Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ramblings of a Running Mind

Would you run a race if you were not in very good shape? I have been wondering since the last few days if I should run the Hoosiers Outrun Cancer 5K that is about 10 days from now. I was wondering if should run the race because I am not in very good shape when it comes to running. During the summer, although I was active playing badminton and doing push-ups kind of exercise at home, I didn't run much. Recently, I started learning Hapkido, but again it is not the same as running: to do well in running you have to run - other games and exercises may be helpful, but nothing can substitute running to do better at running. You may say, "Come on - it's just a 5K, go do the race, don't think too much about it." And you are right, I probably should not be "wondering" so much about such a small distance race, but then wondering is what I do best (not in the normative sense, but in comparison to some of the other things I do), so how can I stop wondering? Anyway, to cut the long story short, there are primarily two things to consider: the registration fees - being a poor grad student, I think I have a legitimate right to worry about money matters; not being in satisfactory shape means poor performance compared to my previous races - this translates into likelihood of dissatisfaction with myself after the race.
They say when you have a mental conflict, it's a good idea to write down your thoughts - it clears up your thoughts. And looks like my thoughts are getting clearer with each additional word that I am typing. I am thinking, "Although I will most likely not perform as well as I have on previous similar distance races, my current race will give me an opportunity to get back in shape, and may be I will be able to beat my own timings in other forthcoming races." "$25 of registration fee and some dissatisfaction should be a good price to pay for the improvement in performance that may result in participating in the race." That sounds reasonable to me - what do you think? You would probably reply, "If you think it's reasonable, then it is." Yeh, I can run the race now!!!
Now, hold on I was trying to clear up my mind through writing, but may be all that I was seeking was some justification to do what I would have done anyway. Hasn't the 400 odd words of pondering whether or not to run, virtually ensured that I would choose to run? In the end, it seems like all that our thinking brain needs is a reason to do what we want to do - if we cannot find one, we invent one and make a blog post out of it.


  1. You have all the answers to all your questions, isn't it?

  2. Hi Wahi, what seem like answers are actually my hypotheses of what could possibly be the reasons or motivations of my own actions. We often think we know why we do what we do, but our perceptions may be very different from reality. Through this introspective process of proposing possible hypotheses, I only hope to get a little better awareness about myself over a period of time.

  3. Hi Paresh,
    your response is typical of a research scholar, you people dissect every thing- with so much of analysis, hypotheses etc. going into it.
    A lay person like me has to read your comments at least 03 times to grasp what you are trying to say.
    Now don't tell me you write only for the scholarly and not for the lay persons!

  4. Thanks Wahi for that comment. It's a valuable reminder that good writing is more about simplicity and clarity, rather than being arcane and abstruse. I certainly have a long way to go.