I have always been moderately fit and have been upto some form of exercise, be it swimming, martial arts, sports … have tried them all in various stages of my life and enjoyed them. But, the thing I have loved most is Eating and have always been a big foodie, probably an extreme one.
So, when I was well into my 40s and the loved ones start insisting that I get regular body tests done, a friend suggested I try a strength training session with him called BootCamp Yellow. The name itself sounded like a military inspired course and thinking I am quite a fit guy, I landed up for my first session. The first session which lasted just 15 minutes broke a lot of myths I had about myself, and I realised I needed to up my strength, increase my stamina and endurance, reduce the weight which I used to conceal under my intelligent dressing.
Basically, it was time to start behaving myself and take control of my body. This was 18 months ago, and 3 months into the course my BCY mates introduced me to the BCY Running Club and having never run a timed race before I very ambitiously, signed up for a 10 km timed run in Gurgaon as my first ever. This, somehow I managed to finish (or honestly, drag myself to the finish line) in 1 hour 22 minutes. That was another wake-up call and probably the longest hour and half of my life. And, though I was confused why people subject their bodies to such rigorous extreme conditions of insanity, deep down inside the decision had been taken right there on the finish line to improve myself.
10 months down the line after a couple of kilos lighter, more muscle mass and stronger legs, I did my first Half Marathon (21.1 kms) in Hyderabad. Which I had been told is one of the toughest city marathons. What mattered at the finish line was the strong finish, and after the run I was standing tall, laughing with my friends, speaking FULL sentences and ready to run another few kms if need be. That is how much it changed me and made running a part of my daily routine.
Running now has made me leaner, stronger, more focussed and somehow more sure about myself. I set my eyes on a Target and I believe I can achieve it and I do. A trek to the Everest Base Camp last year, a sub 2.00 hour finish at the recent New Delhi marathon, getting up every morning at 4.30 am to join my fellow runners, all are a testament to what this training with my coaches has helped me achieve in just a matter of 18 months. Running has not just been about physical strength but equally about mental toughness. Now, no matter where I am on the planet, I just put on my shoes and take off on the road. It’s therapeutic and like meditating and the early morning runs just pave the way for a wonderful day ahead.
This is my journey as a runner of doing the unthinkable and achieving what seemed impossible more than an year ago! The emotions and the exhilaration I now feel while crossing the finish line are just beyond words and all I can do is thank my teammates who run and train along with me every morning at ungodly hours just to follow their passion of running. Thanks to BootCamp Yellow, I seem to have found the balance between my love for food and my love for running, along with a healthier and fitter me.
As the Bob Dylan song goes “For the times they are a changing!!!”