“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
Simple and even silly as it may sound, pause and think -when was the last time you really did something for the first time. I noticed that these days I am doing new things and I am really happy that I could do them planned or otherwise. Having done some new things now I look forward to doing more and it all started with a head ache.
Sometime in February I woke up early one morning with a splitting headache. The usual response would be to pop a pill and get back into bed but on that day I decided to go for a walk. I still am not sure why I decided to walk but that became a landmark moment. I returned after the walk with a clear head and felt very active. I started walking regularly gradually increasing the distance, and slowly started running. I was
warned that with my bulk, running was best avoided yet I took small runs by myself. I came across Chennai Runners on Facebook and searched for a chapter in Anna Nagar and in April I found a group.
I am running with this group for over three months now and have started doing drills, workouts and my body is getting used to the challenges. I wake up without an alarm at 4 am and never fail to sleep by 10.30 PM the previous night. I have joined a training programme for runners and have signed up for a plank challenge and though I was intimidated by the challenge I have completed nearly a third of it and I am surprised at the way I feel these days. I have joined running drills by professional runners who guide, monitor, mentor and train you to do more with minimal injuries.
I should let you know something about myself, I weighed 112 kgs when I started, I had suffered a slipped disc and have a weak knee. Running was banned by my doctors who said that I will not be able to do it. Today my running has increased my self-confidence, I have lost 8 odd kilos and I am working on losing some more with a target of getting into two figures by September. I feel lethargic on days I do not indulge in physical activity like a walk or a run and these days I avoid my scooter for short trips.
From being a newbie who was struggling to run and falling behind the others I am now able to do my planned distances at a steady pace. I have started eating better making simple changes like stopping the use of sugar in my coffee and tea, while almost avoiding desserts and fried junk food. After a few days I realized that I don’t miss them at all and if I am tempted one spoonful suffices to satisfy my craving.
My longest distance has been 17 kms and with the motivation of the other runners I have signed up for the DRHM (Bib No: 21378). Conventional wisdom was to sign up for the 10 km but I have gone ahead for the half surprising many including myself. When I look back at the start when 3 kms left me breathless to where I am today I look back with gratitude the contributions of those who gave me the confidence to sign up. In no particular order – George who did the training and the invaluable 6X6 run which did wonders to my stamina, Venu Sir who is a guidebook on running form and is always willing to offer tips on running better, my running mate Lakshmi who pulled me unfailingly for the next landmark, Vikram who organizes the runs, JK who does the drills and the others whom I run with each week. Each person has contributed to help me improve and have a part in my running regularly.
They say that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and for many of the journeys mentioned above I have taken more than the single step. The challenge then is to avoid burnout, injury, boredom and worse lethargy. I was able to push myself a little more due to the support and camaraderie of the group I run with. Mornings have become a lot of fun and I wake up each day looking for the next challenge.
The group for those who are interested is called Tower Twisters, (there is a story behind the name) and can be found on Facebook. The group usually meets on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays for regular runs from the Bougainvilla Park on 6th Avenue, Anna Nagar near the K4 police station. The usual meeting time is 5.15 AM and the runs begin at 5.30 AM. Saturdays are devoted to LSD (Long Slow Distance) runs, like the one I completed recently. Usually the Saturday runs end with a group
breakfast that builds camaraderie and delights in the successes of each other.
The exhilaration at completing a new challenge, the happiness at doing something for the first time is what keeps us going. Why don’t you do something new for the first time?
P.S. I have bought a cycle and have started cycling, another thing off my to-do list.