100 m to 100 km

the making of an ultra runner…

As I crossed the 100 km mark after about 17 hours and 21 minutes, around 9:30 PM on Sunday the 22nd November, 2020, to the roaring cheer and applause of my running mates and their families, I felt elated, relieved, accomplished, thrilled, excited, joyful and above all a deep sense of gratitude and love with utter disbelief! A sea of emotions and memories flew past my mind in a flash traversing my 7 years of running experience.

I still vividly remember huffing and puffing after less than 100 meters of attempted running on a May morning in 2013. My friend Prasad was a regular runner and one day I told him I’d also like to join him and try my hand on some fitness as I was over 90 kg heavy and had shock of my life when I couldn’t run up to my office the previous week in order to urgently get something that I had left behind. I lost all hope of running any further – the voice in the head said, ‘if you couldn’t manage 100 meters of running comfortably, what’s the point!’ Nevertheless, Prasad encouraged and I went with him once in a while to walk around the Race Course circuit. I used to take 55 minutes to cover two rounds of the 2.5 km stretch. Still I kept going, as I had company. To my surprise I found that I was getting comfortable with running and even started liking it. But after a few weeks, Prasad had a knee injury and couldn’t continue running and so I too stopped. But somehow I wanted to pursue, and almost after a year, he introduced me to the Race Course Chapter of Coimbatore Runners. By then my pace had improved to completing two rounds of Race Course – 5 km – in 35 minutes.

With the constant encouragement and disciplined running routines of Ramesh (Tiger), Nithya, Shanmugaraj, JP, Valliappan and Veeshal I kept running longer distances and in December 2013 I registered for the 25 km run at the Bangalore Ultra. It was out of sheer excitement of running in a trail in the cool climes of Bangalore. Completed the 25 km in under 3 hours and felt great. That gave confidence to register for the Coimbatore Marathon in 2014. Just a month before my knee started hurting. That was the first, and thankfully for the last, time I experienced an injury. Still ran the Coimbatore Marathon with a knee grip in under 3 hours with tremendous pain and agony. That day I resolved my motto as ‘run for fun, without injury’. And thank God, I continue to do it till date, thanks to my incredibly cooperating body.

That was the turning point in my running life and there was no turning back. In 2016 I ran my first Marathon at Auroville, in their characteristic red soil trails and finished in about 6 hours. Several marathons and half marathons followed, dotted by some 30 km runs in the hill stations of Ooty and Yercaud. If running in the hot, sunny and humid conditions of Singapore was horrifying, it was no less running my two marathons in Mumbai and Hyderabad each. Each was a test of my limits.

The Anchor

My key turning point in running came in 2017 when I noticed on FB a guy named Arunan who was posting regularly his running stories with his photogenic pictures depicting the varied interesting settings in which he ran – over 100 days without missing a day – sometimes closer to midnight just to finish the day’s run before Cinderella’s clock struck 12. This intrigued and inspired me and a new challenge emerged. Little did I realise then that it was also the beginning of a significant relationship, both on and off the road. Arunan soon emerged as my personal guide, mentor and advisor on all running matters. He always had a practical tip, cryptic instruction, wise advice or a well researched recommendation to any question I pose to him. It varied from focussing on strengthening the core, increasing the cadence, interval training, stabilising the heart rate to what shoe to buy, how much hydration to take and which event to register. He always had an answer, not readymade, but totally attuned to my specific temperament and idiosyncrasy. He is my go-to person for any of my running and fitness related matters. He is a perennial optimist and level headed motivator. Having him in my corner is a huge boost to my confidence and possibilities. In due course we turned out to be personal besties and emotional anchors to each other, was a life-enhancing coincidence.

I resolved to do the Hundred Days of Running (HDOR) challenge the following year, and I did. It was a challenging yet cool experience running every day and sharing the success stories with my running friends. Since then I have successfully completed 3 HDOR challenges in a row under interesting circumstances. In 2019 I was on a road trip for 22 days, covering about 9 states and 16 cities during that period. Running in all conditions, during different times during the day and night was awesome! It even felt weird at times. But not as weird as the previous year when I had been to Kailash Mansarovar during the HDOR days and I ran at the 12000 feet altitude of Mansarovar and the 16000 feet altitude of Kailash Parikrama. That was a surreal and unforgettable experience. Not to mention running in the rains on my 50th birthday during that trip in Syaburbeshi – a decrepit border village in Nepal. Each run only increased my stamina and endurance and bolstered my interest in and love for running.

