It was during a casual coffee chat that A and I found ourselves discussing trekking and sports. Turns out he has been to the glaciers above Badrinath, right along the Indo-China border. I asked him about how he trained, and he said:
I was not in to sports. It was during my first year in IIT, that I began getting up early in the morning to go and run. It went on for about a year, until one morning when I ran in to the institute coach. He stood in the park keeping an eye on me, and then asked me to run slower.
The coach watched — pleasantly surprised — as I completed 12 rounds. Then he asked me to race another guy. I tried it about seven times, but I always lagged. (It) felt terrible. The coach came to me and said “Don’t sweat over this. Sprinting is for those whose body muscles have quick response. You are better suited for long-distance running. Focus there, and develop yourself more.” It was that motivation which eventually helped me win long-distances races, trek for adventures, and enjoy so much more.
The conversation left me wondering. How many of us keep sprinting without realizing that we’re long-distance runners, or vice-versa? How critical is the role of a good teacher in life?