Running a Marathon!





I’m not exactly sure when I had this urge to run a marathon. Most likely that it must have been around a year back when there was a lot of talk about the Wipro Chennai Marathon and how I got to know of a 10km run intended for beginners who were interested.

I was really never into sports. I used to play volley ball at school. I play shuttle (sometimes) out of a personal interest, given that everyone in the family plays the sport and it used to be a good way to spend time. When it comes to running, the only instances when I really had to run were 1. When I single-handedly destroyed Grandma’s cupboard by swinging on the door, and I had to run before the glass bottles fell on me, and then I had to run away from the scene of crime till tempers ( Ma’s and Grandma’s) relaxed. 2. When I was playing with a few friends and out of nowhere a dog came and started chasing me. (I never knew I could run so fast :-D). Other than that, luckily I did not have the need to run for anything.

So back to the Wipro Marathon, I decided to train and participate, but it did not materialize. I left it without another thought as I wasn’t very serious about it. Then it so happened that I met a friend/colleague who was a pro-marathon runner. He made it sound fun and interesting. A split-second decision later, I decided to take part in a marathon, which would give me sufficient time to train. The same friend told me about the Dream Runners Marathon scheduled for June 22. Since we were in February at that time, I thought it would be the best option. Things just fell in place πŸ™‚

The main reason for taking up the marathon was, I felt I needed a challenge. That was it. I felt I needed to do something different from what I was doing. I wanted to compete with myself. Though I should say, my friends and family were not convinced when I cited this reason. People thought I was crazy. I wouldn’t blame them either πŸ˜‰

So after signing up, I had to come up with a training schedule. I tried to follow the schedule that was given on the training website and with some inputs from my runner friend, I set out with an agenda. Run. Build Stamina. Run. Since I used to work out at the gym, I decided to go for practice runs during the weekends. The most difficult part was not the running, I had started working out and I’d been swimming for a considerable period. The problem was waking up at 5.30 on weekends. For a normal person, this isn’t a big deal. But for me, even waking up at 6.30 every day is a task. (Typical night owl) Somehow I managed to push myself (with multiple alarms) and started training, slowly and gradually.

As expected, initially I found it difficult, but not difficult enough to give up. Surprisingly from the second week I could see a lot of improvement while training and I was amazed at how I was able to comfortably push myself and achieve the target set for the day. I knew I had to take it slow, and kept gradually increasing the target. I wanted to run the whole distance at least once before the marathon day. After 3 months of weekend training ( and sever bouts of cold, fever and throat infection) I finally ran the 10kms during the last practice run. I was almost there.

On the D-day, I woke up at 3am, had my very-early-morning dose of coffee (never too early for a cup of coffee), warmed up a little and set out. I was not nervous because I knew I’d trained well and I knew that if I couldn’t run the whole stretch I’d be able to complete it by walking, since I’d tried that option. But still there was some anxiety. I knew I’d miss my mom being there in person and remembered to wear her diamond ring, for a moral support πŸ˜€ . I tried not to do a Root-Cause-Analysis at that time, I just let it be and tried diverting my mind, thinking of what I’d do during the run.

Fast forward to 5.30, the whistle sounded and we were off, about 1800 of us. To my surprise, I started smiling, the anxiety that was bothering me for some time seemed to have vanished and the song that played in my phone seemed to lift my spirit. I thought of the various motivation blogs and realized I should start enjoying the journey. I don’t remember what I was thinking of. My brain seemed to have travelled to some distant land. My Runkeeper app kept giving me updates every 5 minutes and every 1 km. I was listening to the playlist that I’d spent almost half an hour choosing, the previous day and that was it. Slowly it was 3km, then 5km and then 8km.