Milestones

By 2018, under the repeated advice from Arunan, started looking for a fitness coach to train us on strengthening our core. We hit upon a jackpot in the form of Sowmiya, who is a real tough task master. She graciously yet firmly made sure we all sweated out profusely and got returns worth every rupee we paid. Most sessions were gruelling and ruthless. Yet we persisted and prevailed in spite of our groans and moans. Strengthening the core contributed significantly in improving my running gait and eventually the increased pace.

Setting a time or outcome bound goal helped right through. I had my breakthrough dream run in 2018 Bengaluru Marathon, shortly after my first HDOR challenge and core sessions – which brought down my marathon time by 1 hour 10 min where I clocked under 5 hours for the 42.2 km, in the cool and salubrious climate. I thought I had reached my pinnacle and that I did not want to push anymore. Little did I realise then that it was only the beginning of many more personal bests to follow.

Fast forward to May 2020 and the lockdown that followed the onset of the now infamous Covid-19 pandemic. While we all were forcibly bound to our homes and running was impossible, I started focusing on whatever could be done to stay fit, indoors – literally confined to the 4 walls of my study. I enrolled for yoga sessions. Did Yogasanas and pranayama regularly for months. Undertook intermittent fasting, inspired by Rodney, a fellow Singai Singam. It started with a 12 hour fasting window and gradually went up to 19 hours and stayed that way for few months. By that time, inspired by Santhosh, enrolled with Fittr coach Dayanand and started a new high protein-low carb diet along with regular strength training. With gyms closed, started with home weights and gradually past one month started going to the gym. Meanwhile, I also got a bicycle and started regular cycling. Began with 5 km per day and graduated to 10 km per day and slowly did a couple of 25 km rides and a 50 km ride. Coincidentally after HDOR ended, Tour de 100 – a 100 day cycling challenge – came up and I enrolled for the same. To test my endurance and to also gain some cross training, did a 100 km ride and a 125 km ride followed suit. I never realised till then that I enjoyed cycling too! Every bit of conscious fitness choices and the variety of activities contributed significantly to my overall fitness and endurance. Interestingly, when the lockdown was gradually lifted and I could start running within my society campus, I clocked my best 5 km in under 25 minutes, best 10 km in under 55 minutes and my fastest half marathon in under 1:55 hours. I was thrilled!! I was immensely satisfied with my achievements. I thought I can’t aspire for more.

The Mega Run

One fine day in September Ganesh and Senthil approached me if we could do the 100 km Indian Flag Running event. I’m still not sure why they asked ME and not anybody else. I reasoned to myself, maybe because they would’ve thought I’m the maverick who’d jump in to take up any such crazy ideas. Initially I dismissed it and laughed it off. Eventually, I could not resist the temptation. With under 3 months to go, I was hesitant. Checked with Arunan, hoping he would advice me not to attempt. But to my dismay and delight he said ‘yes’. But came along his usual cautious optimism, with several riders like mandatory regular training, proper workouts, diet, hydration etc. The tipping factor was the confidence of having endured over 9 hours on my feet at the Malnad Ultra, just last January. So here I go again, literally chasing yet another seemingly impossible challenge about which I had no clue what was in store.

I’m no big fan of excel sheet training plans. They look good on paper, and am sure works best for many. But my temperament is to go with what my body feels and says on the day. So, I decided to capitalise on all the gains of lockdown work and gave myself an easy but systematic build up plan to the D-Day where we (Ganesh, Senthil and I) are to run 100 km in under 20 hours. I was at the fag end of my third HDOR by then and so added a few half marathons along the way. Even did a hattrick just before HDOR ended and all felt good. Doubt led way to hope. Still confidence was evading. A full marathon followed which gave some boost to the morale, given the ease with which I could finish it. Two weeks before the mega run, went for the big kill… a 60 km run. With some difficulty completed the 60k in about 8:30 hours and that gave confidence for the first time.

