Almost all of us tend to start a new year with some or the other health related resolution. In that vein, sometime back, a friend asked me, ‘What app do I need to get back into running?’. Apparently, he had not been running for a while and wanted to get back into running and hopefully train for a half marathon. All very noble goals, the kind of resolutions we make for ourselves on new year's day. However, his question suddenly struck me and made me reflect for a while.
If we look at a modern runner, we see someone decked from head to toe as if heading to battle – besides the shoes, there is the GPS watch, heart rate monitor, the hydration belts with ergonomic bottles, gu gels, iphone arm bands, apps to track runs, ear phones with hand-picked playlists, compressions socks, sunglasses etc etc. Now, don’t get me wrong, all of the above definitely help and make for a more enjoyable running experience. However, I wonder if with this big focus on gear something gets lost in translation – the essence of running. Running is one of the simplest activities which can be enjoyed equally both by the rich and the poor. But, at what point does the simple joy of running gets replaced by the chore of tracking runs, monitoring heart rates, uploading charts and making sense of data.
My mind harks back to my childhood in India. Me and my siblings had a very middle-class upbringing in the 80’s and 90’s which meant that our family never had a lot of money. But somehow, I never seem to remember feeling the lack of money and proper gear being a hindrance in enjoying our childhood games. We used to play cricket with a bat which had a missing handle and a cork ball which was broken from so many places that it no longer looked like a sphere. Yet, trying to hit a ball making completely random movements with a bat you could not hold straight was so much fun. In fact, it was the most fun I have had in my life. My mind also goes back to our radio which had a broken cover and had so much static that at times it was hard to even figure out the words of the song being broadcast over the air. But I remember being moved to tears by those faint words barely standing out above the static. It was not the absence or presence of high-fidelity sound which produced a reaction in me. Rather, it was the meaning of what was being said and the connection which the almost inaudible words made with my heart which moved me. When I look back at those simpler days of my childhood, I realize that it was not the gear which produced the joy but the connection I felt in my heart which really made it memorable. In that sense, gear to me comes a poor second and instead, the most important part is to feel the joy and connection with the activity in its simplest form.
So, perhaps it might be fun to forget about the gear for a minute. For a change, let us forget the GPS, forget the heart rate monitor, not worry if we have the latest and greatest shoe, and forget about tracking the run. Instead, let us just get out there and just run and feel the wind in our hair, the sunshine on our skin and hear the sound of rustling leaves underneath. Let us first feel the joy in our heart and only then worry about our heart rate. For, in the end, it is not the app which gets us back into running, it is the thrill which keeps us going. To paraphrase Nike, let us just get out there and just do it.
Have a very happy new year in the great outdoors. Warm wishes for a healthy and prosperous new year from the Mishmi Takin team.
Thanks and Regards,
Picture Courtesy - Capt Suresh Sharma, Green Dot Expeditions
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