I used to be the kind of person who always said “I hate running”. And I meant it too. Being a fat kid that I was, my go-to activity was computer games, staying indoors and eating . I wanted an easy-to-implement, cheap exercise to help me lose baby weight (although I wasn’t a baby anymore). Then I came across a running group within my community. They’d just come off The Mumbai Marathon back then, and would show off their medals with pride. It was something that caught my eye, and gave an added incentive to run.
I wanted to prepare for an upcoming marathon, although reluctant to put in any effort. And somehow on this quest of mine, my dad joined in too. And there’s something about peer pressure that just keeps you going, maybe for the good or for the bad. His enthusiasm was one of the primary reasons that kept me going. I trained for this marathon with all my heart, and all my unhealthy body had to offer.
And as it went, I finished the HTHM 2015 10k marathon in about 1 hour and 10 minutes. A total of 19 years before I took exercise seriously. I was on track to finish in under an hour, but I developed a cramp that slowed me down a little. I so wanted to give up, but I was very determined to finish what I’d started. Rather I did not want to quit something that I’d started, again.
So, that was that. After the marathon, my competitiveness took over and I want to do things the right way this time, and finish stronger. Something that you should know about me is I am either all in or all out. I don’t know how to half-commit to anything. And thus began my journey.
At the gym, I would use all sorts of cardio machines. I’d step out for runs and added some weight training to my regime. I’d use the treadmill too, but I’d always walk it out in order to protect my knees. This was my routine until about a month, before my life took a huge turn.
It had happened – a random event that changed the course of my life from being a lazy bum to a runner. I registered for a marathon that was way out of my league. I ended up registering for a 25k hilly endurathon, when I’d barely managed to finish the 10k a month ago. But again, I was all in, and I told myself that I would go back to my routine, work extra hard and be ready for this event.
But amidst all this training, a funny thing happened…I fell in love!
I started running on a ridiculously steep hill near my place, to get used to running on a hill. I ran slowly the whole time, but so what? No one was timing me. I wasn’t running a race. I wasn’t with anybody. I was able to run simply because I loved running.
When I got back that day, I felt amazing. I felt “clean” on the inside. I felt like I had worked my whole body, not just my legs. I did it again the next day. I took an easier route this time. At the end of that run, I was sure of something. I had a new sport. A sport I loved. A sport that in itself was enough to get me out of bed every morning. I was a runner.
Once I got back to the gym, I was worried about running on the treadmill. I had always avoided that like the plague. It’s boring, right? And tedious too. But this time, it wasn’t. I found some good running music, set the treadmill on a gentle incline, and ran a good 30 minutes. I was still slow. But it was nobody’s business as to how fast or slow I ran. It still gave me that clean feeling on the inside. My mentality started changing. Instead of despising it, I started looking forward to it. I’d start thinking about my next run as soon as my current run was over.
Why did I fall so hard for this sport?
- I could do it alone (I’m a friendly introvert, but I need lots of alone-time).
- I felt like my whole body was working together at once. It was also a nice break for my overthinking brain.
- The physical exhaustion even at the end of the run helped my restlessness too. I felt clear-headed, certain, secure, and light.
- And I could see the changes. I’d already been able to run slightly faster than the first time. My resting heart rate dropped a little. Tiny improvements – but still improvements. It’s addictive!
- I felt like I was a part of a larger community. Runners have a lot camaraderie. Even though most of my connection was through my club, I still felt like there was a great deal of support out there for runners. It was motivating.
All I’ll say in conclusion is that whatever you do for your body, I hope you love/enjoy doing it. That’s what matters the most. That is what will help you stay committed and make an activity sustainable. Any sport will work for you if you do it consistently, and pair it with a nutrient-dense diet. You can do it!
Peace and love,