Listen to this article
This story has been submitted by Akshita Chhangani
“It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination.” -John Bingham
The journey from unfit to fit started in 2018 when I realised that I had gained almost 18 kilos after my first job, thanks to my nature of work and eating habits. I had tried yoga, gym, Pilates, and everything which could help me lose some weight—but I guess was not motivating enough to keep going.
I started running in June of that year when I participated in an event where we had to run 3K. Though I thought of it just as fun in the first place, towards the end it was a reality check. It opened my eyes to what I had done to myself. Since then, I started running small distances in my neighbourhood.
As a student, running being a no-cost activity was an add-on for me. For the next two to three months, I ran three to four kilometres on an everyday basis and that gave me the confidence to keep pursuing running in the long term.
And then I came across an Instagram post which changed my life completely
A running event was being organised by @bombayrunning, a local running crew where the participants needed to run 10K every day for 10 days. So basically the goal was 100k in 10 days. I thought why not try this? At first, it seemed like a really big challenge but once it started and the days passed by, I realised it was not just a physical test I had put myself through. It was fighting against the barrier which constantly asked me to give up and that is when you know its a different ball game.
With no judgements on how fast or slow I ran, motivated by fellow runners, I was able to successfully complete the challenge. Even my friends who knew about it started counting the days for me. For the first time, I felt so motivated for something which would cancel my late-nights plan, made me travel distances (literally from Juhu to Marine drive at 4 in the morning), and moreover made me wake up at 3:30 on a Sunday morning, every single week. After that, there was no turning back.
Soon I got hooked to the marathon life
And so I started my training for my first half marathon. In September 2019, I ran my first official half marathon in Panchgani. Since then, I have managed to finish five half marathons and soon plan to train for a marathon.
Running for me became not just a hobby but a lifestyle. Slowly and steadily things started falling into place. My food choices changed and so did my daily routine. I started getting better control over my moods, for running relaxed me and gave me time with myself. It helped me channelize my thoughts and think over issues which needed attention. In a nutshell, it has become my form of meditation.
Even today, I feel the same excitement, same fear when I get on the road but it’s my crew, my fellow runners who are always by my side and keep me going.