Story of my first Half Marathon.

Picture courtesy — Abigail Keenan

Some people are born to be Athletes. Well, I’m definitely not one of them.

In my childhood, I was always game for sports. All kind of sports. I played badminton, cricket, basketball etc. I always wanted to take part in sports but I was more of a jack of all rather than being a specialist. I never focused on one single sport, I was little there in each of the sport.

But as I came out of college and started working on my first job in Mumbai. I realized that I needed to get back into sports. I was now too skinny and a long way from fit. Then it started getting worse. I became underweight.

The picture below is from 2010 (5 years back). Yes, that’s me. Some of you might not even believe it (Even though its all smiles but still). You had to see me to believe it.

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Gratefulness, motivation and running stories!

Earlier I’ve written about my daily rituals and how I keep myself going. If you have read my earlier post, you may remember the importance I give to gratefulness in my life.

Everyday I wake up, I see the sun rise, I go for my morning run, while running the breeze comes on my face, I get to see beautiful scenes of nature – trees, stray dogs, fallen leaves, the sea flowing. All these things make me feel alive. At that time, I tell myself how grateful I am to the creator, who shows me the real beauty in everyday life.

Each day in my daily prayer I pause for a moment to think about the world we live in right now. Where we can breathe fresh air, walk and run freely, eat whatever we like, wear whatever we feel good in, go where ever we want. I feel grateful for this abundance of nature, this freedom. This habit of being grateful keeps me motivated.

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Treat your body well and it will treat you back amazingly.

Woke up at 5:30am, feeling afresh I was ready to rock the day!

Ran the daily errands and quickly got ready for daily run. I had planned my day in advance yesterday as it was not going to be a routine day as it was an offsite IT town hall of my office. So we had to go to Airport road. First time ever I was going to ride the Mumbai metro – Ghatkopar ~ Varasova. We had to reach the venue – ‘The Leela’ hotel which was just by the side of airport road metro station. Having every bit of this in my mind, last night only I thought. “Oh shit! How I’m gonna run tomorrow. I can’t miss any day as Mumbai Marathon is around the corner.” So I decided to sleep early and get up early morning and go get that run!

Had early dinner and then set my smart alarm to wake me up at around 5:30am. I fell asleep instantaneously. Woke up at 5:25 sharp before even the alarm buzzed. I must say body treats you well when you give it a good night sleep. However, I snoozed myself from getting outta bed for another 5 mins. But then eventually I got up. Afresh.

Then I stepped out of my apartment into the day before even the sunrise. Earliest morning for me this year. Street lights still on. Street dogs still asleep. I warmed up and started the running session on strava (my run track app) and started running. I completed my first kilometer under 7:30 minutes. I was wearing my hoody to avoid the morning cool. But after first kilometer only I started sweating. But I kept going. I was feeling more energetic then I usual do. Second kilometer didn’t go better than the first one, I reached 7:40 pace. But I was concentrating on completing my overall session under 22:50 minutes.

I did manage to do that. I was feeling so joyous. But I was still wondering on that guy from the other day about which I had talked about in my last post.  Never heard from him or saw him again on track.

Anyways earliest morning and the fastest run today. 7:01 minutes per km.

Try to be your own best instead of someone else’s.

A guy was running on the pavement in an athletic robe. He seemed like a marathon runner. There was a grace in his running movement. When he was running, it seems like an effortless glide instead of a run. His pace would be almost double than mine. Next day again he would come for the run and finish with a nice pace strongly. Daily I will think I should talk to him and get some tips on running. But there wasn’t enough of the push to go to him and talk about running.

I had also started on my running sessions recently, like a month or so back. Everyday i go to this creek side  pathway where joggers and oldies would come for a morning stroll.  I’ve been keeping up with running schedule for the past month regularly.

Today I pulled myself together and run along with that guy and greeted him ‘Hi’. He responded back with warmth. We continued running along, after 25 minutes he stopped and I stopped along. I asked him, so how long you have been running. He said, “its been quite long”, with a smile. You can say half a decade. I frowned. So you must have ran many marathons. He nodded in agreement. I said, “wow”, with an excitement.

Then he asked me, how long you have been running. I said its 6 months on and off. You know life these days, always running for work, errands. No time for ourselves. He said, “that’s true. But its up to us, how we control our life. We control it or we let it control us.” I nodded in agreement. First time I’ve been talking to someone who seemed like thinking from my own perspective for life.

He told me, its good to see you running. It would be great to accompany you and share experiences. I said, that would be amazing. Then I asked him how did you reached to this pace. I cant keep up with your kind of pace (I’m talking about a pace of 5:30 per kilometre) for long runs. He said its all about training with the right mindset and towards the right direction. Listen to your body, but start to enjoying the boredom of getting up daily and going out there. All it takes is get up and get out there. Everything else will follow. The best advice I can give you is, “try to be your own best, instead of someone else’s”. Don’t think about if someone is thinking you are running slow. Don’t let that kind of thoughts bother your mind. Just keep this in mind, long you will give your muscles to build up for the higher paces by first running on slower but longer paces, that soon you’ll be running on your desired high pace. I said, I must admit, its quite a handful of insight from your experiences. He smiled. Then he bid me adieu and said see you morrow bud. Let’s train together. I said awesome, in agreement.

We parted in different directions to reach our homes. In mid-way, I thought oh shit, I didn’t ask him his name. But I said never mind we are training together from tomorrow.

How we forgot these kind of small details when we get into highly intellectual conversations. I wonder.