Well I never run for any timing… I am very slow runner and yes I enjoy my running always… For me Run Time is Fun Time.
t was a dark phase in December 2010 when I was discovered to be a patient of ulcerative colitis- an auto immune disorder that can trigger off anytime and lead to severe blood loss and immense pain in the intestines. Things took turn for the worse when I had to be hospitalised for 10 days. I was struggling to recover from this disease and could barely stand or walk. Having being regular with my workouts since 2008, it was depressing to lie down on the hospital bed and do nothing.
However the fighter in me resolved to combat this and that’s how my journey with running commenced. Being a late night person and a regular party goer, I had to alter my diet and lifestyle. I quit drinking, avoided spicy food and recollect living that one year on bland, non-spicy and salt less food. There would be social occasions where I would be surrounded by good food but the will power in me refused to touch a morsel of those mouth-watering dishes.
In 2011, I took baby steps by running on the treadmill and soon hit the roads with a vengeance. I ran my first half marathon in 2012 in 2:03. What started off as a means to build my shattered self-confidence and strength, turned out to be my new found purpose in life. I was bitten by the running bug and the feeling of crossing the finish line like a winner was euphoric.
From then on there was no looking back as I went on to run a few 10 k runs and another half marathon before I decided to take an adventurous plunge into doing a full marathon in 2013. I finished my first full in 4:59 and went on a pregnancy break. I resumed running in 2014 and ran a 10 k race at Aarey Milk Colony, 2 months after my delivery. My journey with those strides have continued ever since and it’s been a joyful one ever since the community of MRR (Mumbai road runners) came into my life.
From being a little reserved and stuck up, the running community has opened my mind to humbling experiences and a different world altogether. A good run also acts as a booster to those creative ideas that invariably find its way into my cognitive space.
The most important thing that I have learnt from running is that while you take back a lot with you be it words of appreciation or love, make sure you give back a lot as well! Races are numerous, personal records and podiums are incidental but most importantly it’s essential to have your feet on the ground!
The year 2010 seems like a distant nightmare now. It is said when one door of happiness closes, a new one opens invariably. I have also realized that tough times don’t last, tough people do!! Just like a marathon, fighting any disease is more a mental game than anything!
Pics from left to right-SCMM 2013 full marathon, TCS 10 k 2012, Salt pan run with GOS.
SHE RUNs for LIFE,
SHE RUNs for HERSELF 🙂
“It has taken me 6 months & many runs to realize that its not the clothing that makes the girl, Its not speed @ which she runs, its neither the garmin / tomtom nor the running app she uses, Its not the shoes she wears. Its not how little or how much body fat she has.
What makes a GIRL a RUNNER are the THOUGHTS INSIDE HER.If she thinks she is a runner ? Well then she is a RUNNER, a SHE RUNNER “
READ ON to know how my journey started 🙂
Of all the resolutions on my bucket list made beginning of 2016…there were two that I felt were going to be close to impossible:
1. Purse my dream of learning dance forms
2. Run a marathon (apparently not impossible)
The first one though looks easy but was difficult to fulfil due to varied reasons but thanks to my loving husband Suheal & my parents who stood by me @ all times and made it possible – It is then when I joined dance classes in March 2016 with my 3 year old son Zain. We shared back to back time slots and hence I could even spend quality time with him. Started dancing, attending workshops of different dance forms.. even got selected and was part of 8 day biggest dance camp of India UIDC (United India dance camp)
Losing hopes – But towards the year end in December when I looked back on 2016, I almost assumed my 2nd resolution will remain unfulfilled . It was this time when I saw pinkathon event promotions on FB and immediately decided to go for it as the run was meant for noble cause of treating cancer patients. My hubby as usual supported my decision & encouraged me right when I shared this thought of running first marathon, he just said “GO FOR IT”.
