The 10×10 of Ramkumar Sundaresan

I do not know this man – never met him, never spoken to him or for that matter never had any kind of communication (email, chat whatever).

All I know is that about a week or so back, Ramkumar started posting his run reports on Chennai Runners when he started his 10×10 almost innocuously. They were refreshing, different and engaging. Each post was a story which made me smile and reflect. So, I am going to copy-paste his stories here. I haven’t asked his permission yet, but I hope to do so sometime, but I am guessing that he would not mind [my rationale being that he mailed them to the public domain googlegroups anyway].


Day 10 – Aug 7

Today was the D day. I always had a dream of doing 100 km in one week. Approx 15 km per day. After a good run yest, I asked myself, can I breach the 150 km mark? It all depended on how I felt in the morning .I prepared the whole day, to plan my strategy. I hit the bed , early, and  slept one extra hour ,,my legs were fine ,,and I had the confidence , to  take on the challenge. The best distance, I had done was on 20th July10,  my birthday , 25 Km. But I was properly rested the previous day. This run was different .I thought; I will take it km by km after 15. I was hoping I will get some cloud cover, but it was not to be. The weather was hot. The sun was out, just after 5 km of my run. I started only at 6 30 Am. I got a nice pace and confidently crossed the 10 km. The traffic had picked up and so I headed towards the park. I had kept my bicycle and my drinks, close by the park, so that my transition is quick. Every thing went on very smoothly today. I started struggling after 25 km.The last 5 km really took the toll. it was 10 pm at that time and very hot. but I wanted to do the 30 km today .. it was a great feeling, after doing the mark

This 10/10 challenge is a wonderful idea. It was so inspiring to see, so many stars of the Chennai runners, performing together. It was very encouraging. I hope such innovative ideas are introduced off and on, to get the best out of our members…

This spread sheet idea, is also wonderful. We can list all our runs daily in this .encourage and inspire each more suggestion, We should list out all the marathon events and indicate who is participating in what. that will inspire people to join them.  Many had such wonderful words for my writing. Thank you very much. I will reply each one of you…

Day 9 – Aug 6

It’s wonderful to see, srinath,venu, shankar have finished the challenge so  fabulously. putting in 20+ runs in the last  days of the challenge.  I was also inspired to do the same. Though I slept late, I got up early. Had a quick shower, and got ready. I wanted  to start at least by 5 45 Am…But could manage to  start only by 6 Am. the weather was fine though a bit humid…I switched to running in road, from sand. Today. I found the surface , easier to run, and my pace was good. The only problem, with roads, is the uneven surface, potholes and dangers of spilled oil, glasses has to be careful. Or it may lead to un necessary mishap. In the sand, it’s very safe in that way. And the legs have a natural cushion. Running in the road, is like riding a road bike than a MTB…one can pile up distance faster, compared to sand…I reached the 10 km mark soon. I have noticed that when you fix a target to run. It’s usually, the first 20% and the last 20% of the distance , is the toughest, to negotiate , Not only in running, in any task, you take up like cleaning dishes, washing clothes Etc it’s the same thing.. Why? May be its psychological, more than anything else.

I had to switch my running, to the park, to continue. It was wonderful. The usual heat,one  experiences at 8 Pm was not there. I completed the 17 km. I continued on, the last 3 km was a struggle. I was fighting hard; to complete the, eventually I managed to do it.It was a great run.

Day 8 – Aug 5

Today I crossed the barrier of a rest day, and got ready for another day of running, I hate taking rest days from running…Its equivalent to going to work on a Sunday! It was a wonderful run in sand again, 11 km. . . .hope I had some more time to run, I have only myself to blame , if I start my running so late in the morning ..But to put in a steady 10 and 10 + km for the eighth day continuously, I have to thank the challenge of the event…Wow…it has really got me going

People ask me, why do I run? For me, this question always leaves me dumbfounded. I nod my head, I don’t know. Moreover, it’s very difficult to answer this question, to a guy for whom, running is not a passion…

Years ago, I was attending a management class. They asked me’ what I want to be’, my goals, my ambition etc I mumbled something. The answers didn’t even convince me. But others had wonderful answers; ‘want to become an entrepreneur, rich, CEO’ Etc. Then he asked another question “Now, if you all have only one hour to live, how will you live it. Don’t think, answer immediately” he thundered…I stood up immediately, and said.”Sir, I will find a peaceful road, and go for a long run” every head turned towards me, they knew I am talking the truth. Many asked me, after that.’Is running very important to you’, I don’t know. But I remember the day. My mom died, I ran…the day my dad died, I ran, my nephew died, I ran.

