How I started and fell in love with running!
-How was your life before running?
Before I ever started running, I was always one of those fat kids, who had wanted to lose weight since years. My parents promised me a lot of mouthwatering goodies, countless bribes if I lost “x” kilos of weight, but it never led to anything. I had a very typical teenage lifestyle, attending college and eating junk everyday (thanks to all those shacks opposite Mithibai college), attending classes and coming back home exhausted. The busy schedule being a very good excuse to skip exercise.
I was gaining weight, telling myself I’ll start exercising from tomorrow, but never inspired enough to act on it.
– What inspired you to take up running?
This happened right after Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2015. My dad told me about the list of people who participated in that marathon, which came in our community magazine, and we both found it very cool. It was in that moment that we told ourselves this seemed like a good idea and we took up running, planning to do a 10k in the upcoming Hiranandani Thane Marathon. I practiced and trained everyday for a month.
I could run/walk only 2.2k in 30 minutes on the first day, and realized I had a long way to go, if I wanted to finish the 10k nicely, in good time. And I slowly started loving it a little more everyday, when I could see the improvements in myself.
-The excitement of your first long run/race?
My first long run was actually the marathon itself. I had never gone beyond 6k in training, but I told myself “I am going to run this race without walking for even a second, I’d rather slow down as much as I have to”. Luckily my training proved sufficient and I finished the 10k in good time, and without any cramps or injuries.
– The feeling of accomplishment?
That feeling of accomplishment, I will never forget. Be it a 10k, a half marathon, a full marathon or any other event of such kind; that feeling of having finished a marathon is still the same, as if it were my first race and my biggest achievement.
– what kept you going?
The realization, that I was capable of doing so much more than I ever thought I could, pushing my boundaries and going beyond my comfort zone, is what made all the difference. I could see myself and my capabilities in new light, and set out to explore all that I could do. I was never short of inspiration and motivation after that. Although I could accomplish so much, I drew inspiration mainly from 2 places :
1. My forever training partner and the person who always pushed me to do more, My father!
2. Realizing me taking up running inspired a lot of people around me, especially in my family to take up running or some sort of activity to stay fit.
– Details of number of races which you have run?
My marathon count is as follows:
10k x 5
16k x 1
21k x 15
25k x 2
42k x 3
Duathlon x 1
– Your short term / long term running goals?
My goal for this season is to finish 10 half+full marathons. Hopefully get near a sub-2 finish by the end of February. My long term goals include training and participation into more full marathons, ultra marathons and triathlons.
-How did it change your life?
When I started initially, I ran just cause I wanted to, because it was exciting. My first few half marathons were all near the three hour range, and there was no improvement. It was my love for the sport, the willingness to do better in the sport that I loved, that inspired me to bring in changes. I started training in a more systematic way, watched what I was eating, became more active all through my day and changed my lifestyle altogether. Late night movies, outings and eating junk was replaced with sleeping and waking up early and exercising. In the process I also lost over 24 kilos without any strict diets or stressful gymming regimes with nothing but consistency being the key.
It helped me improve my performance, and made me more competitive in terms of bettering my own previous timings and without cramps or injuries. The improvements were also very evident in all the other sports that I played. Thanks to the sense of achievement, improvement and the flooding compliments from my people thanks to the massive weight loss and my new capabilities, it lead to a huge confidence boost and helped me find a new sense of happiness and content in the way I was living.
– Message to your fellow runners, beginners & those who dream to take up running a marathon some day?
The best part about running is, you don’t need any kind of special equipment to start. All of us have a good pair of sport shoes. The two main things necessary to run is “your will to run” and “your eagerness to step out of your comfort zone”. All I ever invested into this sport was effort, blood, sweat, time and tears; and it has paid me back dividends in the form of confidence, achievements, lifetime memories, mentors, countless colleagues and new friends, and so much more! And all I have lost in the process is an unhealthy lifestyle, lots and lots of weight and the “I cannot do this” attitude!
All I ask from everyone is, just stick to it for the first 4 weeks. These weeks will be torturous, painful and will make you question your decision and want to quit. Get past it, and life will never be the same again.
“It doesn’t matter how slow or fast you go. You’re still faster than every other person who’s sleeping or wasting time behind a TV. All that matters is being a better version of yourself from the previous day”.