San Antonio, one beautiful city!

I was in San Antonio few weeks ago. Initially, I wasn’t sure what I’m going to come across. But I’m glad I made this trip. This humble city has lots to offer. And the Riverwalk is the best I’ve seen in my life. Why? Just see the pictures.

 

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It is the most beautiful and romantic walk I must have had in my life. I could just stay here. Right in the heart of downtown, there is this serene and soothing place.

You know what, I’m going to come here again, with someone who is special to me, to take a walk which we both will remember for a lifetime.

Life is one beautiful thing, isn’t it?

And I did it!

Long story short. I did it. I did it against all the odds. I did it when the temperature was 4 degree Celsius/39 degree F with chilling winds going at a speed of 20/30 miles per hour in exactly opposite direction I was running in. And to everyone’s surprise, I was in shorts and a T-shirt. You are right, it was a crazy thing to do!
After delivering a satisfactory performance in Des Moines marathon on October 19, I was expecting a really good performance today, in HillyBilly half marathon. I knew the weather is going to be difficult, especially for a person who has spent his 29 years in country where temperatures rarely drop below 10. Well, in most parts of the country.
So I was at the start line along with other runners at 8am. Due to some logistic issues the start was delayed by 20 minutes. 20 long minutes. All of us were literally shivering while standing in that cold weather.
Finally gun went off and I started, pretty good as I had expected. I wanted my body to get warmed up as early as possible. I didn’t realise what speed I was running at until my Garmin beeped at 1km. I was going too fast. But was feeling good so thought it is going to be my day! Unfortunately, that wasn’t supposed to be the case. Suddenly at 3.5km I started feeling some pain in my right shin. I’ve been having some minor issues with right shin for last one week. But the pain never seemed to be concerning as it used to subside after couple of kilometres. But today, it was different. More intense and more nagging.
I slowed down to allow the pain to go but it did not have any such plans. I realised I’m going to have an unwanted company today. At around 5-6km, I slowed significantly and finally started walking as I could not bear the pain. Everyone had started passing me by now. And the kind of competitive person I am, I wasn’t happy with it at all. But did I have any option?
I thought, if it is going to pain I might well as run with a pain than walk with it. Not a sensible thing to do! But just had that intuition that I could do it. So I started running slowly and continued till 9km. At 9km mark, I realised that I wasn’t feeling the pain any more. May be because my leg and mind were numb. Numb, because of all the negative thoughts I was having. So with numb foot and mind, I started picking up pace slowly and felt that it was making me feel better. I crossed 10.5k (mid point of the race) at 1:00:something. I was happy with what I had achieved with aching shin. Considering my previous performances and respecting logic, I was supposed to take more than an hour for the second half. But something struck me. I thought why not try going for the kill than eventually getting killed anyways.
And that helped! I picked up the pace I was supposed to run with initially.
And pain? What pain? I did not bother to think about it, forget feeling it. Kilometres after kilometres passed and I was cruising. Suddenly realised that I was couple of kms away from the finish line. This is where wind got really strong and was not helping at all. But did I care? No, I did not. Continued cruising till I finished. And boy, I completed my second half in 56 minutes! So overall timing of 1:56:20. Second best performance so far.
Was I happy? I don’t know. I know one thing, I came out of that marathon as a stronger person than I was before. And that is precisely I love running for! It makes you stronger!
Every race and every run teach you something by throwing unexpected challenges in a brutal possible manner. It is totally up to you how you want to take the challenge.

Because ultimately- Either you run the race or the race will run you down!

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Shimla Ultra Marathon

I ran 30K on Saturday, 21st June at Shimla Ultra marathon. The route was really gorgeous. Initial 15K were downhill and then we had to come all the way up to finish the race. The route had some really beautiful views and they compelled me to stop and get them clicked.

The medal was cool and I liked it very much.

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I run, therefore I am!

There are 2 questions which are thrown at me quite frequently.

