And I ran..


What made me start running?

It’s an interesting story.

It all started with a wager. A wager with a friend who challenged my fitness and will power.
It was a gloomy Sunday morning. My friend and I were idly talking about how lethargic we had become. Hardly any exercise, no treks, no sport, nothing! That conversation oddly ended with me announcing that I would run from my house to his (which is around 18 km/11.25 miles away) in the next three weeks.
My friend, of course, found it hilarious and guffawed that I had lost my mind and would never be up to it! Frankly speaking, I had neither checked my mental health nor considered my physical fitness whilst making that audacious declaration. But now that the gauntlet was thrown I was going to do it!
To cover a running distance of 11.25 miles, I figured I had to work on a strategy first. I began by listing my strengths and weaknesses. My strengths were my prior experience in sport and regular gymming whereas my weaknesses were my proven lack of will power and patience and, did I mention, no experience in running ever!
The proverbial first step of my journey was on a treadmill. My strategy was simple—I had to cover 18 km in three hours. (Yes, it was a discounted time since I was doing it for the first time!)  At a subconscious level, you see, I had already covered the distance and it was only a matter of time!
On day one, I could run for only 15 minutes… and that’s when the unhappy realization began dawning on me—it was not going to be easy, and it was going to be a really tough journey! Over the next few days, I could run for 30-40 minutes. But obviously, this was not going to be sufficient. The frustration and desperation grew incrementally day by day.
Broadcasting my goal to the world
Whenever I have a goal which is really tough to achieve, I declare it publicly. When my goals are laid bare, there is a sense of pressure, a fear of failure. And, there is that huge dread of public embarrassment should I not meet my goals. This has always worked for me in egging me on to achieve whatever I set out to do. Well, this one had to be broadcast to the world then! And that is what I did. I Facebooked it, I tweeted it and I shared it with people who worked as human networking agencies! As expected, it helped. It helped when I needed reminding. It helped when I needed encouraging. It also helped when I needed the much required reality check from time to time.
Weeks two and three were hectic to say the least. My multitasking skills were put to test. I had my work to manage, a couple of exams to study for, a bachelor party to attend and not forgetting, the many miles I had to run! There were days when I was running as late as 10 p.m. and as early as 6 a.m.
The last three days, I didn’t hit the gym at all as I needed to rest my poor muscles… which raised many an eyebrow!
The final day
I started at 5:30 a.m. with my only companion—my cell phone. I figured it would come in handy if I gave up midway or required medical attention! Fortunately, I used it only to tweet: Completed 18 km (11.25 miles) in 1 hour and 50 minutes! I ran, ran and ran… and yes, without a single halt!
Over those three weeks, I grew in confidence about my capability to cover the distance.  But, honestly, I never expected that I’d give my best on the day that mattered the most.  One hour 50 minutes is what it took! I still can’t believe it!
While reflecting on my three-week journey I realized the following:
  • It’s a mind game. Your fitness begins in your mind.
  • Running makes you feel younger. I am 27 but I feel 17 when I’m running.
  • Fitness is an excellent hobby to have, and I’m happy it’s one of mine now.
  • Gambling isn’t always bad. My wager with my friend earned me an entire month of sponsored weekends including movies!