No Lights, no makeup, no duplicate, no retake, only raw action. This is the story of years of dust, sweat, pain and tears, and above all the story of victory over the aim despite all possible odds. Born in 1956, I started running very late at the age of 47 years in the year 2003, I have sixteen Uttarakhand State Athletic Championships and twenty-six state medals under my belt. In the year 2016, I graduated to half marathons. Oh! I forgot to tell you that I got an injury during one of my routine training sessions and, developed an acute Achilles tendinitis in my left ankle during 2017. This injury left me completely shattered, but I did not stop there and continued with my training sessions. Even after crape bandaging my left ankle, taking even a single step was extremely painful for months to come.
Younger athletes in the stadium where I used to train myself would laugh and comment on me “Stop running uncle you are just punishing yourself, you are too old to run, just sit in the pavilion and watch us”. Each sarcastic comment made me stronger and stronger, but all the time, I kept wondering whether my running career had come to an end so abruptly. However, I did not lose heart and limped during training sessions and in the events for thirty long months. Running for me is still extremely painful, but I have faith in God. It is during this period that I took up cycling as cross-training.
Then came HDOR to my rescue, I signed up for 100 Days of Running 3rd edition on the pretext that somehow, I would manage 2 km per day, and even if, I trail behind and come the last nobody will come to know. I ended up running 99/100 days in 3rd edition. Encouraged and motivated, I again signed up for 4th and 5th edition of HDOR and proudly finished 100/100 during both the editions. I am already dying to sign up for the 6th edition. HDOR has given an amoral boost.
Courtesy HDOR, running regularly gave me so much confidence, strength and stamina that I created two Indian Records with India Book of Records during 2019, one for participating in a 10 km marathon with my daughter and her son. As my grandson was just over one and a half year, I and my daughter pushed him all the way in the baby stroller and finished the 10K marathon within in cut-off time. The second record was also created in 2019, for covering 7728 stairs which is equal to covering 392 floors non-stop in less than 100 minutes.
My inspiration is my ninety-five-year-old father, who despite his old age is very active, does exercise cycling and stretching exercises for more than three hours daily without fail. Whenever I am too occupied or tired or sick, I try to push myself saying that if my ninety-five-year-old father can do it, I can also do it as well.
I am my own biggest critique; I analyze my every run over Strava and try to find out if there is a scope of improvement or where I committed the mistakes. Whenever I fail which I mostly do, I am the one who scolds my own self; because when I win, there is everybody to praise and applaud, but when I fail my family and friends sympathize with me due to my old age. I am my own very tough taskmaster who is best at stretching my limits, be it freezing winters, scorching summers or drenching rains.
Yog and Pranayama are a daily must for me, I practice both regularly and without fail every day of the year, since 2006, it gives me immunity and inner strength which is so vital for endurance runs. Running is my domain which, I do in the morning, cycling being my cross-training event, I do it only when I need recovery from my speed work or endurance sessions. I devote more than three hours in the morning for my fitness. My two-hour evening training sessions are reserved for Yog Asanas, stretching exercises and an occasional workout at my neighbourhood gym. To be honest, many times I have to miss my evening sessions due to family and social commitments, but I never miss my morning sessions.
Who would know better than me the price of injury, in the life of an athlete? As I told you earlier, I injured my Achilles, and developed acute tendonitis in my left ankle in 2017, and suffered for more than thirty months, before I could actually start running once again in January 2020. Still, I am not able to attain my full pace. I am of the opinion that, better be safe than sorry. The best way to avoid injury at an advanced age is to walk/jog/run either on synthetic or clay track or grass track using thick-soled sports shoes. Try to avoid tiled/concrete/ tar pavements, as much as possible. Never start running immediately after reaching the stadium or the venue, always do stretching exercises before leaving home and walk for at least half a kilometre, before starting your run. Similarly, walk half a kilometre after finishing your run and stretch after reaching home.
I am happy to share with all runners and riders that, as per STRAVA, (the world number one GPS based sports tracking authority) I have exceeded One Thousand Days of No Break Running & Cycling, as on 31st December 2019. During these one thousand days, I covered 15,460.2 kilometres of running and cycling spent 1968 hours on track and road during 1944 training sessions. Please check my activities on https://www.strava.com/athletes/19642902