Planning

The two weeks leading to the race day was dedicated to planning the event and tapering off running.

A WhatsApp group was formed with all key planners, to which all aiders and pacers were added. It helped in having everyone on the same page and for easy correspondence, realtime.

When the plans were emerging Arunan checked with the Saravanampatti Chapter of Coimbatore Runners for volunteers for aid stations and pacers. The response was immediate and spontaneous. Santhosh put to use his planning experience of the 60 km run and enrolled volunteers from Singai Singams.

This point requires a detour to introduce Santhosh. Two years ago Santhosh joined Singai Singams when he was still in the UK. He had promised he would join us for runs once he’s back home in Coimbatore and he did exactly that. He instantly charmed all our members and infused the group with his bubbling energy and generous heart always available for anything we needed, both on and off the road. While he was working his fitness goals, he also took up all organising responsibilities of our gatherings, outings, tours and trips and never complained. He put to good use his communication and relational skills and became the go-to guy and one-stop shop for all of us on almost anything, right from reference for a hotel to planning a weekend run, from organising the core sessions to getting a whole anniversary trip organised. The gentle giant was ever available with his characteristic smile and conspicuous presence and made sure he made time whenever we needed. We forged a close bond as friends not only in supporting each other in running, but also in life at large.

Back to planning the 100 km run, each and every friends of both Singanallur and Saravanampatti chapters of Coimbatore Runners came forward wilfully with lots of gusto and enthusiasm. They defined their roles, organised themselves and fit into the jigsaw perfectly. Each one took ownership and jumped in as and when needed and stayed flexible true to the mission. The whole process went about like a well oiled machinery. Or more so like a well orchestrated symphony or play. Each actor entered the stage at the right time, did their part of the act and left gracefully at the right point. Each instrument was played at the right time, to the right note and gave way to the next. The whole event was conducted seemingly effortlessly by Santhosh and Arunan. Hari was the master planner of the route. He even rode with me the week before on a recce of the probable routes before finalising. His mastery in looking at various environmental factors in deciding the route was fantastic.

We wanted a route that would be easy on us by avoiding monotony of repeat loops to the extent possible and the harsh sun on our face in the morning. We wanted a shaded canopy for the second half when the sun was at its peak, to beat the heat. Thus we decided to take the Highway upto Eachanari to begin with and do the city roads with canopy of trees for the afternoon session. The effect turned out to be perfect at the end. Hari was there almost till the end to suggest tweaking the route as we were covering the last quarter of the distance.

I could only think of the metaphor of childbirth. Hari, Arunan and Santhosh conceived, other running friends acted like supporting midwives, and finally we three delivered successfully, needless to say, with long hours of labour!

Friends in Need

The significance of the role of our friends who came to provide hydration and food to us all along the way and those who paced us for varied distances through out the day cannot be overstated. All acted like a true leaderless high performance team with each one assuming leadership and initiative at the right time.

Prabhakaran and Sumithra waited for us near Eachanari with refreshments and water. They came with us up to the Trichy Road junction stopping at strategic points to hydrate ourselves. Devaraj cycled alongside us for most part of the bypass road, with his regular lemon juice with saaaalt! Rodney and Shankar came with their home made egg sandwiches and pongal and several other snacks and sport drinks. Pavithra came near Decathlon with her father and kids with yummy lemon juice and ragi idli-sambar. Suresh came, as usual, with his fruit basket, and all other nutritious goodies. He met us near Codissia.

Moving to VOC park, after an arduous stretch in the hot sun, around noon, we had wholesome lunch by Ponmalar, Vasanth and Girija. Sandwiches and curd upma have never tasted so good! After a long 45 minutes break, Arunan and Hari took full charge of us and we inched towards Bharathi Park. Our aid station was set up by Hari and Deepak strategically between the two Bharathi Park main roads. After every loop of about 4 km we were treated by ever flowing supply of oranges, sweets, lemon, salt, lemon juice, tender coconut, biscuits and so on. Venkatesan Sir, the patron saint of Saibaba Colony chapter personally saw that we were not in short of any support. Latha came with ice packs, ice water and towels to give us the much needed massage and pain relief. Vidya, Suresh and Manju were there to cheer us up and support us with hydration.