My FIRST RUN in DEC 2016 and the thoughts inside me –
It still took me long and finally decided only on last day of registration or 12th dec that I’d give it a shot. Since it was my first ever run, I decided to go for 5k which was a big deal for a new runner like me.. I even changed my bucket list last week from “Run a Marathon ” to “Finish a Marathon” – finishing was good enough for me, and was still something I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do.. Finally the most awaited day arrived.So I woke up at 4am to head over to BKC venue with a stranger turned friend Sweta..and prepared for what was surely going to be the most spectacular failure of my life. I honestly had no idea what to expect. I figured I’d get to around couple of kms and my legs would totally give out. I’d never even walked that far before leave alone running.. At 6.30am as I was preparing to cross the starting line, something odd happened: my ego kicked in. For some reason I couldn’t allow myself to start walking when thousands of people around me were running. “Ok, I’ll just jog the first mile. I’ll back it off from there.” 2km in I was still jogging. I finally convinced myself to stop and walk for a bit, because I knew I’d never finish if I ran for more. My legs would get too sore, my back pain would come back, blah blah blah – excuses. As I ran the last KM and saw the finish line..gave me amazing sense of satisfaction.. Finally I did that freaking thing which I thought was completely impossible in 40mins..
People run full marathons all the time, and most do it much faster than I did. That said, this is easily one of the 5 biggest personal accomplishments of my life, and one thing that while I always wanted to be able to do, I truly never thought would happen…The biggest realization I had during the whole process, and the one that led me across the finish line, was that it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. It might have been my ego that got me started running in the first place, but the only thing that carried me from start to finish was doing my own thing. Running when I felt like it, and walking when I had to.
It’s kind of like LIFE Everyone is going to have their own goals and are going to be going down their own path. The only way to be successful is to figure out what works for you and pursue that vigorously…
There were a few thoughts that kept me going through the hardest parts:
-Getting to know what it would be like to cross the finish line.
-If I didn’t finish, I wouldn’t be able to cross it off the list, and I’d have to go through the whole thing again at some point.
-The constant realization that I was doing something that I truly thought was impossible.
Better late than never – A women/ mothers priorty list is endless. I know for me, my OLD list included but was not limited to household chores, studies with the kid, laundry, work projects, husband, dinner, shopping, etc… “I” was nowhere on my priority list. I wasn’t even on the bottom of my list. Being caught up playing different roles, I was neglecting myself. Holding a karate black belt, a national gold medallist and a classical dancer, I always thought I am not utilizing my talents. My parents had invested a lot of time and money in me but what am I doing to myself now? I recognized, I am wasting my life doing nothing but trying to please people and making them happy. But what about me, as in, Nilofar, as a person. Why should I not pursue my passions and my dreams. After all there’s only one life & you can live only once. These thoughts kept disturbing me all the while.
HAPPYFEET as a ray of hope – Then one fine day while surfing through FB in month of Feb 2017 I came across HAPPYFEET, led by coach AMIT KUMAR in NAVI MUMBAI. And since then it was no looking back. I started 4 days a week sessions. Somedays core, some days legs, some days circuit, some days cardio but all days running – kabhi small runs toh kabhi long runs, kabhi hills par toh kabhi sports ground toh kabhi concrete roads par.. All these sessions gradually made me become stronger & stronger. I even brought in a change in my eating pattern & made a conscious decision to live a healthy lifestyle.
My Improvement – I completely believe in the quote “Life’s battles don’t always go to the strongest or fastest person, But sooner or later the man who wins is the fellow who thinks he can” It was that day & it is today 6 months later. Now I call myself a marathon runner and have ran around 6 to 8 marathons and made wonderful RUN-BUDDIES along the way. I have improved my pace from 8mins per KM to 6.30 mins/Km in span of 3 months..Looking forward to keeping me best foot forward in upcoming events – HM @IDBI, 12hrs IDBI Stadium relay run, 25Km @ Matheran endurathon, HM @Satara hill run, Mumbai 12hrs Ultra run. Now I can proudly call myself a RUNNER, a SHE RUNNER !
