By Maneesh Nambiar | 19th Jan 2017
It was an impulsive decision when I said “yes” to Dinesh Nair, my school mate when he asked me whether I am interested in joining for SCMM Marathon training. We usually say “yes” to many things for which ideally the answer should be “No”, but based on 20-20 hindsight now, this was my best “yes” ever.
Before this, I have never engaged in any physical activity except for playing gully cricket during my school days. I had practiced yoga to help me focus and clear CA exams. But after getting job, the same was also reduced to maximum of 5-15 minutes a day whenever time permitted. I am hugely fascinated by meditation and have read tons of literature but couldn’t develop discipline to follow the same on a regular basis. I have also done basic art of living course but the effort was too much for me to continue on a daily basis.
The only running that I did till that point of time was to run for catching local trains. I thought running was simple until I spoke to Munir. Never realized, that there is so much of science and technique behind each run. Munir patiently explained the training plan, the risks involved and how to prevent injury while practicing to achieve the goal of running half marathon under 2 hours 30 minutes.
So the stage was set and I started the training thinking “dekhte hain kitna din chalega”. Today after more than 4 months and completing 2 half marathon’s, I am still excited and look forward to run and stretch my physical limits every week. More than will power and self-discipline, the most important factor is the unique and customized plan prepared by Munir. The activities/workout change every day and the routine do not become monotonous and repetitive. And there’s lot of encouragement and support from the fellow runners in Explorunner group to keep you going!!
My first ever run in a formal event was Navy Marathon at BKC, Mumbai. The atmosphere, arrangements were perfect. All the assembled runners did warm up by doing zumba dance with Naval band’s music in background. Before this, the longest run I did was 17 KM’s at Borivli national park along with Munir and friends the previous Sunday. And as suggested by Munir, my only goal was to complete the run without any target time and build endurance. I was delighted that I could complete the run in 2hr & 42 min and got medal from a Navy officer. I cannot describe my happiness that I felt when I was holiding “My first medal ever”!!!
Powai Run – This was my second formal run. I was more confident but thing’s didn’t start on a positive note. I couldn’t sleep the previous night because of excitement & nervous energy. I and Narayanswamy had planned to go together to the venue. At the last moment, Ola cab driver ditched us and we had to wait for another cab. So I reached 15 mins after the 21 KM was flagged off.
Hiranandani powai has special significance in my life. My twin boys were delivered prematurely at Hiranandani hospital. And as I started running, all the events, emotions and memories of the difficult time came flooding back to me and my focus was not on running. But things started falling in place after 5-6 KM and I started running freely as I focused on surroundings, the excellent and dedicated support staff and also visualized my twin boy’s reaction when I reach home with the second medal. They are now 5 years old and eager to start running with me. Powai run was very exhausting and I felt sad as I saw the SMS showing my course time as 2 hrs and 41 mins. This was hardly any improvement compared to my previous run. But in the evening, I was hugely relived & jumped with joy to find my BIB timings as 2hrs and 25 mins!!! The SMS had showed time which was calculated based on event flag off time.
I had achieved my goal of running half marathon in less than 2 hrs and 30 mins one week before the due date!! Thanks to Munir and all friends of Explorunner group for all the support and encouragement. Also special thanks to my wife Preeti, who would miss her morning walk on all my long run days to be with kids.
Many things changed after I started running. I lost weight. I now look at problems / issues with a “can do” attitude. My new best friends in addition to the amazing running partners of explorunner group are Moov and Volini. They provide instant relief and comfort when needed. And now, I cannot run after local trains as my legs refuse to co-operate for the unscheduled & unregistered runs!!