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.
a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause.
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 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 ?