There were a lot of volunteers who kept cheering us and as we were nearing the finish line, they cheered even more. Only then, somehow miraculously my brain seemed to have come back from its vacation and I knew I was almost there. Almost. I needed to carefully push myself through the last kilometer and the positive vibes helped me. The most interesting part was, as we are nearing the finish line, we could see more people in the crowd who were clapping and cheering all the runners along with volunteers. Just before I touched the finish line, I could visualize the three months of hard work that I’d put in. Three months of waking up early and running, three months of sacrificing weekend sleep, three months of driving myself to accomplish the challenge and three months of torturing my alarm. And I knew it was all worth it. It was worth every minute of those three months for the wonderful experience.

I took up this challenge for fun and I never even thought I would enjoy it to this extent and have fun. That sense of having achieved something and having enjoyed in the process is such truly rewarding and fulfilling.

That moment, at the finish line, when people seemed to be clapping for all the finishers, when my heart was shouting ‘You did it Ash!’, when my dad stood there smiling and said ‘Proud of You!’, that moment when the challenge was successfully completed, is something that is deeply etched in my heart. I would never forget that moment for a lifetime!

P.S. This was one of the challenges I wrote about, here πŸ™‚

Image Courtesy : FreeDigitalPhotos

56 thoughts on “Running a Marathon!

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  1. LOL on your earlier reasons to run. Could you please share the training schedule you followed? I mean the website link. And yes, it's a moment to cherish for lifetime.


  2. Very good. An achievement to cherish in life, indeed. Recently, one of my friends, who has participated in two marathons, tried 'motivating' me by talking to me non-stop for one and a half hours. Unlike you, I became nervous at first, and afraid during the end of the conversation. His talk convinced me against participating in any marathon in the near future πŸ˜›

    Destination Infinity


  3. Congratulations. You established a goal for you to achieve and you did achieve. I admire you for that. Waiting to hear about your other 2 challenges.

    Here is an anecdote that really happened. Couple of years ago, in a European Marathon race, a guy came is first and got the prize. A reporter saw this guy is not as β€œtired” as the other runners. He wanted to investigate. Therefore, he saw the entire video 2 or 3 times again and again. Finally he found out that the winner was wearing a watch in his right hand at the start and at the finish line his watch was in his left hand. Upon further investigation, he found out an identical twins were involved. One guy did the first 13 miles and somehow he dropped out and his identical twin took from that. They got the prize money and cup back from these guys.

    Ashwini, do you have a twin sister? You can easily win the next marathon.


  4. Way to go girl! This season I had a lot of my friends who participated in Marathon than ever before, and whenever I hear the stories about how they prepared months and months before, and changed their lifestyle, it's only more motivating to participate in the next one. Well done you!


  5. I know! Suddenly there's been a lot of talk about Marathons and it was then that I decided to take it up. I was inspired by a friend to take it up, if anyone says they took up a challenge inspired by me, that is the best gift I could ask for πŸ™‚

    Thank you πŸ™‚


  6. Wow!!! Congratulations and that was such an inspiring and hear warming post. I felt your sense of achievement and satisfaction while reading it πŸ™‚ You have such a good outlook towards life Ashwini.I admire you for that and keep it up!


  7. Hi5 from one night owl to another πŸ˜‰ I bet I can never wake up at 3 am 😦 Though I can sleep at that time for sure πŸ˜‰ Congratulations on completing the Challenge Ashwini πŸ™‚


  8. Thank you so much Aarthy! Reading you comment made my day πŸ™‚

    It's not that everyday people come up to you and say all this. The best thing you could tell me was that the words conveyed my emotions as you read.

    Thank you so much πŸ™‚


  9. Thank you Jyotsna πŸ™‚

    Don't be so sure, you might never know! Probably if you're heart is really set on something it will, as in my case πŸ™‚

    Also Cheers Fellow-night-owl πŸ™‚


  10. That's really great Ashwini. Just reading about how you prepared for it makes me realize that I can never do it. πŸ˜› I am pretty lazy and that much determination for something other than work is difficult to get. Congrats!!! πŸ™‚


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