C is for Captivating Jungle Run
Easter Weekend 2014, Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand, India
Running is not what comes to me naturally. I run because, I think it’s a pretty good fitness option. It helps knock off those extra kilos and the intensive cardio tones you up. It works as a more viable option than yoga, or cycling as you burn a lot more calories. When prefer running or cycling, in the open air, away from the stuffy confines of a gym.
In 2014 I decided to run 10k at the annual Corbett marathon. The Corbett trail is a captivating one, shrouded by dense and mysterious forests. I had already attempted two 5 km runs at the same venue two preceding years in a row, accompanying the DH, a sincere and avid runner who mostly runs half and full marathons. I hadn’t trained for the run at all and was out of touch. So I had my apprehensions, but coaxed by my running buddies, I decided to go ahead and take the plunge. My running buddies from Runbugs, the motley crew I used to run with, and I undertook an 8 hour bumpy ride from Gurgaon,(Near New Delhi) peppered with oodles of laughter, madness and gluttony, to arrive at our destination.
The run was scheduled for early morning, the next day. Maple Resorts, where we were putting up , was surrounded by a wide cover of forests. Tiger sightings in the vicinity were not uncommon.
I woke up early, and showered; my regular ritual before a run. Showering before a run charges and energises me and hurls me headlong into the challenge. I had a nagging knee pain from a previous running injury so I was not sure if I would be able to run the entire 10k. But I put aside all those debilitating thoughts and told myself to focus on enjoying what lay in wait. All the runners trooped together on the dusty track and as the gunshot heralded the start of the run some ran, some sprinted, some just plugged into their ear phones and charged ahead rejoicing in the experience.
I joined them by initiating the Nike app on my phone, strapped on my armband. No music for me I had decided. Who needs music when you are right in the midst of the sounds of nature. I happily pounded the tar road that was flanked by the bewitching jungle on both sides, inhaling the crisp, fragrant forest air. The lush green forest and the nip in the air made for an awe-inspiring environment. The runners ran with focus and commitment towards their target distances, cheering all the runners who crossed their way. The team spirit was as palpable as the beauty of the forests that seemed to scoop the running track in a big warm hug. The huge trees towered upon us, and the chirping birds were singing a “buck-up” song. Some runners spotted a herd of wild elephants at a distance, I found out later. Some were unnerved, some too thrilled, and some I guess intimidated by the sight of these pachyderms whom I missed by a whisker. But I was lucky to enjoy the journey of my run that lasted precisely an hour and thirty-six minutes. What surprised me is that not once did I stop to walk, despite the niggling knee pain. After all I was captivated by the beauty around me.
While I was running through these bewitching forests, I realised it’s not the destination that matters, but it’s the journey that counts. We can choose to make that journey worthwhile by not worrying about what the destination or the future has in store. Instead we can opt to listen to the present and relish it while travelling through this odyssey of life.
My theme for this year’s Blogging from A-Z Challenge is Travel Epiphanies that are my very own tales of adventure and revelation. I will be writing 26 posts throughout the month of April. You can read my theme here.