Run Forrest, Run!

Every few months, I go through running phases. I’ll run a few miles every other day, develop a routine and at first I’ll stick to it religiously. Inevitably, after a month, or two, or three, something will come up. A week-long training for work, a holiday with friends or maybe a blizzard will prevent me from continuing my carefully crafted routine. And once I stop, there’s no starting back up. I am never able to get myself back into the same rhythm, and I generally give up and move on to a new obsession.

A month or so ago, I decided I wanted to run a half marathon, and I decided this time would be different. I had been running daily over the summer when I was in the US, but it was easy to keep up with my casual, flexible schedule of unemployment and beach-side living. Now, with my 1.5 hour commute and full day of work, it requires a little more dedication. I sort of follow the training plan on the app I’ve downloaded on my phone – I consider the runs during the week to be optional…depending on how motivated I am at 5am when my alarm goes off (generally I snooze the alarm for an hour until it’s time for work). But I always stick to the long runs on Sunday. Currently I’m up to 11.5km – almost half way to my half marathon distance! So far, so good.

One factor helping my motivation which I did not expect is the terrible traffic in Bangalore. Taking the bus to work takes 1:30 total, door to door, in normal traffic. If it rains, I’m easily over two hours. However, walking takes me 1:35. I can literally walk as fast as the bus drives. If you know me, you know that nothing infuriates me more than inefficiency. So it didn’t take me long to realize that I could cut that time in half by running. If walking is the same as driving, then running is twice as fast! I can’t run to the office – showing up all sweaty would likely be frowned upon…not to mention my shorts, which expose my legs. Scandalous. But I can run home!

In addition to being more efficient, it is sometimes necessary. I signed up for a dance class with some friends and didn’t consider the commute. I only have an hour and a half in between work and dance, and the studio is past my home, making the bus commute about two hours. This doesn’t work. It is also quite a hassle to find a rickshaw driver willing to take me that far for the regular, metered price. And then, once I find one, it is likely he has rigged his meter to be fast and overcharge me, which is the only reason he has agreed in the first place. Solution: Run to dance class! Problem solved.

Between my dance classes, running commute, my two upcoming 5K races this weekend AND my 11.5 run in between…I think I am right on track to complete that half marathon in January. Who knows, maybe I’ll keep it up and go for the full afterwards!

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