Coconut has been a part of my food culture, having been born in a South Indian family. Coconut oil for cooking, massage, coconut milk in stews, fresh coconut in vegetable and rice dishes, dried coconut in chutneys, etc. The entire tree is useful in many different ways, from thatching to making mattresses and mats, handicrafts and accessories etc. It is also a popular ingredient in skin care products. It grows abundantly in the coastal regions and makes for a very picturesque background.
A week before the run, a coconut fell on my foot and bruised a toe keeping me off the road for a few days. In retrospect, it was the proverbial apple on the head, only that the light bulb moment happened about a week later.
The coconut has value only when it is cracked open at the right time. In the rightness of maturity, it gives the best tasting water and flesh. Nourishing and sustaining. But that is possible only on breaking it open.
As a solo runner, I have been content in my contained shell, experimenting and discovering. Blogging about it has been a good way to peek out of the shell and share my observations, flaws, falls, victories and endeavours. The Coorg marathon was special because it was only for barefoot runners and through this unique event, I connected with many like minded runners. It was a tiny event, around 100 people or so, but the energy of the group was something else. I felt part of something larger than my limited self. New friends, new hope and a desire to push beyond what I think I am capable of. The coconut moment was cracking open my small shell and running and connecting with other barefoot runners.
Some of the most respected runners in the small community were present and their humility was inspiring. They do a lot for the sport in their cities and awakened a desire in me to do the same in my corner of the world. It opened my mind to the possibility of being visible in real life. A giving back in a more practical way. I suppose the block was really the notion that I was not good enough and had to reach some proficiency. It doesn’t matter. As long as there is passion for the discipline and a continuous desire to improve, it is good enough. Perhaps, this was the gestation required for this running nut.