–By Vipul Majeji
The devil in us is often fear…So how about going for the kill and conquering the devil? Just a few months back I was sitting in front of my laptop contemplating whether I should register for the ‘Devils Circuit‘ race in Bangalore or not. Now Devil’s Circuit is not an ordinary race but is an obstacle course spread out over 5kms and more like American Ninja. The training it requires is drastically different from what we do for marathon running. I was wondering whether I was brave enough to attempt this challenge or not? Do I have the courage to complete the event or I’ll end up giving up?
As I was contemplating what to do, I suddenly got a call from my good friend and ultra marathoner Jaydev Raja or J Bro as we call him. He called to inform me that he has registered for a 100mile run at Pune in November. As I heard about his plans it blew my mind, here I was wondering whether I am brave enough to register for an obstacle run and this guy aged about 46 years casually went ahead and registered himself for a 100 mile run. What amazed me was his clarity of thought and confidence, he spoke about a fixed training plan and a proper method to approach the run.
J bro asked me for some suggestions and I just told him to attempt the run only after preparing well and not just prematurely. He said he has given himself time to think and has mustered up the courage to be brave enough to register for the run. I just wished him luck and promised him help in anyway I was capable enough of extending.
The conversation got me thinking, is being brave or courageous just a one off act or is it about the way we lead our lives?
Now J bro had just attempted the ‘Ladakh Ultra’ this year and he went there confident but under prepared. The training required for Ladakh Ultra is very different and he registered too late to do any training and proper acclimatising, so he did make a brave attempt to finish the run but failed to finish as his body gave up in the high altitude and he had to quit mid way. Now what amazes me and attracts me to sports is the attitude every sportsman has…. They don’t see failure as a problem and go on circling around the same subject like a tongue on a rough tooth, instead they see failure as an inspiration. This man had the courage to get up and motivate himself to register for something even more tough and was experienced enough from his previous failure to not attempt the race without putting in the hard work needed to achieve it.
Bravery in running for me is not the just about the performance on the race day…It’s not just about the pain and fatigue one faces to complete the last leg of the marathon running in the heat, rain or cold. In a small measure it is but not in it’s entirety.
What we do on race day is only the result of the ‘never give up‘ attitude we have developed during the training in the months prior to the race day. To be brave is about waking up at unearthly hours 5-6 days a week and running in the heat, cold or rain. It is about all the strength training, interval training, hill repeats and more that one puts in to achieve their targets on the race day. It is here one develops the mental strength to achieve the unthinkable on the race day.
The attitude of not giving up is only develops by having the confidence of training hard and knowing that you have worked and trained hard enough during the long march towards the race day.
I knew that I was afraid of the Devils circuit but wondered, “Can I still be brave ?”
I guessed that the only time to be brave is when we are afraid of something.
That gave me the strength to go on and register for the event and train for it. I just had to remind myself that “IT IS TIME TO BE BRAVE AGAIN !!”
PS – I did go on to slay the devil at the Devils Circuit and I’m sure that J bro will also conquer the 100 miles at the Pune Ultra and I wish him all the best for the race.