. I guess we all have to listen to our body - an important lesson I remember having read in your book. I have no doubt you will achieve your ironman goal. Slowly but surely