The first part of this trilogy is here
|The Bridger Range and its Ridge|
I have finished the Ed Anacker Bridger ridge run, so I consider myself eligible to write about running. Not just that, I have ran around 225miles and hiked 150miles in the summer between May15th and Aug 15th 2010. I had wanted to write a blog about the preparation and training I did for the Ridge run and an another blog about the actual race. But never materialized and is not going to happen. The whole getting into the race was a big deal, the registration for around 325 participants finishes in about 8minutes. WHAT!. That is true, and a good friend of mine couldn’t register it on my behalf! 🙁 She took 13minutes to finish the registration. (Anita, 🙂 I am still really thankful to you). There was another option to get into race, 10 individuals can volunteer for Montana conservation corps in trail maintenance in public land and get into race. I won that lottery and got in. Yipeee..! So much happiness for torturing your body.
I started running decent distances(3miles) during spring of 2009. I was running as a form of “workout” whenever squash court is busy. I started it on treadmill, I developed knee trouble(first injury), which I had for quite sometime, Icy hot, compression bands(bad idea, btw). Thanks to a magical thing called as “stretching” My knee trouble is a thing of past. By that time, I had quit treadmill and moved on to indoor tracks(good move!). I never ran outside during the summer of 2009. As a matter of fact, I never ran inside during the summer of 2010.
Hiking and Running are very closely related as it unites you to the nature. Trail running, even better. The Bridger ridge was a benchmark for me(even hiking), ever since I heard about it around August of 2009. I along with Ranjana hiked the entire course, The painful story is here. A lot had happened after that hike which saw me gulping ibuprofens, having knee trouble etc.
My fitness climbed, I was running 6-10miles during the winter and spring. Then I decided around May 15th 2010 to run the Ridge, thanks a lot to Thiru who was an inspiration. I started training, hike in backcountry, get lost and hike off trail. My fitness went on climbing. (My current VDOT number is 43). A VDOT calculator is here. That single race, including its preparation has changed the way I run and my entire idea about running.
Running is an art, it is synonymous with life, only other physical activity I can relate to running is dance. It is indeed a form of meditation, a trance like feeling. The runner’s high is not an imaginary stuff. It is indeed existent. The transcendental state you can reach has to be experienced. It is the only sane thing you can do alone in midst of many people and completely enjoy. The benefits are infinite. I was not running for benefits, I was running because I wanted to. May be I was running away, literally and figuratively. It gave me peace. It gave me peace of mind, I was running away from stuff. May be reality, may be harsh truths, may be from work. So much so that I am so tired, I don’t think, I don’t worry, I don’t blog, (I haven’t blogged in 3-4months). No complaints. In the summer, my only goal was the ridge run, to finish it without getting injured, even though I am not happy with the timing, I was without injuries, so much so that, I played soccer the very next day. Once the race was done, I started thinking again, (and I am in trouble) anyways, after the race I read “Born to run” the bible of running, (highly recommended). I fell in love with the book, and found an idol in Scott Jurek. I tweaked my running a lot, so much so that I believe I can shave an hour from the time of this year’s ridge run. The decision to run the next year’s race came the very next day. LOL. I am even thinking about running ultra-marathons.
And then, I thought I have figured out the body, I know the training, I can get faster, but most importantly, I enjoy running without getting injuries. I am not the clumsy 3miler or a 800m runner I used to be. Reminds me of the 2*400m rounds I used to make in my college days. But It took me a 10k race to understand the importance of mind in running (at least in running a race) I lost 4 minutes from the previous two 10k races I had done. I was expecting to shave 2-3minutes.
The mind needs to be calm, a race is meditation, you cannot meditate if you are disturbed. A race is not a war, it is a hunt, a compassionate ritual, an orgasmic love making. If you are evil, weak or impotent- don’t bother running.
Respect, in a more hippie way of saying, you have to be one with your body, mind and universe, if you need to perform. If you need to live, if you need to love.
-Santhosh K Ramachandran
P.S: I’ve no clue what I have written.
P.S: Three advice for newbie runners,
- Breathe through your nose (shut your f*kin mouth)
- Keep your core steady, ‘don’t drag yourself’
- Land on your fore feet and not heels
- Ok, bonus advice, running should not feel like work, if it is, something is wrong.