Letters of Life


The promise of a new day.

The promise of a new day.

Today, Saturday, is a brand new morning. The skies haven’t been this blue for a long time, and the early-morning clouds are feathery, fluffy, full of glee.

On such a morning, all the runners are out in the open. They’ve slipped on their runners, turned on their running apps, and have, with grateful abandon, hit the road.

I watch them in my mind, standing at a window in my head, like a convalescent child who has to stay behind while everyone goes to a party.

Truth is, ever since I got back from a lovely vacation in the UK, there was a compulsion to get down to some serious running—afterall, the half-marathon race I impetuously signed up for is in eight short weeks. So, even while battling jet lag from a 12-hour flight over two continents, an ocean and a couple of seas, I laced up on Monday morning and ran leisurely for 45 minutes. It felt great, I felt good, and I added on some core exercises (pushups, planks, leg lifts.)

On Tuesday, I decided to drop into a Pilates class. Pilates is the silent killer, involving slow stretches, twists and flexing of core muscles for sixty minutes. Focusing on form while doing leg lifts and balancing acts don’t amount to a lot of sweat, but my innards made themselves felt the rest of the day.

On Wednesday, I felt the full brunt of that innocuous Tuesday hour. That night, I had a two-hour training session at the track with a running coach. I told myself I wouldn’t push it, but a pressure comes with doing things in a group, even though you know you have nothing to prove to anyone, especially strangers, and even if everyone else, except for the two 10-year-old boys, runs faster than you.

It probably didn’t help that the session was focussed on speed intervals: running at a perceived effort that measures eight upwards on a scale of one to ten in between short recovery intervals.

Thursday came around. All the things I had in mind to do were shoved aside by a headache. Friday rolled around, and there is nothing worse, I can’t imagine right now, than waking up two mornings in a row with a headache.

Yes, I had hydration issues, but more than that, I had overexerted myself under a foolish compulsion to build up my fitness level to an insane, unsustainable level my body wasn’t prepared for.

Part of training for a race is about learning your body. I kick myself for not prepping it before launching into a grueling regimen, for not watering it enough, for not resting it enough, for vainly thinking I was up for high-intensity training when it clearly wasn’t.

I’m feeling a lot better now, the nausea, the chills, the general malaise, have gone, and I woke up, thankfully, without a headache.

Today is a beautiful morning. This one is for leaning back against.


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