written by Garima Dhamija on Feb 14, 2018 in RUNNING
How Running and Surrendering Go Together
This was my second marathon – okay! Not if you count those two attempts at running a full marathon without really an understanding of what it means and what it takes.
I ran one Marathon last year (2017) – I always want to tread slow and strong now (especially given the difficult experiences of unprepared marathons the first two times). Which also means that each race you do becomes very important in your mind.
But during the 16-week training this time, ‘life happened’ a little more than earlier and I completed what could comfortably be labeled as ‘crappy training’. But wait, before you drop out of this long-form writing, this note is really not what went wrong but really about stuff that made it right.
So, as any marathoner would know, if you miss training and try to cover up for it in an ad hoc way, there is only one way to go – down! And down I went - just as my taper was about to begin (my last long run) my feet began to swell up – tight ankles and swollen feet in a matter of an hour had me on my knees! – okay – not literally, I am brave like that! but well almost. I couldn’t walk for more than 5 minutes and going up or down any staircase seemed like this would be the end of my running hobby cause my feet didn't like the idea!
The monkey mind had multiple thoughts – ‘I had messed up’, ‘this cant be fixed in 2 weeks’, ‘Yes, you can fix this’, ‘you shouldn’t do this race’, ‘this is an injury’ and ………well, if you have been there, then take your pick.
So, I rested it out for a week (horrid!), foam rolled and stretched my poor and abused lower limbs and overall made lame attempts to be nice to my legs. And then I landed up at the physiotherapist’s clinic –I set the goal for him – “I have 10 days – I can’t walk today, I want to race a marathon in 10 days”. At the end of 5 physio sessions – (and two trial runs), after having oscillated from hope to despair, I settled for “I don't know”. I didn’t know if I could run, I didn't know if the pain and swelling would come up during the race – I didn’t know.
And then I did what I always do – go back to Yoga Sadhana – with my unflinching belief that Yoga Sadhna will do something. At my dear friend and yoga teacher’s classes, in these two weeks, I started to automatically drift towards ‘Isvara Pranidhana” - a Niyama that is the last Niyama to be quoted in the Yoga Sutra and a Niyama which to me is simple but not ‘easy’.
Isvara Pranidhana is made up of Isvara –call it God, Supreme Being, Ultimate Reality, True Self and Pranidhana – loosely translated as ‘Surrender’ - surrendering to the Highest Being – within or outside of you. In the Yoga classes, Kavitha’s words become my daily mantra. During this time, I automatically absorbed asana instructions - “you don’t have to take it, its all given to you” (inhale) and “surrender-someone will take care of you” (exhale). That became my window to Isvara Pranidhana.
I got to Dubai with no idea of whether or not I would race – and in total peace with the uncertainty – believing that something will tell me whether to do this or not and if I ran and couldn't run after a point, something will tell me to stop. I experienced a complete detachment from the outcome.
We put a lot of effort into things that are important to us and then it is natural for us to worry about what might be the result – “will I complete the race in the time I have set”, “will this initiative be successful”, “will my ailing family member get better”, ”will my boss recognize my effort”. Which means we are never completely invested in our actions because of our minds are concerned about the outcomes.
When I stepped on that start line (yes, I did, cause I had no anxiety and no expectation – had a general sense of calm), I stepped with ‘Isvara Pranidhana’ (=Someone will take care of me).
Surrendering required me to acknowledge that I can do my best in each situation - I can’t do more than that – realizing this allows us to engage completely in the action at that point – being completely present. So, in the 42.2 k in Dubai I remained completely present - making an effort but in complete surrender – of the 47,296 steps it took me to run the 42.2 k, I won't be exaggerating to say that 20k steps would be with my mantra of ‘someone would take for me’ – flashes of pain in the foot came and went away calmly without meaning anything. I ‘opened up to what is’ and instead of fighting against the activity, I remained open to experiencing it as it unfolded. And the surrender unarmed me so beautifully that I smiled (yes, literally smiled) through the race – I would have put up the race pictures here but they cost a bomb. And lest I forget, I finished in Personal Best time – 5 minutes faster than my previous race.
Remaining fixed in any patters leads to a limited life - My ‘sense of control, structure, activity’ – had so far given me solace and had served me when I was getting derailed from life. Now, sidestepping from that pattern to ‘surrendering’ was highly challenging and a bit scary. My courage to surrender helped me experience myself and the universe in a completely new and different way –
Surrendering the results of your actions and surrendering to ‘what is’ requires. Trust in your deep and true self or ‘something beyond’. It requires an acceptance of who we are in the moment which ultimately leads to freedom.
-- Garima Dhamija.
submit a comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *