Huffing and puffing and with great effort I had finally managed to reach the finishing line. Oh thank goodness it was over. Why the hell had I agreed to this? Why was God punishing me? What did I do to deserve this? Why couldn't I have been one of the fortunate few who don't have to wage a never ending war on considerable weight gain all through my life.
I had had no interest and motivation in participating in the marathon. I was there because my husband, a hard-core runner since the last year and a part of the freerunners group coaxed me to experience the thrill of running. He had benefitted from it so much that he didn't want me to miss out on it.
Thus I had relented and taken part; running the 3 kms was a challenge, a big, nasty, scary challenge I was not interested in or motivated to do. But I did it just wanting to experience this new wave of enthusiasm and craze for running that was spreading all over the country especially if Facebook is to be believed.
Now that was in 2017. Let's cut straight to March 2018 at the same marathon organised by the freerunners. Huffing and puffing again I reached the finishing line but this time I had run an extra 7 kms - a total of 10 kms to be exact.
Everything had changed in one year. I was running 5 kms daily, trying to increase my stamina, bettering my pace and time which is still pathetically slow and strengthening my body. However, what I realised was that it was more vital for me to strengthen my mind as I went along strengthening my overweight body.
For an extremely lazy person like me whose idea of a nice entertaining evening is sprawling in front of the TV, munching on toxic and unhealthy snacks, it has been really tough to put on my running gear, strap on my Garmin watch, pick up a bottle of water and head down to our society club house where my running mates get together everyday to run. Honestly I get anxious when the clock chimes remind me it's time. But I also know if I don't go or take even one day off, my body and my mind will never forgive me.
No excuses no justifications...shut up and run is how I take that step out of the door each evening to go and join my trainer and husband (it was only because we met Cdr Jeetendran Nair, President Freerunners, that I can run today) and my running group.
And that's how I and my running buddy were able to achieve our target. Our plan had always been to give another passionate running mate company for 10 k but unfortunately she couldn't run and we got stuck with it. But then, we decided to go ahead, got serious. We practiced, convinced ourselves that we could do it and never looked back.
Our pace, timing, posture, style still leaves a lot to be desired but for me it was a win of epic proportions...a win over my body, a win over my mind, a win over my laziness and inertia and a win over my fears. We were extremely motivated too. Seeing the hordes of women participating gave us the added incentive to not only finish but also better our time.
I started running only because I wanted to lose weight and remain fit. At 43 I need to force myself and my body to remember that as the years advance I should be fit, healthy, happy and independent. I want to be up and about and active as my 2 boys grow up. I want them to perceive me, their mother as a woman who can take care of herself, her family, her body and mind and as someone who would be there for them always. And that can only happen if I look after myself thus setting an example for them too.
I have been exercising all my life, gymming, sports, swimming, cycling and to be frank it was only because I wanted to lose weight and look great. I lost a total of 50 kgs twice before after both my deliveries. I had put on 30 kgs each time and was obese. But even though I was able to lose weight and remain fit, it was running that has changed my life and me. Nothing was as freeing as running. It has not only changed my body but has also freed my mind, taught me a few lessons in humility, perseverance, determination and patience. It has changed me as a person.
I am a woman who knows now that nothing is impossible if you work hard at it because I have experienced it first hand. Many others like me do it everyday, taking out time from their busy lives and most are even better at it, running half and full marathons like professionals. But I know this, they started like me, slow and steady, and won the race...the race against time, the race against inertia, the race against unhealthy bodies and minds, and the race against themselves.
And till I can do that I run and keep running, running away from an unfit life, body and mind. If I can do it you can too...anyone can.