Finally after years of contemplation and after some false starts, I made another start towards running yesterday. This time I hope I will go some distance (pun intended).Just like flying which I know is close to impossible, I have long dreamed about running. Running not to narrow my waistline, not the endless rounds in a closed stadium or even sprinting. I have always wanted to run outdoors and run long distances. To go places while running. If it sounds like inspired by Forrest Gump, it probably is.
In fact just like almost everything in that movie, that running was also a allusion to something in contemporary USA. Running is a obsession in USA. People run here everywhere, every time and every weather. I have seen people running at mid night in the middle of the road because the sidewalk was chocked with snow ! And I have seen males, females, teenagers, old people, very old people all of them run. And I love seeing it. Those sweating bodies, those long and steady strides, those agonized faces ! But as someone said,
" To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who's never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind. "
I will probably never run a marathon but hopefully someday I will be able to run enough distance to feel that agony.Coming to think of it, running seems so much like doing Number Theory, another one of my long held desires ! Both are very simple to get into, you require no special equipment and only thing required to get started is your willingness. However this simplicity belies the hardness of doing anything substantial in them. Runners hit the wall and Number Theorists run in to things like Fermat's Last Theorem. However the sweet pain of getting stuck in a problem and of pushing yourself beyond your limits is what creates the craving for them.
I think following quote by Jesse Owens captures the feeling perfectly.
"I always loved running...it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs."