2 Aug 2012

Hitting rock bottom, the glorious resuscitation and my life along the way.....

“It's not how many times you get knocked down that counts, it's how many times you get back up.” George A Custer

Today I have decided to pen about my comeback and rediscovering the 'joy' of Running.  

As quietly as running breezed into my day to day life bringing along  with it a new beginning and a freshness, so did it one day in  June of 2006  breeze out of my life too. Alongside running, there was a lot happening for me professionally and personally. I went to Canada for a year to pursue my fellowship dream. A long distance marriage sprinkled with adaptation to a new life /culture/work environment threw my running completely out of focus. I had fallen off the wagon and out of track. Whenever I found some time in the midst of daily hustle and bustle, I would hit the gym in my building for some cross training. Forget races, there was no serious running for almost more than a year and a half!!

After I returned back to Mumbai at the end of 2007, I was again surrounded by news and discussions about the marathon. This made me decide that it was time to revive and transplant that vital organ which was chopped off my body. It was time to pick all the pieces and put it together and rebuild it all back. 

I enrolled for the Mumbai half marathon. This time, I attached a purpose to it, running for "Bombay Psychiatric Society", thanks to a good friend at my workplace. I always felt that attaching a meaning to this madness of running (as many call it)  will make the pounding of the tracks and the training well worth it!

To cut a long story short, I successfully completed the Mumbai half marathon. 

But, yet again, life took a different course. We moved to SE asia. Another new beginnings in Hong Kong and again running was out of my radar for almost 2 years until late 2009! There are moments of quiet and solitude in life when one gets a lot of time to tap their "inner self". Such a moment happened to me while sipping a cup of tea watching the sunset one day. I was walking down memory lane, all by myself, lost in my thoughts when suddenly my eyes lit and I sprang up with joy! 

Anyone who had seen my face light up at that moment would have thought, it resembles a little girl who had just discovered something  she had loved so much and lost. I remembered in my head all the joyous moments of pounding the pavements of Mumbai and those "me" times feeling the breeze in my hair and just "being" there. I frantically started searching for various running groups, buddies, places to run and races to register around this new place we had just made our home.

It was bloody tough, let me tell you, restarting everything from scratch. I had gained almost twelve kilos of extra body weight and every single step was a killer.  Carol Welch once famously put it very simply, yet beautifully "Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional and mental states". 

I decided consciously to link up with people who have overcome mental barriers and successfully accomplished endurance tasks they set out for themselves. I surrounded myself with people who sowed seeds of positivity every single day. And this helped me pluck out the negative weeds from within. 

Every day was competition within myself and the best part about running was, I did not have to compete with anybody else. I decided to adopt a healthy lifestyle by eating right and getting on a regular fitness routine. I also enrolled in as many races that I could only to instill a sense of disciplined training. 

On each morning run, I cleared many cobwebs out of my mind and dug deep within my own soul for answers to many complicated questions. Running was also a wonderful platform to build and nurture lifelong camaraderie. 

I also connected with various running groups like Dailymile, Runner Girls India, Comrades India group, HK runners, Running and Living Gurgaon, Bangalore runners,Mumbai runners, Visually impaired runners in Hong Kong to name a handful. The internet is such a wonderful tool to stay connected with such achievers. As they say, there are no such thing as strangers only friends,I felt blessed to connect with many friends in the virtual world and even nicer to meet many of them face to face in the real world at the races. 

Around this time, along with my sister Indu, we started a school based running program called "Striding Flamingos". We started this initiative in Hyderabad to assist pre- teen girls discover themselves and run a 5K at the end of the 8week program. It was a roaring success. 

Slowly but steadily, one step at a time, I successfully saw the finish lines of 3 full marathons across Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong. I ran them for various charitable causes. For me all that mattered about these races was as always the "Journey". I did not care about finish times. I just wanted to be there in the very moment, soak in all the experience, the sheer thrill, joy and the ecstasy of fulfilling something which, at some point in time felt like climbing Mt Everest! 

A special mention to my family particularly my soul mate, parents, elder sister and multitude of friends who stood by me every step of the way. I had embarked once again on the beautiful path and I know surely and with utmost conviction that from now on I will stay on this path for a lifetime!

To sum it all up as Federico Fellini once said " There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the passion of life”!

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