Friday, 12 October 2012

Changing Goal Posts

Actually this is something my colleague said in a work meeting. We had a blazing telephone call with one of our collaborators. And then we were all super upset. At each other. At him. At life in general. We all said the same thing in different words for a while and in turn kept saying Oh we are saying the same thing in different words and kept arguing. Till the food came.

Its annoying, right? If the goal post is suddenly moved? Or should one work it, make it an advantage? Who knows. After much arguing and eating of food, we concluded that its all for the best. Someone spoke eloquently and very long and we concluded that its fine with us, the goal post can be wherever. It can keep changing. We will rise up to it. As long as someone brings samosas.

Like Calvinball, the fun is not in reaching the goal per-se. Its in having the creativity to make up rules, its in defying those same rules, its in arguing and fighting and calling names, and ultimately, deciding that its fun to do things this way, for us. Calvinball is just fantastic, isn't it?

My personal fitness goal post has moved now. Over the years, it has moved a fair bit, I guess. Being the world's best basketball player (1986-90). Being the world's fastest 100m runner (1989-93). Being a strong basketball player, stable under the board (1995-00). More basketball (2000-03). Being a fit pregnant person (2003-04). Losing flab (2004-10). Running (Forever-Forever).

As far back as I can recall, basketball has been an important component. I like to think that its only because I had a coach who saw some potential in me (us). We were a group who thought ourselves a team. I have never been a spectacular player, of course, but I have gotten the job done, even though I am small. And that has been very encouraging, and I have loved my time on the court.

What boggles the mind is that, if anything, I showed more potential as a runner. Why did I not pursue that with the same passion? I don't know. At any rate, its now not worth thinking about (though I do think about it a lot :-(). I just participated in races when they were there. I ran the sprints at the school level, and an open 'Road Race' that was held by the city admin every year.

And ever since I can remember, I have run to overcome frustrations. In college, I got out and ran to the gate and back, lamenting that it took me only 15-20 mins (now I know that the distance is 3.6 kms exactly, and I wonder, was it 15 or 20 minutes? Big difference, right?). In grad school, I ran laboriously on the treadmill (hateful thing), or, during spring & summer, outside when I could, and I always felt super happy after.

In the past few years I have retired from basketball fully, gone from a 2+ hour half marathoner to a sub-2 Half Marathon-er; scaled to full marathon distance; gone minimalist in my shoes; figured out GPS devices; incorporated core strengthening in my routine; discovered the pleasures of interval workouts; and learnt swimming.

My legs are in great shape. They feel strong. My core and abs are doing much much better than in 2004 (post child birth), though they do feel flabby, and therefore weak, often. My overall fitness doesn't leave much to be desired. However, my feet, have been an entirely different story.

My ankle twists, which had dramatically reduced in frequency, have come back. The noises that emanate from my ankles and feet in general when I walk, are ridiculous. I feel Plantar pain often. My toes look ridiculous. My heels hurt occasionally. Various bits of bone and muscle in my feet trouble me.  And in the recent past, I have had -not severe- but very annoying pain in my right foot. Like someone punctured something in there.

After much deliberation, and much prodding by friends and family, I looked it up on the web. It felt like it might a repetitive stress injury on one of the long bones in the foot. I was going to ice it occasionally and deal with it like that. But I got egged on to meet the doctor, and finally succumbed, because it really felt like this was going to really limit my movements, and I was miserable, and growing fat.

He does diagnose it the same as I did (I give him points for that). He recommends a whole host of things, some of which I can easily do, and things consistent with what I was planning to do anyway to manage this pain. He gave me a few pills. I thought I would resist it, but heck, I jumped on them as soon as I could. So much for knowing my own mind.

So again, the goal post moves. I am going to work on weight training for a bit, and stick to core strengthening and cross-training exercises that don't make me stay on my feet for over long. I am scaling back running mileage significantly - even below my 'maintenance mode' of 30km/week. And see how that goes.

Wait. The goal is what again? To keep on running till the end of time. This month's routine is also aimed at ensuring I can do that. Oh boy. That means the post hasn't changed at all. It has always been there in the same place all my life. Through all the basketball and horsing around with other things, and all those other goals that I have failed at, this has always been there... Heck, thats a revelation for sure! 

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