And when we returned to Race Course to finish the run, Prabhakar and his family waited with more goodies. Ponmalar and family brought yummy Sundal. Mani and family brought ice cream and Pavithra came with delicious mushroom soup. In effect, after 100 km and close to 18 hours of running and burning about 8000 calories, I had not shed even an ounce of weight. Such was the treat through out the day.

While our friends fed our body, what still remains is the fondness and the unconditional love with which they offered themselves that day. It was the biggest gift to me that day. Of course, the run by itself was rewarding. But what infuse life and meaning into it was the sea of friendship and bonhomie that we swam in that day. The timely and thoughtful support from each of them was uncanny. The gratitude I feel for them is immeasurable.

Pacers – the Guardian Angels

We decided to cover the whole distance through interval running – 750 meters of run followed by 250 meters walk. This helped us regain energy and also maintain our heart rate within safe and comfortable limits. We tried this during our 60 km trial run and it worked like magic.

Kathir, Mani and Santhosh joined us from the Start point at 4 AM and ran with us for 42, 56 and 42 km respectively. Thirupathi and Rodney ran 10 km with us, up to Ukkadam. Praveen ran with us in small segments on the L&T bypass road.

Vijay joined afternoon and ran back and forth to keep up with our slow pace and finished more than 30 km. Ramesh, Hari and Arunan joined us from VOC to run about 15-21 km each and eventually they each ran a full marathon by the end. Anush joined at SBC and paced Senthil till the end. Suresh, Chellamuthu and Thena joined at SBC and Thena ran his longest – 25 km – running with us till the finish. Praveen and Ramesh Kumar joined us at Race Course and saw that we finished comfortably.

The pacers not only gave us company but also constantly monitored us and provided with timely advice and support in terms of required breaks, or changing pace or pep talk when spirits plummeted. But for them, I doubt if we would have completed so comfortably.

Praveen needs a special mention for the indelible mark he has left on me with his silent yet powerful presence through out the day. He came with Gopi and Jesheer at 4 to the Start point and the trio never left our side till we finished the run past 9 that night, all of the 18 hours. They followed us in their car every step of our way. They came to our rescue whenever we wanted something to drink, eat or a spray. They took charge of the camera as well and clicked pictures and recorded videos through the day. Their commitment and dedication is worthy of emulation. I find it hard to fathom their spirit of giving, just for the pleasure of it. Hearty salute to Praveen, Gopi and Jesheer!

The Run

On Saturday the 21st, the eve of the race day, I had packed up everything needed for the run and went to bed early by 8. As expected, sleep was eluding and in about an hour I must have gone to sleep. The light sleeper I was coupled with the excitement and anxiety of such a goal looming large, I could not sleep beyond 1:30 AM. Some how spent the next 2 hours tossing and turning and woke up before the alarm went off at 3. Got ready and was out at the start near the Purva main gate. Senthil was already waiting there, and slowly one by one began to gather. Vasanth and Ponmalar, Prabhakar and Sumithra, and came Santhosh. Kathir joined shortly and finally Ganesh arrived.

It was 4:00 AM and we started the run after a group huddle. The weather was perfect – cool and dry with a mild breeze. As we turned right on Trichy Road the reality sank in and the thought that we had the whole day to be on our feet was all pervading my mind. We went past Uzhavar Santhai where Rodney and Thirupathi joined us. Shortly afterwards Mani joined us, being picked up at Purva and dropped there by Ponmalar and Vasanth. The run continued through the dark busy stretch along the flyover under construction. It was a real rough patch that tested our patience. No street lights and the road was uneven with potholes and undulations. My head light was the only bit of light to guide us, which was insufficient for the contingent which was running in 3 different paces. Unfortunately, Rodney had a fall and mildly injured his knees and palms. We still resumed our run turning left at Sungam towards the Ukkadam bypass road. With Valankulam to our right, it was a breeze covering that segment quickly and a sudden detour took us through the newly built waterfront on the road taking us to the Trichy Road. We traced back to the bypass road and ascended the Ukkadam flyover which was well lit with its reflection glistening on the still waters of Valankulam. Coimbatore never looked that beautiful. When we reached Ukkadam, Rodney and Thirupathi took leave and began their return. After a short water break we continued towards Athuppalam, turning left at the Ukkadam junction.