Why I run? In the morning, when the dawn breaks, there is a sensation in my body… When I put on my shoes, the running dress and get ready to run…there is a feeling of joy, which sweeps through me, I have got sick of eating g delicious food, other pleasures…but ,the joy of running has not diminished a bit, even after 20 years of running. It’s only increasing day by day. When I hit the track, a peace descends on me, my world is magically transformed,The trees look greener, I start noticing the butterflies, the worms that dart across the sand, .As the sun shows more and more of this world, the beam of my running reveals more of my inner and outer world. As I keep running my world becomes bigger and bigger…

I virtually, run away from this world and enter another one, where all my problems seem far away. My mind is serene and peaceful, and my body feels alive and full of enthusiasm. I feel pushed into a state of a virtual paradise, from where I never want to come back, I am in deep communion with my self…I want nothing in that moment, other than the joy of being myself. My mind meets my body. My body meets my mind. I have no identity. I have no desires, no wants…I feel complete.

This feeling lasts almost the whole day. My being gets filled with love. And I am very this the reason, I don’t know. And I know ,I can never know..

Day 7 – Aug 4

It was around 4 30 Am, when I woke up, with a start, as mosquitoes were having an early lunch, at my expense. I had no energy to apply the repellant or put on the machine. I pushed the lecherous insects with my feet. I was no match, it attacked me repeatedly. I smacked at one. And killed it, but it not deter the others…they continued with their feasting. I gave up; got up from the bed…my sleep was over, it was not a pleasant way to get up

The mosquito so tawny and weak. The whole of mankind wants to exterminate it and I heard elephants rush out, after the rain, to the periphery, of the forest, as they are unable to bear the mosquito attack. It’s so strange, such a weak creature, survives against all odds. It risks its very life for every meal, and lives on. What does running to do with this mosquito…plenty

Anyone who has run the marathon, especially the first one knows how it is, when one crosses the 30 km mark; The marathon begins only after 30km mark. In Mumbai, when I crossed the 35 km mark, I had nothing left in me, physically or mentally. My legs were paining all over and my mind was going crazy. It has been 4 hours since I was running. The winner has already been declared, and he may be now in bed, sleeping for the past one hour! No one is noticing me or cares, and I am exhausted and running in the track in a strange city…but then, I have traveled 1000 km to be here. I am in no position to continue. The task ahead of me is to run another 7 km .I have no energy to run, even 100 meters! I have a feeling I will collapse, if I carry on.I have to take a decision . Is it 42 or death? At that time, one clear voice tells me, I prefer death, than giving up now. The decision has been made, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind, that I am going for it. Almost instantaneously, my body and mind, gets recharged, there is a new energy, that seeps into my legs and my mind is focused on the finish line. And I knew that very instant, the 42 is in my bag, I started checking how fast I can do it. This miraculous transformation, which happened, is because I give myself, no choice to go back. Like a mosquito, which has made its decision to live in this hostile world, come what may. How bigger the odds or how tiny and weak it is to face it. It takes us on and wins it.

This thought crossed me, in the morning, of my first marathon run…my frustration went away, and I became ready to face up the challenge. it was an usual run, I just went about it , I finished my run ..In the fag end of the run, it started raining, a small drizzle though. I finished my 10 km and rushed to office…

Day 6 – Aug 3

What a pleasant day, to wake up to. There was a smell of the sand, emanating from the, wetness of the overnight rain, a steady breeze was blowing…Sort of a day, one usually finds in the hills. Moreover, my body had none of the yesterday’s reluctance. It was bouncing like a rubber ball, wanting to take on the challenge. How our body changes every day.., our body consciousness, varies day by day, hour by hour.

The only problem today was the time; I did not have more than 90 min .Has to rush to office. .I was moving g through the entire run, in a steady pace. My mind indulging in some day dreaming and I had a nice mix of songs in my mobile. It was great fun…

I always do not concentrate on my running. It sort of tires one a bit faster. If you keep asking questions. Like. How are you doing?…do you need a drink.?..or orders like CONCENTRATE…DO NOT GIVE UP..etc The best thing sometimes, is to take the mind of our running. It’s better to look around, murmur a song or think of some funny incident. Running is not a serous thing, its what toddlers do. Right!

I pushed along in a steady pace and completed my 10 km .it was a pleasant and easy run ,.My friend had promised me , a special lunch today ,being an auspicious day. I did not want to miss that too!

