Saturday, February 22, 2014

Healthy Aging And Marathon

Challenge Your Body Once In a While

People say consistency is a key to success as far as body fitness is concerned and I agree with this. However, I have also learned that once in a while we should learn to challenge your body. I experienced it for the first time when I ran my first Around The Bay marathon in Wellington. Believe me, it is not only about endurance but you learn so many other things when you complete the marathon. We all know that our brain governs the various functions of our body but you feel it when you are running the marathon. You learn that although brain governs various functions but in tough circumstances, each part of the body has capability to take decision without the governance of the brain. Also, running marathon develops a positive edge in you as far as body-brain functionality is concerned. It may all be against the principles of science but you feel it that way and hence get the confidence to convince your self to carry on when brain starts giving up. Doesn't it all look a bit haywire paragraph? OK, let me explain via my own experience..

Health aging Marathon starts

I tried half marathon for the first time in 2013 which was for a distance of 22KM.It is all fun till you are half way through. There are various reasons for that. First, you are all fresh and excited about the event and the second, the more important reason is there are thousands of happy people running with you. When you are half way through, large groups start breaking into smaller groups and as the time passes, you are running with one or two guys. That is the point when the first stroke of nervousness occurs because we are used to compare with others. That is when I told myself, do not worry, you are running for yourself and I had set 2 targets for myself. 1) I have to complete the race. 2) I should not come last. Anyway, I dragged my self for 3/4th of the race and guys last 4KMs are the ones you have to give your all and that is when you learn all about your body. If you are not determined then you give up but if you are determined this is the point when adrenalin flow start and your brain gets disconnected from your feet.You stop feeling the pain because your brain need not direct your feet. Your feet develop a kind of local intelligence. I am an electronics engineer so it is a bit easier for me understand this analogy with distributed control system where various part of the system have local intelligence and they communicate with each other as an when required. Your mind literally goes into subconscious state where nothing else matters but you and your movement. So, marathon helps you develop that concentration on one state of mind required to help meditate better in your day to day life. Then comes the last kilometer when feet automation comes to a breaking point and that is the time when your will power comes to save you from stopping. You get message from your brain, you are almost there and have reached to the point of no return. Do not give up now. That is the longest kilometer you cover in your life.
What I am going to write next is a real eye opener. After completing my half marathon in 2013, I decided that 22KM is a bit too long so in 2014 I decided to run 10KMs, thinking it will be too easy for me. But there also I learned a valuable lesson of my life. As I had thought, it was not easy. While running 22KMs, I was in a very bad shape in the last 10% of my track journey. Same thing happened, when I ran 10 KMs because again I was in a bad shape in the last 10% of my track journey. So, again we learn here that however difficult a job is our brain has self adaptable strategies and it gives up in the very last section of our efforts when our will power takes over. This is not true only for marathon but in all aspects of our lives.
And what is the last most important lesson you learn after completing a marathon? That lesson is of being humble. It is very easy to watch Olympics as a spectator and comment that if this runner had given a last push, he would have won at least a bronze. Guys, when you are running a marathon, you are almost running against you and now after completing to long races, I have a huge respect for the runner who was 200th in the race. 

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