The newly laid road under the new flyover under construction took us to Karumbukadai and Athuppalam. There on, turning further left we entered the Pollachi Road. Our steps were steady and Ganesh kept tab of our run-walk sequence. We ascended the slop to the Kurichi Kulam tank bund and kept running south wards towards Kurichi, SIDCO Industrial Estate and very soon we were atop the Eachanari railway gate flyover. As we neared the Eachanari Temple, we heard from Prabhakar that he had already reached. We took our first main break there and after virtually saying hello to Eachanari Pillayar, who had not yet opened his doors for Darshan, we continued straight and just before turning left on to L&T bypass had a beautiful sight of the sun rising in the horizon in the backdrop of palm and coconut trees. As we turned left and approached the toll gate it was 6:20 and the sun had risen. We unfurled the Indian flag and started running with he flag. The sense of pride and the joy of running gave an extra push and we crossed the toll gate and ran past till we reached the highway joint Foodie Buddy. After a short break there, we continued further and went up and down the rolling terrain till we reached RHR Hotel near Trichy Road junction. The run was comfortable, our feet were fine and intact and we had covered 32 km by then.

I felt a slight irritation in my right foot and sensed I might develop blisters if I pursued the same way. So I put on some vaseline to my feet and added another sock and felt my feet well padded and ready for rest of the day. The thought that we were closer to the 1/3 of the distance was a great feeling. I was not sure if I should eat breakfast or stick to liquids and fruits. I never eat hard food during runs. Not even during my 9+ hours in Malnad Ultra I. But I heard many friends like Ganesh and Pratheep say that when we run Ultras we need to eat food for the energy. So in spite of not having prior experience, I trusted these seasoned runners and decided to eat reasonably at regular intervals. After some sandwiches, pongal and sport drink for breakfast, we walked till the second toll gate past the Irugur junction and then resumed the run. My feet were feeling good and all fellow runners were also doing well. The sun had come out in full glory. Still the cool breeze and dry air made it fine for us to run without much sweat or tiredness.

Our next break was near Sri Sakthi College. We didn’t take much time there and quickly resumed running. As we approached Neelambur toll gate we started feeling the brunt of the sun. But the thought that we will turn left on Avinashi Road towards Coimbatore city leaving the sun behind us was some consolation and we trodded on. As we went past Neelambur, I suddenly found a familiar figure jogging in fatigue behind us, staring over his mobile phone. In close observation I realised it was Sandeep my brother-in-law. He had said that he wanted to join us for some time that morning and I was wondering why I never heard from him. But I was shocked beyond disbelief that he had started at 5:30 AM from Avinashi all by himself and had run solo for over 30 km by the time he caught up with us near Neelambur. I was deeply moved by his determination and conviction to support us. He continued with us for 5 more km before we picked up pace and went ahead. He later returned to Avinashi after 36 km. It was good to see my sister on the way capturing us on video before she picked up Sandeep to go back home.

We realised we were already over an hour behind our schedule, mainly due to the hot sun, terrible traffic on Avinashi Road and the unexpectedly long breakfast breaks. As we neared Decathlon, tiredness set in and we needed something refreshing. Pavithra’s sweet and salt lemon juice was saving grace. After Ganesh having his idli and sambar, we continued the run, bidding adieu to Santhosh and Kathir who had finished their marathon there. We inched ahead in the hot sun. Traffic and the Sunday morning crowd on the road was heavy and made the run all the more tougher with he noise, dust and disruption. Interestingly, near Chinniyampalayam police men asked me if we were running a marathon and what was it about etc. After I assured them that we were only running our usual Sunday runs, they let us go. The run became harder as the sun kept rising up. Meanwhile, Vijay joined us and Mani took leave. Thankfully the air was dry and there was some cool breeze. So sweat was not much and so we could continue our 750/250 interval pattern without much difficulty. We took couple more breaks near Codissia and Peelamedu and were craving to reach our lunch point at VOC Grounds. Around 1 PM we reached VOC Park and took a long break for lunch. Arunan, Hari, Ramesh, Deepak and Thena from Saravanampatti joined us there. After a filling and tasty lunch, we ran around the Stadium twice, took a bio-break and continued through Aadis Street and reached the Avinashi Road flyover. Went past the under pass, took right and joined the Brookfields Road. The traffic congestion was maddening and with no pedestrian path, we meandered through that traffic past the two traffic signals, Brookfields Mall and reached the Chintamani junction. In spite of the mad rush, we managed to stop for selfies in front of the mall.

