Running and Solitude Are My Best Friends

“I only run when I am inspired. Luckily I am inspired everyday, more or less ;).” __Madhav SBSS

I love running. In my 10th Grade, in a nail-biting cricket match, I got out early but I helped my team win the match by becoming a by-runner for the last batsman. I ran between the lines like crazy, as if my feet were on fire, we won the match. In my XI and XII grades, I ran barefoot and competed with my arch rival (who wore spikes) and won the 100m and 200m races.

Growing up, sprinting was something I enjoyed a lot. However, I completely let it slip from my routine for 16 years. When I was at MIT, a classmate of mine mentioned that he completed a Marathon run. My ears perked up as I heard the word “running” and then I got curious about Marathons. I had no clue what a Marathon was. I did a little bit of research and found that Marathons are these long 26.2 mile running events. It sounded challenging and fun to do, I wanted to run one. I thought, if my friend could do it I could do it too.

It took 2 years for that thought to become action. In December of 2004, I searched for the upcoming marathons in the Boston area. I came across KeyBank Marathon in Vermont. My Dad had died of Brain stroke in 2002. I wanted to do some good in that space. I looked up American Stroke Association and found out that they were running as a team in the KeyBank Marathon. I attended a meeting organized by the ASA to register for the run.

My wife and daughter were in India at that time and that helped a lot in jumping off this cliff and building the wings on the way down. At the end of the meeting they said, pay $100 non-refundable registration fee, if you decide to run, this fee will count towards your fund raiser. I thought to myself, if I sign-up now and dropout later, I may lose $100 but if I don’t sign-up now and go home to ponder, I may never sign-up. I may be richer by $100 but I would feel terrible not taking the chance to run for a cause. I signed up in the hopes that I will work hard to complete the long run. At that point I was terrified because I wasn’t sure if I could raise the committed $3500 funds and run the 26.2 miles without hurting myself.

KeyBank Vermont Marathon

I had a brief coaching session from the ASA trainer. He gave me a training packet with good information on diet, running schedule etc. I used to run every other day. Since it was winter and roads were filled with snow piles, I took membership in Ballys fitness club that had an indoor running track. The track was just a 200 meters long loop. I recall running my first mile in six and half minutes and feeling exhausted, dejected and close to throwing up. Next day on, I paced myself at 12 minutes per mile. There were many evenings when I was the last one in the fitness center running like a madman, when I got closer to the race date I used to run 150 rounds on the 200 meters track to complete my practice. I felt dizzy at times but it was fun.

After KeyBank I used to run on and off with breaks every few days. I then set another goal to run the most prestigious Marathon in the world. The Boston Marathon. I practiced for it, signed up with Dana-Farber Cancer Research to raise funds for them while also fulfilling my dream of running the Boston Marathon. In 2009, I completed the Boston Marathon. I stopped running after that for a few months. I signed up for Boston 10k and Boston half Marathon in 2010 just to get back on the track. I realized that I love running, but running loves me more!

My complete recount of the Boston Marathon is here in the original writeup from 2009.

For the past 2 years I have been running 3 miles a day, 6 days a week. Simple, no nonsense routine and I look forward to it every morning. On Sundays when I don’t run, I feel strange.

Running Marathons was just a pretext to have more of what I love, running and solitude, my best friends.

I enjoyed Illayaraja’s soothing violin during my Boston Marathon, you can listen to it here

I was able to carry my ipod using this nice little running gear, it was a gift from one of my good friends. The Under Armor gear helped with the sweat and protecting my body from getting too many blisters. GU Energy Gels are a godsend when you are running up against the heartbreak hill.

A pair of good running shoes and I totally recommend Asics Gel, which I used on both my Marathons, are a must.

Lastly, I could have never run the Marathons without the love and support of my family and wonderful friends in Boston who came to cheer through the course.