A little over three months of running, and I’ve successfully run into some mild knee issues. A visit to an orthopedic doctor and a sports-therapist, some lessons in stretching and a 10-day break thanks to the holiday in Bangalore, meant that the running is now reduced to a brisk walk. Its been both comforting and frustrating all at once. Comforting to my knees, because they really need it, I think. But also mighty frustrating for my mind and body, because holding back a burst of energy that is surging through your body urging you to just take off into a sprint, is not easy. I find myself constantly in a mental tussle, telling myself to slow down, when really the rest of me is just screaming to go!
I think I have also hit that comfort zone where everything is a little too easy now. I no longer feel the endorphin high as easily and quickly as I used to. It takes longer for me to hit that sweet spot, where my face flushes, I break into that sweat (which only happens when my heart rate is fast enough) and the strides flow like a knife through soft butter. Starting out every evening is taking a bit of will power and determination. And as always I’m considering other options to vary the exercise, complement it and keep my body from slipping into a lethargic rut. Something that will give me a good work out, without tiring my knees or letting myself fall into a mundane routine.
The music keeps me going, and shuffle is the best invention since the iPod. Because it does that wonderful thing of taking you by surprise. Throwing up a track every now and than, that you had no recollection of. And giving you a chance to listen to a forgotten track in a new light, new time, new frame of mind, and conjuring up a whole new meaning for yourself. Like this track:
Previously, this took me straight back to bobbing up and down on a packed dance floor in Bangalore. A memory I now have mixed feelings about. But when you listen to it, as the sun is setting, with a brisk spring in your step, the sky wide open, the waves lapping by, it really changes everything. And no, don’t ask why I still have it on my playlist, even 12 years after I first heard it. Somethings, I just don’t outgrow.
When I’m not busy tuned into my music, accidentally breaking into a mini jig between steps and making a fool of myself, I people-watch. It keeps me from looking at the time, and most often the minutes just zip by without my realizing it. What can I say, I have such amazing food for thought, its hard to stay rapt.
Like the determined woman, I see every single day, without fail. She is so conscientious about her walk. It shows in her sporty attire, her squeaky clean sneakers and her perfectly times steps. But in her 2 inches of make up? Not so much.
Then there’s the boy in boxers. I mean, I’m all for boxers. Free access, better ventilation and all, but lounge around in them in your home, dude. Running out in the streets in your itty-bitties? No! Not done. Especially because, did you know you could herniate yourself you-know-where, if you let it all hang out when you’re exercising?
Same goes for the multiple women who walk around in the most unsupportive clothes. And by that I mean, get a sports bra, people! They’re not hard to find, and if you’re a regular walker, this is an essential. Because 10 years from now, when your boobies are racing southwards, you’ll be glad you held them up when you could.
Oh and what can I say of the group of old men I have befriended? They’re just the sweetest, happiest bunch I encounter, huddled on the same bench, every single day. They sit around, chatter, smile and watch the world go by. And me, as I cross them approximately 22 times in an hour. When I am missing for a few days, they’re sure to stop me and ask if everything is okay. When I returned from Bangalore I was told I must inform them before I go away on a long break, because they were worried something had happened to me. On 31st December, one of them beamed a big, bright smile to me and wished me in advance, lest I am too hung over to go out for a walk on the 1st of Jan. And when he saw me promptly back at the scene the next day, he wished me yet again, full of surprise! They’re the kind of old and fuzzy I want to be. And I hope I grow old in some place like Panjim. Where the air is fairly clean, the roads are safe and I can easily walk over to a bench and meet my friends every evening.
And then there are the kids who play in the park. They make for such entertaining creatures. Sometimes I wonder why nobody has figured out a way to make toddlers stay at that wonderful naughty age where they’re as amused by things bugs and caterpillars as they are by bellybuttons. Last week I saw a golliwog-mopped toddler with his T-shirt held up, pointing at his belly-button, comparing it with his friends. There they stood with their shirts up, squinting at each others’ bellies and bursting int peels of laughter. Someone really ought to figure out a way to trap them at this age and keep them there, at their entertaining best, forever.
Hormones really are a bitch when it comes to getting your body to do something it doesn’t want to. For the last week, I have been whiny, PMSy and just totally out of it. Every evening I have to muster all the willpower I have just to get myself out of the door. Once I am out, it takes a good 30 minutes before I am in the groove and soon after its all over. My 60 minutes are up and its time to head home. Something oddly unsatisfying about not feeling adequately worked out, while knowing fully well that it is my own body that is a hurdle in the matter.
The cold has dipped away and I am now considering finally joining that local pool, like I had planned to many moons ago. Maybe there I will be spared of the wardrobe malfunctions, wont have to worry about coaxing my body into submission and at the end of an hour I will feel worked out, no matter what.