Friday, January 27, 2012

Republic day run : Another use of keeping your mouth shut...

Republic day.  62 years ago - this day, a new script was written.  Adopting the best out of the world's great democracies, a code of reference, the bible of democracy for the Indian republic was born.   The constitution since then has been amended more than 100 times.   Changing with times, adapting and flexible, but strong.

The run like the Indian
flag, and constitution
was flexible, but strong
Through the day, the locality was all filled with the Indian tricolor.  Kids with tri-color balloons, elders with tri-colors pinned in their dresses - loud speakers blaring patriotic songs,  the mood reflected the happiness and gaiety of Indians feeling as a nation.   Or a simplistic point of view of a mid-week holiday for a workaholic.

Either way, people were happy and loud.  Earlier in the day, we lost our respective races held at our residential society.  I lost the slow cycle race, my kid lost a spoon-marble race and my wife lost a three legged race.  But it was fun.  Then, it was a great game of cricket with my son.

It was a slightly warmer evening.   The day was hot.  The death of winter told by the searing rays of the sun. 

The evening run was to add mileage, but recover quickly.  So a mid distance - 12k was planned.  

For the first 4 km, ran the usual style.  Dead slow, with occasional bursts of speed was the usual pattern. Whenever I accelerated,  I used to breath through my mouth - until this break.  After stretching and sipping some apple juice and water, I started running.

I decided to run through Damu Nagar - a busy downscale locality.  After the bustle of this noisy neighbourhood, it was sudden darkness and quiet.   The dark shadows of the leaves danced against the sudden burst of cool air.  Few men engaged in small talk and pouted smoke out of their lips.  Some suspicious dogs were marking their territories with their urine.

Suddenly, the focus was on myself.  Suddenly, I realized, my mouth was shut.  Pursed and locked, in fact.   The exhalation was in rhythm with three steps and then silent inhalation.  Against the cool and dark visuals, this was like music.  Hssh...hssh...hsssh...tak... silence... tak... and repeat.  

The rhythm was so good.  The lungs started enjoying the chill.   Then it was a nice run downhill and then the flats.

Two kilometers later, the inside of the ear-lobes were chilled.   I swallowed my saliva and then locked my lips again.   The brain was floating - it was getting heady and my eyes blurred with the excess supply of oxygen.  But the rhythm was steady.   I increased the speed - longer strides, but the breathing was synchronized.   Hssh..hssssh...tak... silence... tak and repeat.  

All along, I was watching my cadence ( step vs inhale-exhale cycle) and my heartbeat. Both were steady. Especially, the heartbeat rate was steady.  Surprise!   Steady breathing in harmony with the steps helps to keep the heartbeat rate low.  

Around the 10th km, I increased the stride length and gained speed.   But the breathing, only through the nose, with lips locked, and steps being synchronized, the heart beat remained steady.  

When I wound up after two further km,  my heart beat was slow and steady!   Voila!!!  My recovery was less than 10 minutes.   What magic oxygen can do!  And saving on hydration!   I ran for a full 45 minutes without a drop of water.  

It was a strong and flexible run, like the Indian flag and the constitution.

Summarizing what I tried:
  1. Breath through the nose
  2. Keep the lips locked
  3. Synchronize your breath with your foot steps
  4. Start with a slow pace
  5. Feel comfortable with your heart beat
  6. The heart beat, the foot step and the breathing all should be in unison
  7. Try increasing speed but no compromise on 1-6.
It was a different and interesting experiment.   One should surely try this during a day run.   If it works, it is another solid use of keeping one's mouth shut!

- The One

(Pic courtesy the One)

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