It’s not easy, if that’s what you were expecting. The first run, the first marathon, the first race, it’s always about the nerves and anxiety and anticipation. Every runner talks about preparation first when asked about their first marathon; the actual run comes second. It’s the same in my case.
I started running solely for the purpose of losing weight. I didn’t know zilch about fitness except for “I need to be thin” I started running 5km every day. I realized I was clocking in 5km at a stretch in 30-32minutes. Realising that I could put in a lot more effort pushed me to do better, and I perfected the 5km in 26-27min within a few months. I got a lot of appreciation from fellow gym goers, all athletes or runners. Which is when I decided to register for the Pune International Marathon.
Let’s fast forward to the evening of 3 Dec 2014, an evening that saw me a bundle of nerves. I ate a carb heavy meal at 7:30pm and decided to hit the bed at 9pm (I had to be fresh and well rested for the run at 5:00am) I went over my check-list at least 20 times before sleeping: shoes, comfortable socks, comfortable sports bra, music, sweat band, hair band were all in place for the big race.
I couldn’t sleep for the longest time. “10km is a LOT, you’ve never run so much before, what if you can’t do it?” “What if you can’t wake up?” “What if you injure yourself while running?” “What if you faint while running?” “What if you can’t?” is all that I could think about. Self doubt was at an all-time high, and I was cursing the Universe for the impeccable timing.
I woke up at 4:00am, numb with excitement and nervousness. I got dressed, ate a banana and left. Blank. Nervous. Numb. (I now wish I had been more excited)
The marathon kicked off at 6:30am, and after plugging in my earphones I started running. This was probably the first time I connected to music, felt each beat in my body, connected with every word being sung, and I lost myself to a beautiful dream world as I ran, ran like it’s the only thing that mattered at that moment.
People around me were smiling, running, talking, cheering, singing, egging us on, and it’s for this reason that I write this post. The feeling of running all alone with hundreds of strangers encouraging you and pushing you to keeping moving is beyond exhilarating (I have goosebumps as I type this) They have nothing to gain out of encouraging you to finish a race that even they’re a part of. This realisation of healthy competition and sportsmanship hit me mid-run and I couldn’t help feeling overwhelmed with emotion. With the newfound vigour,I continued running. I didn’t stop even once; I smiled, ran and smiled some more. I ran like it was the only thing that mattered.
For a race where I reached unprepared and untrained, I clocked in a time of 56minutes. That’s when I realized I could do this; the confidence was overwhelming. But none of that mattered at that moment, all that I wanted was to celebrate the fact that everyone got together and helped each other out, something so unheard of in this world today. This is what changed the meaning of fitness for me.
Fitness now became about all of us, and not just about ME. Fitness meant being there for others on their journey, and not competing against someone for a size or weight. Fitness became about feeling positive, and true happiness is never hidden. I started sharing these positive thoughts with those around me. I learnt how to be happy when I learnt to share my fitness journey with everyone else. All thanks to those who helped me run my first marathon.
I ran a 15km next year, and stood first. Once again, I couldn’t have done it without my fellow runners, people unknown to me, strangers running with me, egging me on with their smiles and thumbs up signs. The support from the fitness community worked wonders for my morale.
Which is why I say fitness isn’t about me. It is never about ONE person. It is about all of us. Fitness for me is being there for you when you need that motivation, it’s about planning running dates and swimming sessions with friends, it’s about teaching a new sport, learning a new exercise. Fitness is about knowledge sharing. I love being a part of this fit, happy community. I couldn’t have asked for anything else. Thank you for being a part of this lovely, positive family, and thank you for supporting me and motivating me till date.
Charge ahead #FitFam! <3