Sports of all kinds have generally played a minor role in my existence. Of course I was a part of the usual 40 kids playing with one football in an intra-class free-for-all at school, and yes I played badminton with the neighborhood kids in the evenings… there was that summer when I realized I liked being a spin bowler but yet; no sport really stayed with me across the years.
I watched lawn tennis on TV, attended cricket matches in dusty stadiums, and generally cared two hoots about who won or lost…. preferring books and a silent corner over a crowded playing field anytime.
In short, I was an absolute nerd growing up. And guess what, I still am.
So it took an extreme turn of circumstances for a short , not-so-slender-but-completely-happy me to finally find myself registering for a 6K run at the Mumbai Marathon.
No its not a case of midlife crisis, though it might be because yours truely recently turned a whopping 30!
Lets step back a few months. A week shy of my 30th birthday, a random blood test revealed that I have extremely high cholesterol for my age, something in the range of 250 when it had no business being anything above 200. Talk about inconvenient truths. I was the one in the house who picked at his food while others hogged, who used to wax eloquent about the joys of healthy eating whenever someone cared to listen.. and in the entire family, guess who manages to wrangle a life style disease more suited for obese people digging into cream pies … tadaaa… Me !
So after the initial wringing of hands and silent dinners where I stared accusingly at the people and the food surrounding me, I joined a gym, got a personal trainer, and diligently got up early morning each day to be tortured in public by a guy who seemed distinctly half my age. The gym was nice, the sauna was nicer still. I wished I could spend more time in the latter and lesser in the former. However , as much as I used to detest lifting my 10 lbs when dudes around me were doing like a 75 lbs nonchalantly… I used to look forward to one activity where I found myself doing better than a lot of people around me… running!
I was surprised to find that I could run for a pretty long time and cover pretty long distances. It was fun running to my favorite music, and if I did it for a long enough period of time at the gym I came across as a serious health freak. And the best part, it all added up to a lower waist size for my jeans. Suddenly, before I knew it, I was a runner !
Soon I was reading up (I am a nerd remember?) about the intricacies of a proper stride, reading blogs by runners and watching youtube videos of people running more in a day than I had in a lifetime. Am not sure if I was a better runner at the end of it, but I was surely more informed!
It used to hurt at times, still does. My ankles and shins disagreed with my intentions with each aching step. It was not a happy day when I puked after having run for hardly a kilometer.
Till one day finally, I completed my first kilometer on the trot and a month later, I paced my first five kilometer run.
There are few things that I have ever done in my life that have given me a greater sense of achievement than making the transition from being a guy on the verge of being put on cholesterol medication at an age less than 30, to a guy who manages to outrun at least some of the runners at Central Park…and yes being a guy who has almost normal cholesterol levels (am getting there !!).
For the last one month, I have been camping at a hotel… and my running has at best been intermittent. The reason I am writing this today is to remind myself how much being a runner has meant for me in such a short while already. Come tomorrow, I promise that I am hitting the road again. Right now, I am harboring hopes of completing a 10 km race before I hit 31.
Yes, at the end of it I am still probably an absolute nerd…
But trust me people…this nerd can run !