Friday, November 6, 2015

What Are You Running Towards ?

  • What are you passionate about ? 
  • What makes you feel alive ?
  • What gives purpose to your life ?
  • What makes you to be awake in the morning ?

For me running happens to be one that could be the answer. It literally make me get up early in the morning.

I started running as an accident and as a challenge to myself "Can I do it ?" 

I never thought or had plans to run long distances until I started doing it. I never ran anything more than 3miles/ or more than 5Kms before the thought of running a marathon came to me.

I participated in cross country running when I was in high school in India. The reason  I mention India is - the training in India was nothing close to what high school students and people participating in cross country in the U.S go through. Atleast for me it wasn't. It is very intense here and can be appropriately labeled as "hard-core" runners. I used to run for my volley ball practice as well when I was I high school. Yes this not-so-tall guy was once a volleyball player ;)

Back to running. When I started running I had no idea "marathon" was 26.2 miles/42.2 kms. I thought marathon was a synonym for running and anything that involves running was called "marathon running". I was that naive and had no clue what I was getting into. 

So one random day when I was self reflecting and had more time to pass by I was thinking out loud and had this epiphany of I need a challenge and I need something that gets me out of my apartment and not watch movies all day. Just sleep, eat, work and study was my routine when was I in college. Anyways long story short : I said to myself "I will run a marathon". At that time of thinking I didn't even know marathon was longgggggg. 26.2 miles long. 

Typically I like to finish what I started and if I am into it I will do what ever physically, mentally or humanly possible of me I will try to do it. I didn't know that at that time. But bow that I am looking back I know for sure I don't give up on something that I am passionate about that easily.

There were many people who influenced, inspired or motivated my running. Bart Yasso, Bill Rodgers, some of my cousins who were kind of training for the runs. Once I thought if it I immediately googled and found a local running club and they posted a race calendar. 

Luckily on a whim I signed up for my first 10K. Yeah I know straight to 10K. No 1 mile, 5K or anything, straight to 10K.

I did ok in 1hr 7 Mts and wanted more of this. I kept at it in y ridiculous and unorthodox ways and did a 20K, 15K, half marathon and finally a marathon which was a disaster in terms of the time i anticipated but I FINISHED.

This kind of became an ice breaker for me in college when my friends and other students in the class and college knew I ran a marathon. They were like "dude you ran a marathon ? Wow that's amazing". But I didn't know it was a big deal at that time and had no excitement or response to that besides a smile that was like "chill ax its not a big deal."

Either not always my running was welcomed or appreciated. It could be people cared too much about and didn't want me to get hurt or they didn't know any better about running.

Most of the times the comments were something along the lines of  

  • "Are you crazy ?" 
  • "Your knees might wear out", 
  • "be careful"
  • "Why are you wasting your money on running ?"
  • "You could have had a nice car on all the money spent on running so far, which is what you need now"
  • "Why are you running away from responsibilities, not getting married, no kids etc" (this is from some of my Indian relatives whose idea of marriage is something you should get it over with once you have a good paying job)

In the beginning  most of the times the comments on my running were not that supportive or motivating. The most painful comment was people thinking "I was running away" while I was thinking "I was running towards something". 

Something that is bigger than myself. Something that teaches me to persevere and not give up. Something that gives me hope. Something that makes me believe dreams come true and become real if  I am determined and work for it, if I put in the effort and give it all my best.

Luckily I had many other folks who I haven't met until then but were an inspiration through their stories. 

Bart Yasso is my hero. The most humbling human being I had the privilege to meet. He has done so much for the running community and continues to keep doing. He is amazing. If you get a chance I highly recommend reading his book "Life on the Run"

I had the privilege of meeting Bill Rodgers who inspired me to strive for BQ.

I am so grateful to have met many running legends who inspire and motivate me to keep running and make my dreams a reality.

They have shown me it's worth striving for something. Whatever that something might be. We write our own stories. We tell our stories.

My story of running is : "I am running towards something and that something is my life".

Running is Living ~ Sandy

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