Monday, January 20, 2014

The day I ran!!

The day I ran!  - Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2014

- Mohnish Nair

Oh what an exhilarating experience it was!!!

Bands electrifying the atmosphere with war-cry music, a sea of people dressed in different hues of determination, Loudspeakers filling the air with upbeat bollywood numbers, people wearing jerseys and banners from different organizations - profit and non-profit, Bollywood stars like John abraham, Juhi chawla waving at the super charged crowd, the who's who of politics encouraging their junta, the Nip in the Mumbai morning air, well built men and women getting ready to race and then of course there was me. An over sized 30 year old soaking in the atmosphere and overwhelmed about the fact that I am finally going to participate today in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2014.

Ever since I remember from my childhood days, I have always been extremely bad at sports especially running. I would trip and fall on my face every time I tried to run. I would be laughed at and teased by my school mates and that left a huge dent on my confidence. I always had an excuse saying I have flat feet, hence I cant run. And every time I saw someone running or winning a race I would feel inadequate. I spent my whole childhood feeling weak about my running abilities. And then years passed by and as it happens to every middle class Indian, I got busy earning a bread. The Mumbai Marathon, I suppose, started in the year 2004 and there was a huge excitement about it all over the Media. I wanted to be part of it. I was 21 at that time. Somehow I never gathered the courage to participate as I feared of making a fool of myself publicly. But this time I wanted to experience what it feels to get out of ones comfort zone, I enrolled myself in august of 2013 and then ensured that I would at least walk if not run on the D-day. I just wanted to test what I am really made up of. I practiced walking fast twice a week, took up cycling to strengthen my weak calves, and slowly but steadily built courage over a period of 2 months to publicly test my abilities. 

On 19th of Jan 2014, the year of BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG, It was time to put myself to test and what a liberating feeling that was. I participated in the 6 Km dream run. Initially as the race began, it was almost a slow motion walkathon because of the huge crowd. It was amazing to see so many mumbaikars ready to run on a lazy sunday morning. That sight was really inspiring. I walked for about a km and then slowly as I progressed, the crowd seemed to get lesser and the roads were inviting me with open arms to try out what I always dreaded. What a feeling it was to run on the celebrated Marine Drive. It was simply spellbinding. I started to jog and slowly gained pace. I would reduce and increase my speed every 50 mtrs and before I could realize I was flying past the 2 km mark. In between I was also walking to lower my exhaustion. And honestly speaking I remember nothing after that about the race. Before I knew what happened I was at the 5 km mark and completely drained out. Many fellow runners took a break on the promenade to soak in the sea breeze and that was a tempting offer. I was exhausted, my legs had gone sore and I felt I couldn't do more. I wanted to quit. And then I saw this gentleman wearing a prosthetic leg moving ahead of me. That moment is unforgettable and I think something changed in me permanently after that visual. I decided to continue. I said to myself, "If he can then why cant I?" and so I gave myself a huge motivational talk in my head of how important it is for me to complete this race. Sissy thoughts like "Participation is more important than completion" were thrown out of the window and I started visualizing myself crossing the finish line. And guess what? In about 6-7 mins, I was zooming past the finish line. They say you should never give up because you never know how close you could be to your goal. I completed the 6 km marathon in flat 45 mins. Nothing great to brag about, right? No sir, because in my mind, with all the complexes I had built about running, this was a BIG DEAL FOR ME! I was feeling like Usain bolt. It was an emotional moment for me and it was surreal. I can’t forget this day and I now know for a fact that I CAN RUN!!Next stop 21km – half marathon 2015!