A pink taxi

A pink taxi

November 1, 2010

The Inner Game of Sports

My husband runs. I swim. And as opposites, we are naturally attracted to one another. Neither one of us can imagine trading places. We both share the love of fitness, but he has taken fitness to another level by running at least 7 kilometers at one time.

He has a mysterious stamina fueld by an intense passion. He feels like a million dollars when he returns home post run. Our children are accustomed to the sight of him, sweaty, munching on a banana and drinking a protein shake. I can't imagine where he gets the motivation to run.

On the other hand, bikram yoga is a class I do not enjoy in the least. Till this day, I do not know how I get drawn to the torture chamber. In a symbolic way, I have never bought a bikram package, except for the first time I bought it and I had unlimited bikram for 10 days for 100 dhs. I am a "sucker" for deals and attended 6 sessions in 10 days. I have since opted to buy a session at a time for fear of commitment.

While I am in that hot room, all kinds of thoughts rush through my head, no matter the concentration level. That is called the "inner game of bikram". I count in my head while we hold positions wishing that my counting would accelerate time but I then find myself waiting for the extra seconds when the instructor allows us to release. I always, and constantly, curse at my decision to have come to class as the sweat drops and as my heart races. I try very hard not to select my hated poses. There was a time that I would obsess about the camel pose, dread it the entire class, and finally feel relieved when it was over. While I have ceased to obsess about "camel" now that I can actually do it without dizziness or nausea, I can certainly identify the easier poses. My mind tells me to relax and worry less about those in comparison to the more uncomfortable challenging ones.

There must be moments in a runner's mind that are similar. I am certain that at a specific time, the runner will want to stop. Or he/she will want to slow down. Or the runner will get a cramp, a moment of boredom or to the opposite, he/she will have rush of adrenaline or a feeling of high. For a swimmer like me who can do a large number of laps without stopping, swimming is about counting, how many I have done or how many left or how to organize the counting, two by two or every five laps.

The inner game is a phenomenon worth mentioning especially when it comes to golf. When I don't play very well, my heart sinks. It is an invading feeling. But likewise, when I begin to play well again, the gloom lifts, and  my spirits rise. My inner game is about controling those feelings, at least the negative ones and forcing myself to snap out of it: "its just a game" or "bunker practice is good for me" is what my alter ego tells me.

I am proud of the runner in my family. And perhaps in a comment to this blog, he will divulge to us all what keeps him going that extra minute, that extra mile, that extra lap ....

and if this entry fails to motivate you, check out this classic music video


  1. Bikram Yoga is performed in a heated room.I read a study saying that 20% of your blood rises to your skin level to help cooling it.This basically deprives your other organs including your brain and heart from the much needed blood flow!!
    Jogging,trotting and running can cause injury to your knees and ankles especially if it is performed on hard surface.Therapists have recommended fast walking with few spurts of running to give you a heart beat!
    The blogger's admiration of her heart throb husband is commended,but they should both channel their energy to swimming which is the best sport you can perform with least health hazard.

  2. Running is a complete mind game. I have a love hate relationship with the sport but when I think about getting through the 2nd or 3rd mile and experiencing the "runner's high" it is all worth it. The first few miles are a constant mind game about how far I should go, how do I get rid of the cramp that is killing me, my knees hurt, my lungs feel like they are going to explode, etc., etc. My remedy is to turn my i-pod up as loud as possible and lose myself in the music. However, once I am past the 2nd or 3rd mile, my body relaxes and my mind settles down. At which point the music is turned off and I feel like I can run forever in pure bliss. I prefer trail running because of the beauty of the nature around me and also because I really need to be mindful of where and how I place my next stride. It keeps my mind focused on what I am doing. I love running because of the overall fitness, the fact that you can do it at any time and any place, and all you need is a pair of shorts and shoes and you can just run out your door. No planning needed. My favorite place to run is in the moutain trails in Deer Valley, Utah.