Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why I started running?

A few days ago I completed the Kaveri Trail Half Marathon in 1 hr 45 mins. During the run, I overtook quite a few slow, tired and struggling 10k runners with a smirk of superiority and disdain. I was running as per a plan and saw these slow runners on the narrow trail as an obstacle. After the race, it was time for introspection and I realized that there was no reason for me to look down upon these slower runners – after all I was once one of them. There is no better lesson in humility than to remember one’s own humble beginning. Let's rewind to around one and a half years and start from there.

It had been four years since moving to Bangalore. Four years since I joined a start-up and realized that programming was something I enjoyed.  As the years went by, the time I spent at work increased and so did my waistline. I told myself I was too busy to spare time for exercise. Gradually, I realized what I was all set to become - one more fat slob working in IT and heading into middle age working away my life and health 12 hours a day for six days a week. 

It was at this point in time that I saw an article in the newspaper regarding the Bangalore Sunfeast 10k run with Sachin Tendulkar exhorting the people of Bangalore to run. Somewhere it struck a chord. Never having run before, I immediately registered for the 6k majja run believing that a 10k was outside the realm of possibility. The very next day I put on my discarded running shoes and headed out to the park. I told myself that I could walk for a day if required since I had done a couple of treks the previous year. Yeah. A blatant lie if there ever was one! You got to lie to yourself sometimes and if it were a matter of mind such bravado might even have worked, but the body always speaks the truth. I could not run more than two rounds – all of 700 meters. It was simply too tiring.

I kept practicing just because I had already registered for the event and did not want to give up so easily. Come race-day, I ran those 6 kms stopping at every aid station to replenish myself. I struggled and my legs were sore but I managed to cross the finish line. I promised myself that the run was the first step of a long journey.

These days I run almost a half marathon a week. I have lost around 8 kgs since I started running, completed three full marathons, get withdrawal symptoms if I don’t run for more than a few days and am preparing for my first ultra marathon distance of 50k. But I will never forget what those SIX kilometers meant in the grand scheme of things.