After more than 10 failed attempts at quitting smoking, my fitness level was probably at its lowest ever. Smoking was the easiest go to stress-buster when the work load is too high and timelines are always hard to achieve. Though I could always resist myself from smoking for days in continuation but then one fine day the work load will be so high that you want a sudden relief from all these and reach out for a smoke. On an average I was easily smoking 3-4 packets a week(This was a packet a day before 2015).
I understood this can’t continue for ever, so I wanted to get into some sports, tried my hand into going to gym, sometimes weekend cricket with friends but they are hard to form a daily routine because of dependencies. I wanted to try something which I could persist for a long term. June 2018, when I thought of trying to run atleast 3 times a week. without any distance or long term goal. Only promise to myself was lets try for 3 times a week and see how it goes. First few days were horrible, had to stop 3 times in finishing a kilometer. After 2 weeks I was able to complete 1 km without stopping. Some day’s I would go in the evening, some days in the morning. Timing didn’t mattered, all I was focusing was ensuring the 3 times/week goal. After run legs used to pain like hell. I read lot of online articles how to reduce pain, and used to try them. Some stretchings, and sometimes keeping the leg resting on a wall to let the blood flow happen. These were working, but I had to apply those instant pain relief sprays almost every day before sleeping. My wife was getting frustrated with the smell of the sprays.
By the 5th week, I started enjoying this. I kept the total distance in a day to 3/4km in first 2 months. Then maintained 5km distance in 3rd and 4th. Only once in every two weeks I would push for 10km run. Those *long runs used to make me feel amazingly high. I stopped falling back on the cigarettes for the stress bust. Running makes you hate smoking. You just can’t let the smoke inside, your lungs repel the smoke. This feeling was so liberating.
Second and 3rd Month I continued to grind the distance. Monthly average mileage was at almost 100km from October’18 onwards. I started posting my runs on my close friends groups. And people also started to join in some of those runs. November 2018, motivated by Ashu, I registered for my first half marathon(Mid Night Marathon). I was so nervous about the run. I had never run more than 10 km before the race. So many thoughts going in the brain. Like, will my lungs blast if I continue to run for so long? Went on the race day with the target to be happy with my run if I just finish. And will be happiest if I finish it under 2hour 28min(i.e 7min/km pace).
Came the race night, The race was 4 loops each 5.25km long. I kept pushing, and the weather was amazingly cool, and the ambience was fantastic. I still have no clue what happened that day, i finished the run in 2hr 1min. I was so shocked that i double checked if i did 4 loops or hallucinating that i stopped at 3 loops thinking 4 loops. My mobile app showed i had completed 21km, and was relieved.
From then on, running has been part of life.