A chubby little girl who enjoyed good food, Swetha was more of a Bookworm in her School and College Days. Venturing out to play Hide and seek and Lock and key with her friends was as far as she went in Sports. Incessant teasing about being fat led her to find solace in food as she further retreated into books due to her confidence taking a severe beating. Being diagnosed with PCOD (polycystic ovarian disorder) with hormones playing havoc in her Teens didn’t help matters either. 😔
In 2008 post marriage, Swetha got hooked on to gymning courtesy her Marathoner husband, Amit. Weight training sessions alternated with Cardio and some diet changes brought a miraculous transformation in her physique giving her a new found Confidence. Despite Amit’s best efforts, Swetha was not inclined to Road Running. After all, that would mean giving up her enjoyable Saturday night parties and ushering in Early morning Sunday long runs 😕. Marathons were better left to Amit while she managed just fine with her convenient 20- minute Treadmill Run.
However, Fate had something else in Store. In December 2010, Swetha was hospitalized after severe bouts of vomiting and high fever having consumed something dodgy at a wedding. She was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, lost a lot of blood and was very weak. Hitting Rock bottom, she regained her strength and even overcame the loss of several friends who drifted apart during this phase.
The fighter in her rose as she decided to build back her strength through Running. Swetha decided to run 21k at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) in 2012. She also quit her job as Counselor to take a break and find her true calling. Hubby Amit as well as her Trainers provided her with the much needed support throughout. She went on to effortlessly finish her very first HM in 2:03 and the Runner was truly born. 2012 turned out to be truly special as she even found her calling as a journalist. 😎
Swetha went on to do many more running events that year. Eventually she even did her first Full Marathon, again at the SCMM in 2013 finishing in 4:59, realizing the FM was more mental game rather than physical strain.
Thereafter in 2013 Swetha and Amit decided to start a family. Once again, the tides turned when she was diagnosed with Ulcers yet again in her 8th month of pregnancy 😒. Fortunately; despite loss of blood and strength, due to timely medication she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Samara in April 2014 🤗. In fact, she even went back to running within a month and did a 10K in June 2014 😮.
It was another new beginning for the new mother as she struggled to juggle her responsibilities at home and work whilst trying to stay fit, what with a demanding newborn to take care of. After an unsuccessful stint trying to make things work with a couple of nannies, they finally asked their parents for support. Of course, this was a major shift from the Nuclear to Joint family Set up. There were obvious clashes at the beginning between the two generations though they did manage to resolve their differences eventually. Thankfully Amit, proved to be Swetha’s staunchest supporter yet again. 😊
From 2015 Swetha went on to do several events and even won podiums in a few of them. She was introduced to the Mumbai Road Runners (MRR) community by Ajit Singh in April 2015 when she did her first Bandra-NCPA Run with them. Here she met some like-minded people and the MRR monthly runs brought back some sanity into her otherwise chaotic life. 🙂 MRR got her to leave her cosy corner in Colaba and explore greener pastures in places like Aarey, BNP and salt pans of Mulund giving her a whole new perspective towards her beloved Mumbai City.
Bagging the role as one of the ambassadors for Puma and the IDBI Federal Life insurance Mumbai half marathon 2017 was the icing on her cake. With her daughter growing up and support from family, things finally became smoother until another challenge cropped up.
During this period, Amit was looking for a break in his career to realign his goals and gain more clarity in his career pathway. It came as a bolt from the blue when he got admission at the Stanford Business School. After discussing, they decided to take this opportunity and go to California for the year. Of course it was an exciting prospect but at the same time daunting, in terms of settling down in an alien country along with their 3-year-old with no help or support.
An Open mind helped Swetha take advantage of this golden opportunity. She decided to make the most of the time there and enrolled for some writing courses in Stanford in order to further sharpen her journalistic skills 😊.
Signing up for varied types of Races, exploring different terrains, indulging in outdoor Cycling, and even getting into Open water swimming; Swetha made sure she enjoyed all the things that she didn’t get to do in India. She even managed to do her very first open water sprint triathlon there in 2017. 😎
Initially being an avid gymner helped Swetha while training for Half Marathons. Her training schedule included thrice weekly Runs- Speed Intervals, Tempo and Long Runs alternated with Strength training and Cross training. As Running increased, Swetha neglected strength training and paid the price with her left ankle injury 😓. During Full Marathon training this was rectified as she focused on Boot camp training including plyometrics and loads of core strengthening.
Currently in the US her focus being Triathlons, her fitness regime is even more intense. It consists of 3 days of swimming, 3 days of cycling, 3 days running- speed intervals, tempo and long runs as well as upper and lower body strengthening. 😌
Swetha advises Newbies to make sure they enjoy their fitness regime be it Zumba, cross training, sports, running; whatever makes them feel good. She states Consistency is the Key for getting successful results. Increasing the intensity slowly is the key to avoid hitting that wall. Whilst training for Marathons, take it slow instead of going out too far too fast. She equates strength training to Karna’s kavach-kundal that helps prevent injury 😎.
Swetha also vouches for investing in a good shoe after getting gait analysis done as well as ensuring you replace worn out shoes which could cause injury. Lastly, she advises that one should always listen to your body. Rest is as important as workouts if not more. Avoid workouts during Ill-health instead of trying to be a Hero. Another lesson that she learnt the hard way when she landed up in Hospital due to self-neglect. 😫
Life seems to have come a full Circle as Swetha has once more learnt to run her Races purely for enjoyment with no time pressure whatsoever. Furthermore, some of her detractors have even come around to asking her for fitness tips 😁. Soon enough it will be time for them to fly back home to their beloved Mumbai. When life gives you lemons, Make Lemonade; after all it’s all in the attitude dontcha think? 😊