Every story has a HERO, even mine has, that’s none other than my hubby 🙂 Along the way during this journey of mine, I am glad to have motivated him to run. One who has never seen start & the finish line, he even ran 10kms to give me company. Slowly my son has started joining us too.. Sweet isn’t it Other than my family if my journey story inspires even one runner, I would feel blessed 🙂
Ending with a piece of advice – Running has taught me many things but one biggest learning has been that nothing is impossible & you can fulfil all your dreams if you pursue them passionately. Your dreams are far too valuable to be wasted. If you’ve got one, start realizing it today You have no idea how it may change your life for the better…IF I CAN, YOU TOO CAN
Finally I would like to conclude by saying that KAHANI abhi Khatam nahi hui… PICTURE abhi baaki hai doston..
Now I can’t remember when but about 7 years back when i was in dombivli, I went to a neighborhood gymkhana ground and tried to jog one loop about 350 odd meters. .. Boyyyyy!! I couldn’t complete mere 350 meters. … but i persisted on Jogging to get some fitness, as i wanted to do himalayan trekking… slowly the loops increased. … The panting and breathless feeling after jogging though tiring, was a sheer Joy to experience. ….
I wasn’t even aware about marathons and running events..
Then I shifted to Andheri…
In 2014, one day my office colleague said lets run HTHM. .. i said Ok you run and i will Walk the 21K… and i did my first HM in just sub 3…. got qualified for scmm 21..
Then the running began seriously…. One can’t learn to run alone… A group is required…
so i joined MRR one year back… that was the best thing happened to my running hobby….
Got into sort of serious training and all…
During a run someone told me that Marathon means 42 only … all else is just Runs… bacchho ka khel….
So decided to run a 42k and did scmm FM 2017….
Now, distance etc doesn’t matter…. Distance is just another Bucket List….
What i love now is just get out of home, go for a run … do a 7 or 10k…feel the kick of endorphins or whatever it is. .. and feel energetic the whole day…
That simple and blissful sport it is….
Aparna Bhingarkar D’souza
My foray into running started off trying to get my daughter to run.. she still sleeps at home and I am out on the roads since December 2013 when I first ran the 10 k at Pinkathon. I huffed and puffed but touched the finish line in dont even remember how much time
3 and half years later I still can’t claim to be an excellent runner but can call myself a marathoner with pride. The Mumbai to Pune run covering almost 160 kms in November 2016, 3 Ultras, my debut 42 kms at the VVMM last year and cannot recollect the number of HM’s have taught me that you can achieve way beyond what your think your body is capable of..
Happiness is setting new goals for yourself and accomplishing them.. totally inspired by Poonam and Vidhya – Comrades next on my ‘to do’ list.
There is not much change in me physically but the happiness on my sweaty face is prominent far far away..
The Unconventional Runner
I was introduced to running as a small kid by my Father who is my inspiration. Have fond memories of tugging along 2 steps behind him while he jogged and shared interesting tales.Even now whenever I go on leave to my native place, as a mark of respect I always jog 2 steps behind him, though he is nearing 81 years he is still physically fit.
I grew up in an environment of armed forces background which instilled a sense of discipline and also gave an exposure to extracurricular activities which privilege most of the kids of Defence personnel enjoy.
I wasn’t serious as far as running was concerned & never participated in any competition, just enjoyed it as a hobby . However, I was Good in sports and was Athletics Champion at School / District / Regional level besides getting medals at State level also in Discus Throw & Triple Jump. My third event was Javelin Throw. My DiscusThrow record at Pantnagar Varsity stood for 30 Years.
Besides above I excelled in Team Games and Captained Pantnagar Varsity Team in Soccer/ Hockey/ Basketball and kept participating in Inter Varsity competitions. Played as a Centre Forward in Soccer/ Hockey and as a striker in Basketball. At that stage I was physically fit and at times participated in two tournaments simultaneously ( morning- Hockey, evening- Basketball).
I enjoyed running early in the morning and my day normally started with a 8-10km jog.