Day 5 – Aug 2

I had a good night sleep, but when I got up ,I could sense the usual lethargic movement of my body, I was not surprised ..It is Monday morning blues. My body was reluctant to take the challenge today.. it wanted to relax , not to run .I feel though, One should take good care of the body , talk to the body and love the body, but one should never try to understand body or ever listen to it.

Our body has a latent energy, but it stores it for a special reasons, for its own needs, we have to ask it ,to part with it. But, it won’t do it so easily. Let me prove this. 99 out of 100 guys exhausted after running the marathon will be ready for another one, if a ravishing beauty wants them to accompany her..right. Where did they get that energy, come from? Has anyone got an answer? Another question, who is the one guy who will say ‘No’. Definitely I am not that one! Are you?

I had to drag my body, and go for a run. it was whining, arguing crying. I told it clearly, we will cross the 5 km mark, and if it still does not like it .we will call it Quits. But as I expected, it became very enthusiastic after 5 Km…I ran up to 11 km…an happy ending , to a sordid start!

Day 4 – Aug 1

I went to sleep, yesterday…I did not keep the alarm…I enjoy sleeping on the Sunday morning , those extra hours , I cannot hope to get on a working day ..When I got up, I had looked at the Day 4 run of Ram V, 21Km,,How wonderful.. That was the highest that has been achieved on Day 4…why don’t I give it a shot. The thought made me sleepy; I went back for an extra hour of sleep!

When I got up again, and got ready to run, the clock touched 8 30… I was hoping God will give me cloud cover. It was not there. But, I still wanted to give a shot at 21 Km.but my mind ,said ‘let us first get the challenge of 10Km ,under the belt ,then decide the next course of action’.,I started slowly, hoping I will get my rhythm soon,. Being a Sunday the kids, were playing in the park. And I had to be careful not to bump into them, I was running hesitantly, but was doing ok…crossed the 10 km mark, it was now , 9 45 Am and the sun was beating down , I had to put on my cap and goggles, and was taking some extra water breaks,. I crossed the 15 Km mark. I desperately needed help, some go on…when you are running with others, such moments are easy to cope up with. I could see my legs were slowing down. I listened to my body and ran up to 17 km. then to my satisfaction walked around the park slowly for 3 km…It was a wonderful run, enjoyed it

Day 2 – July 30

I had set the alarm at 4 15 Am, Hoping an extra 15 min, will get me, on the running track, that much quicker. I was up at 4.14 am, before the alarm could ring. The overnight rain, was giving me hope it will be a great day for running. I was right. Had a quick shower, and was off. I wanted to repeat the exactly what I did yesterday, wanted to avoid the Main roads. I started it at 5.45.Am The run was smooth; I had loaded my mobile with a fresh set of Hindi songs. I am running in these roads after a long time. I could meet many fellow walkers, who I had sort of lost touch. The initial target was to cross 5 km mark. My rhythm becomes smooth and flow comes in, after that. I carried on the same spirit and crossed the 10 km mark also. By that time the traffic had picked up, I was finding it a bit difficult to have a carefree run. I had to change my running course, as the road was becoming increasingly unsafe. So I hopped on to my bicycle and went to my favorite park, which was 1 km away, to continue my running, finished at 14 km. felt satisfied and very happy…my legs are a bit sore, I want to catch up with some extra sleep. tonight. So that I am raring to go tom…

Day 1 – July 29

when the alarm rang at 4 30 Am ,I knew its time to get up and start running, rather than hit the snooze button..commitment  Does that to one, there is no other way , but to go forward.I was thrilled to find a pleasant weather. the overnight rain had made the k k nagar roads wet,with some pools of water here and there, but it was great. I started the run at 5 45..there were few walkers..the roads were free..i put on my fav Hindi songs, my only companion in these runs,Having practising running in sand, the hard surface of the road, made my legs go a bit faster..but i hit my rhythm soon.The nip in the air , the silence and the chirping of the birds, off and on , all encouraged me..i had  crossed the 5 was a first hurdle . i usually  get into the meditative phase after I cross the 7 km mark, legs loosen up and running is all music after that.I was running beautifully,.i knew i am in the Right course to complete  the first day challenge..Then the traffic started, dogs growled at me  and  I had to wait to give way to PTC buses..but it was body and my mind was in harmony,,.and the joy of running was there .,I thought,.may be I should have started a bit earlier ..I rushed to the park, and finished my last leg of my running..completed 14.2 was great..the run has begun well..

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