Born to an Engineer-Scientist Father and Teacher Mother in Gujarat, Ami Paneri was the eldest of three sisters. Someone who thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors running and cycling in the paddy fields, climbing trees and playing Kho kho and Kabaddi spending hours outdoors daily 😊. She did her BSc, MSc and MPhil in Physics traveling from Gandhinagar to Ahmedabad. Initially teaching was her passion, and along with studies, she would teach University students as well as IIT-AIEEE students.
Fascinated by Computers from an early age thanks to her father, Ami learnt about Micro Chip programing and to operate the Wireless 😯. Her Research project during Mphil made her join a professional course in Computer Programming and she won a Gold Medal in PGDCSA – Computer Science & Applications, after which she got a campus job in Intech systems Pvt ltd. Of course Sports took a backseat by then.
Ami got married to Sopan Upadhyay and moved to Mumbai in 2007 joining All E Technologies commuting from Kandivali to Vikhroli daily. The grueling commute, desk job and household responsibilities besides taking care of her diabetic mother-in-law who also had cardiac issues, took a toll on Ami 😕. Furthermore her first pregnancy resulted in her weight climbing from 58 Kg to 75 Kg. Subsequently, they were blessed with a beautiful baby girl Aastha in 2008.
Eventually she quit her job in 2009 post which she suffered from a period of depression and lethargy 😑. In 2010, Ami finally took charge and started walking intermittently.
In 2011, Sopan who was working with IDBI Federal Life Insurance encouraged Ami to join him in the Dream Run at the SCMM (Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon). That’s when they were bitten by the Running Bug 😁.
The following year in 2011 Ami conceived once more. This time her weight climbed up to 89 Kg as she was advised to rest up and stop all activities by her Doctor. The accident-prone girl had broken her leg 5-6 times since childhood resulting in left ankle tendon injury that was further exacerbated by this weight gain 😓. During the birth of their son, Shlok she suffered from severe trauma and blood loss taking a lot of time for Recovery.
In 2012, Ami completed her 1-year Diploma in Food and Nutrition from SNDT (IGNOU) to understand basics of diet and nutrition. Determined to get back to work, she joined Serv Pro Technologies conveniently located walking distance from her home. Yet again with household and work responsibilities taking precedence, running took a backseat. In 2013 and in 2014, Ami participated in the HM at the SCMM without preparation and naturally struggled finishing in 3:37.
In 2015 they shifted house. By then Ami hit 93 Kg and somehow completed the SCMM HM in 4 hours 😕. That served as a real Eye-opener and she steadily lost 6-7 Kg over the next year feeling much better in the process.
In 2016, Sopan’s friend, Keyur Kapadia who was organizing the Wada Duathlon encouraged them to participate in August. Cycling being her first love, Ami immediately leaped at the opportunity. She enjoyed the 2.5K Run+20K Cycling+2.5K Run tremendously.
Meeting Sunil and Sangeeta Shetty at the IDBI Federal Life Insurance Half Marathon in 2016, Ami and Sopan were introduced to the MRR (Mumbai Road Runner) Community. First Sopan was nominated in the Most Improved Runner category & the following year they both went on to be nominated in the Best Running Family Category at the MRR Awards 😎.
In November 2016 Ami joined the local cycling group – Malad Cycling Group. For the first time she was part of group rides while getting comfortable in long distance cycling.
Towards the end of 2016 Ami met Ritu Singh as their kids studied in the same school. Ritu invited them for the monthly Bandra-NCPA Runs.
After attending the Run with Ash workshop in 2017, Ami realized that she had recovery issues taking a longer period. Ashok Nath advised her to lose weight before continuing Running.
Furthermore a visit to Physiotherapist Rajani Patil led to Ami discovering that she was not only over-pronating but her left leg was weaker resulting in balance issues while running 😥. She diligently followed the exercises as advised over the next 3 months along with 1-1/2 hour activity.
In September 2017, she took part again in Wada Duathlon sprint Duathlon – 2.5k Run + 20k cycling + 2.5K run winning her very first podium 😎.
In 2018, spotting the Ladakh Marathon stall at the TMM (Tata Mumbai Marathon) Expo, Pradeep Kumbhar advised the Upadhyays to participate in the same. Post TMM, Ami joined the Mad Menon Academy following a structured training program for the very first time under the able guidance of Viv Menon.
Now all she needed to do was complete her 10K in less than 1:25 minutes to qualify for Ladakh HM. Participating in the 10K at the IDBI Federal Life Insurance Marathon in Delhi, she finished in 1:27 improving massively on her previous timing of 1:41 🤗. She went on to finish in 1:21 at the Morehelp Marathon 10K on 15th April and 1:18 at Bandra 10k on 29th April easily achieving her goal 😃.
She ran the April and May editions of the MRR Bandra-NCPA 21K along with Sopan in preparation of Ladakh.
Ami participated in the Tarblazer in June finishing her HM in 3:03 elated about running comfortably without any injuries.
Meanwhile she was introduced to Triathletes in Viv’s training group. Since she enjoyed Cycling more than Running, she decided to give it a go and focused on the upcoming Kolhapur Triathlon Sprint (750m Swim+20K Bike+5K Run) in November.
In June, Ami learned swimming though she didn’t really make much progress in the first month. She joined Shankar Thapa who helped her fine tune her Free Style over the weekends in July; managing to swim 500-700m comfortably within the month 🙂.
Meanwhile Ami comfortably completed the Ladakh HM in 3:32 in September which was a huge milestone for her.
Unfortunately in October Ami was laid down with constant Allergy attacks as well as Work, Maid and Household Issues. As they say, when it rains it pours 😠. As if it wasn’t bad enough that she could not get any experience in open water swimming; Ami came down with Tonsillitis and had fever 2-3 days prior to the Kolhapur Triathlon, even wondering if she should just forego the event.
Eventually they reached Kolhapur late and she could not practice open water swimming. The next morning, Ami could not stabilize and hardly managed to swim 200m resulting in a DNF. However the Organizers encouraged her to complete her 20K Bike and 5K Run which she finished quite comfortably.
Once back, Ami was determined to focus on herself in the New Year. With the entire family pitching in, things soon streamlined. She registered for the Olympic distance (1500m Swim+40K Cycle+10K Run) at the Gandhinagar Triathlon in February determined to achieve her goal come what may 😚.
For the next month after the TMM, she pushed Viv to help her improve in swimming. He would guide her in swimming once or twice a week and as the distance slowly increased, her confidence was boosted.
With the Home Ground advantage, this time everything fell in place and Ami finished in style completing the Olympic distance in 4:21 🤗.
Now Ami’s immediate goal is to improve in the Olympic distance over the next year and then work on attempting the 70.3 Ironman 😌.
Ami’s current training schedule consists of 3 Swimming Sessions, 3 Cycling sessions, 3 Running sessions besides 2 Core & Strength Training Sessions with Mondays being Rest Days.
Ami says that one should not attempt too many things too soon. She also says that she has learnt the importance of consistency in training. She signs off stating, “Getting Fit is more important than just losing weight. Believe me, You are way stronger than you think you are.”