This habit continued later on also when I joined Tea Plantations and had a long stint of 17 Years. We had access to many Plantations Clubs and I was always the Sports Captain wherever I was posted. Life was very active and I picked up Cricket/ Tennis/ Squash / Volleyball out there. We used to do lot of swimming as most of the Clubs were equipped with Swimming pools.
In mid 2006 I joined Reliance Retail and after frequent postings was finally moved to Navi Mumbai in mid 2009. During this phase running was my only getaway from a stressful atmosphere of Corporate culture as there was no opportunity or time for games.
First time enrolled for a SCMM HM in Jan 2011. Couple of months later NMR Group was formed and soon we got introduced to MRR Group too. My socialising was restricted to MRR Runs on 1st Sunday and NMR Runs on 3rd Sunday of the month, always looked forward to meeting Marathoner Buddies who have now become extended part of my Family.
Most of us train round the year just for one event SCMM FM.
In June 1014 had a major health scare as was diagnosed with GBS ( Gullian Barre’ Syndrome) a neuromuscular disorder and within a week lost all muscles mass. When I was discharged from Fortis, Vashi my shoulder muscle thickness had reduced to the size of my wrist and I could barely walk a Km with lot of effort. Each day was a big struggle, thought something needs to be done otherwise I would land up in deep depression. I was nearing 50 Years so age was also not by my side. Lot of runners used to discuss that ultimate aim for an amateur marathoner is to run a sub 4 FM atleast once in life. A thought struck in mind and even with my frail health I managed a sub 4 in SCMM 2015. Again in 2016 I improved my FM timings & in SCMM 2017 managed a PB in 3:36hrs improving by 20 min over previous year.
During mid 2016 I started participating in HM’s too and managed few Podium Finishes in my Age Category.
I keep things simple and never get swayed by competition.
My health issues continue as after impact of GBS my immune system has gone very weak and my Platelets count hovers between 84K-110K. Post running I develop lot of cramps but I keep participating as it gives me a Runners High. I keep having my regular check ups done & follow a nutritious diet comprising mostly of home cooked meals.
I count each day as a blessing, don’t interact too much with people and rush back home to a Wonderful Family. My betterhalf, Monica is my pillar of strength and we both work hard to ensure r son gets the best education and upbringing which we can afford.
Whenever I am not competing & time permits I go for a jog with my Family, sometimes also play Tennis with her.
We don’t mix around much and enjoy r privacy, though we r always there for r close group of Friends.
My advise to youngsters is to enjoy running as a hobby, involve your Family members and don’t get too obsessed with timings. I have participated in so many events but have never used a watch.
We are amateur marathoners not professionals.
There is no major aim atpresent though hope to do a sub 3:30 FM next year which would be a BQ
My story was shared by Bijay Nair in November 2016 in ‘theyinspire”,a book that in times will becomes one stop motivation guide for any runner.Thank you Bijay for sharing my story.
In short,Running was an answer to all my fears that I was gripped post Kidney transplant.I ran my first 3kms @pinkathon with the faith that if I could walk for 2hours daily,I could run too…But what seemed easy,turned out into a daunting task.I completed my first run…
“I did it” I felt like a winner both at the start and the finish line.
I cried in jubilation, celebrating my second life.I proceeded with great caution and finished my first 21km in 2014 @SCMM. This was a new beginning! Putting an end to the hard grueling memories,at hospital ,pain, discomfort,and fear.
I became the first kidney transplant survivor to attempt and complete half marathon successfully.
I have been running various events, but SCMM hold special place in my heart.
The journey so far has been great ,celebrating each run but have experienced my lows too.At times, have been disappointed and cried for days for life to be so unfair to me..Running has changed me..I admit ,I have changed.
I feel alive while I run..And this keeps me going.
I want to thank my husband ,Gautam Gulati, for encouraging me to take this big leap in my life.My brother for giving me another life .And to the entire Running community for extending unconditional support and motivation.
Don’t give up because of one bad chapter in you life..Keep going …. Your story doesn’t end here.