Thursday, July 12, 2018

Lost in the woods

Lost in the woods

I was running on a trail. The redwoods were a magnificent sight and I was basking in the glory of running amidst nature. The organizers had asked us to follow the arrows marks and said that volunteers would be stationed at regular intervals. 
I was soon lost in the beauty of the pristine green surroundings, the chirrup of the birds and the rustling sound of the leaves.  So much that I failed to keep track of other runners.
All on a sudden, I came to a halt. I seemed to have missed the arrow marks. Was I going in the right direction? Where were the rest of the runners?  I looked around frantically hoping to see someone who could guide me in the right direction. 
I looked at the ground hoping to see an arrow mark somewhere as an indication of  where I was headed. All I saw were wild mushrooms. Beads of perspiration began to form on my forehead. I took out my phone and saw there was no signal. I almost cried out in despair. I ran up and down the pathway but I was clearly lost. 

“Hey there, looking for something?” 
I turned around to see an elderly lady dressed in a red t shirt and track pants.  
“I lost my way.” I said almost in tears. 
“Here. Have a sip of this”. She said handing me an energy drink. 
“Where are the other runners? You see I was asked to keep track of the arrow marks but I couldn’t find them. “ 
“Relax. You will be fine.” She assured me. 
“Are you running too?” I asked. 
She smiled. 
“Just go down that pathway and take a right turn. You will reach a road and if you follow that road, you will reach the finish line.” 
I took a sip of the energy drink and listened to her instructions. 
I looked at the direction she was pointing at just to get a vague idea about the path I was going to follow. 
“Thanks” I said turning towards her. But she was not there. 

“Hello. Where are you?” I called out. 

Suddenly everything seemed still. The eerie silence in the woods was deafening. Confused I headed towards the muddy pathway and ran for a while before I took a turn towards the road.   Some volunteers were stationed there. They were dressed in white T shirts and shorts. 
“Looking good.” they said as I paused at the aid station to take a sip of water. 
“You know one of your volunteers was really helpful. I got lost she directed me this way.” Pointing to the direction where the woods were deep. 
One of the volunteers looked at me strangely. “There is no one there”, he said. 
“That lady in red T shirt...” I began. 
“All our volunteers wear white t shirts. Not sure whom you saw.” he exclaimed. 
I shivered as a gentle breeze blew at that time. 
I soon reached the end of my run.  

“Hello there, so how was your run?” The organizer asked smiling at me. I mentioned about the lady in red and he looked as perplexed as the volunteer. 

“Well, we don’t station our volunteers there. That part of the woods carries some stories I hear.”
“Like?” I prompted
“Oh, we don’t want to scare you. Enjoy the breakfast.”
As I went home I couldn’t help but ponder about the lady in red. 

Who was she??

Happy Friday the thirteenth! 😱

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Lessons from trail running

Running imparts some interesting  lessons that holds forte in the long run. (Pun intended) Looking back at the events that I have done, there has been an interesting mix of trail and road running. While both courses have been challenging, I realize how trail running tends to enhance your mental strength a lot more. 

Runs organized in a city have an enormous crowd support and volunteers stationed at every nook and corner.  Those placards with witty lines and loud cheers work as a marvelous booster. Enough to melt those fatigue spells and break down that infamous runner’s wall. You derive strength just seeing fellow runners by your side. Makes you realize that you aren’t alone in your journey to the finish line.

Trail running on the other hand does not always attract a large crowd. The loud cheer by the city crowd is conspicuous by its absence on these courses.  A chance of getting lost in the woods is pretty high if you do not follow the coloured arrow marks on these uneven terrains. 

Nature’s trail presents a runner with some daunting inclines and harsh weather conditions. When you look around in despair just for that little motivation, you realize you are on your own. 

Similar to life’s scenario where at times you are left to tend to your own troubles. People may not always turn up at your doorstep to pull you out of your woes. Such instances make you tougher and gives you the confidence to battle some really trying circumstances without having to depend on other folks. 

The Gita emphasizes the fact that you come alone to this world and go back alone. Glad that the one year in US has taught me this. 

As the saying goes what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.