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Why running feels similar to marriage

Okay. I may be alone in feeling so, but this is what I have learnt with both marriages – the love marriage with husband and the arranged one with running.

Marriage is marriage. Whether you enter matrimony flushed with the hues of romance and the “being in love” state with a person or approach marriage to a chosen activity (like running) with the steely resolve to make it work, the demands placed on the participant are more or less the same.

Our inability to comprehend the full extent of commitment and lifestyle changes and our obstinate resolve to take it head on, is common to both – marriage to another human or to the act of running. The truth remains the same. Success of the arrangement hinges on will and commitment, of consciously turning a blind eye or a deaf ear, of playing the fool as and when the situation demands and of course, repeatedly absorbing the full impact of one’s choices.

The arranged marriage gives way to some kind of love eventually and the love marriage works out some kind of an arrangement. This polygamy or polyandry is a tough tightrope to walk. Yes. That’s what it is called when you have two marriages going on simultaneously. Even if your surname is Bond.

Coming back to similarities.

Moments of flustered introspections, of asking, “WHAT made me do it?!” would be, I reckon, similar in frequency in both pursuits. So would, “and WHY am I still at it?”. The practice of hissing and carrying on, of telling ourselves it’s all worth it, of feeling relieved in seeing somebody else go through the effort and the camaraderie of shared misery is the same. It’s what bonds people who are married and/or are runners.

Drinks can be guzzled and cups of coffee downed over animated discussions of shared symptoms, plans and experiences.

Once the marriage is past the honeymoon stage, begins the pressure of delivery. I mean, how long do you intend to go about with the aimless fun and masti? When will you have something to show for the time spent together? So begins the next phase. Some of us are able to hold our ground for longer than others, but cave we do. Finally, it’s time. Did you deliver what you wanted? Did you get a baby bonnier and prettier or a run faster than the others?

So, maybe you did. Now you are left cradling the baby in your arms. The kid has to be brought up, educated, put through the paces and the run nurtured with better time, longer distance and varied terrain.

Huff and puff away yet again. Get sucked deeper into the cycle. All in the name of ‘reinventing’ oneself.

And if somebody dares question the meaning of your life, of course, you’d rather be caught dead than accept that life would have continued beautifully, even without. Or, by now you are addicted to near masochism and a vehement denial is an automatic response. By now, you belong to a cult, a family and thrive on and off each other. You say deliverance but act compliance.

But hopefully, you haven’t lost your sense of humour. Because then buddy, your marriage and your running are in danger of falling apart. Who says one can’t laugh about it? Or laugh at oneself? And do it publicly?

And in case you are a bachelor or bachelorette wearing a smug look on your face reading this, thinking yourself a cut above the rest – the reality is not so different for you, my friend. You are instead, in the dating phase and suffer the same symptoms of blood rush and elevated heart rate. Plus, if you are truly honest, the pressure to get married, in all likelihood, is pretty much on.

We are all one in the end. Bow down to the fact and move on. Or run along, shall I say?

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to anybody you know is purely intentional. The views expressed are author’s own, though she could swear she is not alone. Just more enlightened maybe…

And if your sense of humor is a dried well, either your marriage needs intervention or you are not a true runner or both.


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