Opening your eyes

Funnily enough, my fiancée was talking about this just last night.

Learning when to switch off
Learning when to switch off

Unplugging from everything is something that I hope to teach my children in the future. I’m not a doom and gloom person, I don’t believe that technology is going to ruin our children’s lives and make them useless as human beings. None of that. I believe technology is what it is – a tool to aid us and better our lives. There is no doubting that life has improved vastly for the majority over the last 30 years because of the huge leaps that technology has taken.

Yet.

I believe there is always a time to put it all down. Switch off those screens and un-crane those necks and look about yourself. The world is definitely a beautiful place full of interesting people and fascination, if all it takes it for you to leave your phone at home for a day – then you should absolutely switch off. I watched a short film the other day (link below) where a guy is hitchhiking to the sea. It’s not so much the story that hit me but the example of pure human interaction that is put on display. This guy – this hitchhiker – has no idea who these people are, he has no idea what their likes or dislikes are, whether they are in a relationship, what they had for breakfast or what their new favourite song is. All information which is readily available to us through various forms of social media.

This guy has to actually talk to these people, find out the natural way through conversation. I know it can be hard to cast aside prejudgment or even personal traits like shyness. But, watching that film, I felt envious. Envious of his confidence and his skill for small talk (Yes, I know it’s a scripted film, but still). It almost made me want to go and sit at a bus stop and just talk to the next person I see. But ,no doubt, that person would have their head bent over a phone screen and would not be interested in what I had for dinner.

This weekend myself and my friends are heading to Edinburgh for a short break away. I am taking my camera with me, will shoot some pictures and film some footage – but I want to stay away from the internet. I don’t want to broadcast every second of my trip with my mates to the whole world. I am going to switch off and all of you can hear about it when I get back. I don’t want to miss the real beauty of the city, or of the journey or even the company of my friends because I am updating a status or uploading a picture to Instagram.

I hope this way, I will be able to enjoy it more. I will be able to talk and fully throw myself into the Edinburgh life as so many who travel do.

I am super excited and I am even looking forward to the train journey at a ridiculous hour tomorrow morning.

I’m super excited to see something new.

Super excited to see my friends and super excited to open my eyes and enjoy some real life moments.

The Sea By Midnight from Isaac Ravishankara on Vimeo.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Bloggers, Unplugged.”

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Pavement pounding

Recent picture, pre-run, obviously looking forward to it. 29.09.2015

At the beginning of the year it is safe to say that I wasn’t feeling happy biologically. I felt slow, lumbered and in a pretty shitty mood. I decided it was my general health and fitness that was the cause of my perpetual grief, so I decided to do something about it – pulling on my running shoes and shorts and getting out onto the open road.


My first few runs, when I look back now, were pretty abysmal, though were expected of someone who had done little more than walking to the fridge for exercise in the previous 12 months. I was averaging around a mile and a half and I’d come back sweating, sore and feeling worse than when I started.

However.

It was amazing how fast this changed. Like the changing of the tide, I awoke the next morning with a spring in my step, my lungs felt great – like a muscle that has been stretched and is ready to tackle the days work. I no longer felt downtrodden and tired. I had slept better than ever due to my excursion and had awoken a new man!

I endeavoured.

Six months later and I had been running once or twice a week, periodically I admit, usually using the excuse of “not having enough time” to go for a run. It is an excuse people in the fitness industry, most probably, hear a lot – but it’s ridiculous. Even if you put aside 40 minutes of your day, you can get a great run in. For those even more pushed for time, a surface skimming search on Google can unearth some fantastic pulse racing, lung busting exercises that can be completed in 20 minutes.

There is no excuse.*

When I started running I set my sights on each kilometre.

1K .. 2K… 3K…

Then after 3k was down, I dived head first into my first 5k run.

It was tough and it took its toll. Unlike the runs I was performing twice a week, I didn’t enjoy my first 5k as much as I thought I would. I harked back to younger days when I played Rugby for my secondary school and could breeze through a 5k in 25-30 minutes, but this time around I was pushing on 40.

Flash forward  and I have had an outrageously busy year. Work picked up, we moved house and my running schedule took a hit over Christmas. I had lagged too far behind the pack and was now struggling to get back into it. Then a few months ago I began again. I started using an app called “Zombies, Run!” and it was a revelation. An audiobook style running companion that tells a tale, incorporating sprints and objectives to your standard everyday runs.

I began clocking up the miles again and within a few weeks I had burnt through 6/7 4k runs on my new route and finally decided to tackle the 5k once more.

First 5K back into training
First 5K back into training

I felt a lot better than the first time I had tried the 5k. Something was different, maybe it was an easier route, or maybe after weeks of longing to make something of my self the simplest thing had occurred – a change in my attitude.

Change can be big or small, obvious or discreet. Sometimes it can even be bad – but for me, the smallest change in my attitude towards running made the world of difference. My choice of run is a 5k and I feel disappointed when I can’t complete the distance. Within a week or so of finishing the 5k pictured above, I set myself a new target – 10k.

Ridiculous isn’t it? Someone who runs 5k in 38 minutes wants to run a 10k?

Not ridiculous, it’s a target, an ambition, a goal.

It’s one that I hope to achieve quickly, as you see I have signed up for two 10k races in November, one of them being Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest and I fully intend on smashing them both. Initially I don’t care what time I bring in, I just want to finish the distance. Then I will know whether that small change was really worth it.

For now, I will focus on bringing my 5K time down, at least for a couple of weeks, then I will begin to really push the distance. Then, hopefully by the time the 7th of November rolls around, with a bit of will power, adrenaline and foolish confidence, I will be able to drag myself over the line with the rest of my team.

Latest 5K, time falling.
Latest 5K, time falling.

*unless there is some sort of underlying medical condition – in that case you’re okay.