  1. What made you start running?
  2. Why do you run?

 I’ll answer these questions one at a time. 

What made me start running?

It’s an interesting story. I covered it in my previous blog, which you can read here.

 

Why do I run?

My family, friends and several others must have asked me this question a zillion times! Quite honestly, I never really thought about it. My focus was only on enjoying each run and I never dwelt on anything beyond that. So I tackled this often-asked question with whatever came to my mind first. Fitness, refreshment, and fun were my usual responses. However, after 14 half marathons, one full marathon, three 15K marathons, two 10K and two 5K marathons I finally realized the significance of this question.

 

What prompted the realization? I’ll cover that detail later. First, let me share my reasons for running.

 

  1. I run, therefore I am!

Running has become my lifestyle. It changed me and my life. It has helped me evolve into a better person and has added discipline and structure to my life. Running marathons has taught me not only to take failures positively but also to pursue successes relentlessly. As running allows me to spend some quality time with myself, I use it to introspect and identify areas I need to improve. Running therefore takes on the role of teacher, mentor and coach!

 

  1. Travel and Photography

I love travelling and photography. You didn’t know that already? See my blog here. Participating in marathons across India allows me to travel, explore new places and take photographs. Sharing some of my pictures below.

 

Rann of Kutch(My first desert half marathon here)

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Satara (My first hill-marathon here)

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Balewadi stadium (My regular training ground in Pune)

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 Sinhagad Fort

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  1. The social network!

Running provides great opportunities to meet people and make friends. Faster and easier than Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn combined! On a more serious note,  this networking opportunity is really like a steady stream of pure, unadulterated motivation and inspiration. Imagine the strongest and most inspirational people on this earth—cancer survivor, 75-year young man running for his granddaughter, amputee, and the list is a long one! It also makes me realize how easy my life is and just how difficult it could have been. Running allows me to celebrate the smallest things in life and what could give you greater joy than running with your friends!

 

My friends at work! We all ran The Principal Wellness Run.

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Last month, when I was thinking about my goals for 2014 (a wee late, I know!) I realized that it would be great if I could influence at least one person to run a half marathon with me this year. This is my attempt to influence at least one person to take up running. This is what actually prompted me to think hard about why I run. Anybody else wants to share why they run? If we can all collectively motivate several others to take up running, wouldn’t it be just awesome? Please feel free to share your reasons in the comments!

Top 10 Things That Helped Me Finally Qualify for the Boston Marathon

Really useful blog!

Running Inspired Blog

I remember being in high school in the late-80s and finding a towel in our house from the Boston Marathon .  I don’t know where or how it ended up in our house since nobody in our family was a runner, but that was the first time I thought that I may some day want to run this famous race.  Growing up in the New England, where running is taken very seriously, the Boston Marathon receives a lot of press and I was always amazed that someone could actually run 26 miles non-stop.  Although I was fairly athletic growing up, I only ran when practicing for other sports.  It wasn’t until after I finished college and started working full-time that I felt I needed an outlet to keep fit and began running in 1994 and have been running ever since.  I ran my first marathon in 1996 in San Antonio…

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And I ran..

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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!

Run and click..

I clicked this one while trekking/running Sinhgad fort yesterday. I had to stop, break my rhythm and sacrifice my timing but it was totally worth it! Sometimes, we runners are so busy in running that we forget to appreciate the beautiful surroundings offered by each and every route. Lesson learnt! Keep running friends!

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Prajakt Mahajan

Prajakt Mahajan

I’m a doctor..And I do everything except practicing medicine..I work in a Fortune 500 financial company..Besides working, I run marathons..I click pictures and I blog at times..I love to share my marathon achievements, my pictures and anything which has a potential to entertain people..I share to inspire, motivate and entertain..Feel free to get in touch with me.. We can run together, travel to places or click some pictures..After all, I’m a good friend to have and it’s a really short life..