My Dad is an avid long distance runner. For the past 2 years or so, I have been watching him wake up at five o’clock in the morning to go run even before the crack of dawn. I secretly yearned to do that too, but always thought that I would not be able to practise with that level of discipline.
One day in school, without too much introspection 😊, I decided to participate in the 800 metres-running race for sports day. Many of the other girls who participated in the selection round gave up in the last 200 metres or so, but I kept going on, and completed that round and the final one too. I later on told my father about it, and added that having done this, I was sure I couldn’t do more than a kilometre at most. He rebuked me saying that I could easily run even 10km, if I set my mind to do that.
From 800m to 10km sounded like a pipe dream to me, but I finally decided to accept my own challenge.
At first, I started off with running around 800 metres a few times, and then one day crossed 1km. I tried 1.5km next and very soon, I was hitting 4-5km on the treadmill. My Dad used to be with me sometimes and used to encourage me to go for “another 500m” when I was feeling tired and wanted to give up.
Eventually, after some hard work and practice, I ran my first 10km race at the IIT Bombay Half Marathon Run in August 2019. Although my body felt like giving up after a while, I discovered an ally in my strong-willed mind which kept me going. As I ran across the 10km mark, I felt a sense of satisfaction and pride in what I had accomplished. The sudden rush of feelings and thoughts that flooded my heart and brain was worth the efforts.
After having accomplished this, I ran two 5km runs, one of them for an NGO for children with cancer.
Now I have tasted blood of a different kind, and needless to say, I will continue doing such runs in the years to come. Covid19 has sort of paused my plans for some time, but once a runner, always a runner.