The very thought that we were close to Cowly Brown Road where the loop of canopied roads would begin was a welcoming relief. When we entered Cowly Brown Road, we realised the shade was not as much as we expected and still we went through it up to Thadagam Road Junction and went past GCT and entered Bharathi Park Road 1, which was also not great with shade as there were trees only on one side of that road. So, with Hari’s advice, we changed our plans to do only partial loops of Bharathi Park Road 2 and Alagesan Road which were beautifully covered with tree shades through out. By then we were well past the half way mark having covered about 65 km. With just 1/3 of the distance remaining and with over 5 hours to our self-imposed target, we were very hopeful of reaching the goal. That is when we also entered the uncharted territory as none of us had run beyond 60 km till then.

The Last Frontier
Slowly, one by one we started feeling the strain of the exertion on our bodies. My right knee started hurting. Ganesh did not have much of a difficulty except general fatigue and strained ankle, but Senthil found it hard to manage. To our shock we realised he had not eaten anything nor had he taken any electrolytes all through the day. After the first loop on the circuit we all needed some real stretching. Our friends were really available to make us lie down road side and massage and stretch our feet completely. We were reminded of the pit stop in car races. Venkatesan Sir was coordinating the aid along with SBC chapter friends. Latha had brought ice packs which made a huge difference and gave us the impetus to get up and run with renewed vigour. Hari and Deepak had a well stocked aid station and we made the best of it. After every two km, my knee kept hurting and I told Arunan, I’ll need to take the pain relieving spray as the pain was getting more intense with every step. He and Ramesh realised I needed them more and so they stretched their runs, even though they had decided to only run about 15 or 21 km. They both kept pace with me and whenever I slowed down to walking, they gently coaxed me and nudged me to double up and push a little harder to keep the momentum. Their commitment and dedication to keep me going was outstanding.

Meanwhile, Hari, Thena and Suresh helped Ganesh keep pace, while Anush was literally babysitting Senthil who needed undivided attention all the way through with frequent massages, hydration and pep talk. All these pacers kept at it patiently and before we knew, we had touched 85 km. At one pint we thought if we could finish the whole run there. But running in loops got monotonous and so before boredom set in we wanted to move out of the circuit and enter the last phase of our run. It was about 7 PM and we returned via Brookfields Road and the Avinashi flyover to enter Race Course, through Collector Office. The stretch was painful with my knee and ankle hurting badly and the pain exasperated with the blinding headlights of the traffic and the poor polluted dense air and heat. We somehow managed to go past that rough patch and entered into our familiar territory, the mother chapter to most of us, the Race Course. But the stretch was also bad due to patch work on the road and insufficient lighting. We decided to run most of the remaining 12 km around Race Course and not in it. Seeing 88 on my Garmin was thrilling and the finish point was now very much within reach.

On reaching the IT Office on Race Course, I was happy to see Mohan and family waiting along with several running friends and their families. After a short hydration break there, we resumed the run. With every step, the pain increased. Surprisingly I did not feel the pain in my muscles, nor were the muscles fatigued which is common even during a marathon. My heart rate was very within normal limits of 140 bpm and energy level was also high. The only glitch was the nagging knee and ankle. After passing through Nirmala College, Damu Nagar and INS Agrani, we reached Zone on Avinashi Road and sat for a break. After sitting for a few minutes, it felt like, the last 3 km was too far. All muscles had to be reactivated and it was the most painful moment. At that point Arunan and Ramesh came up with a brilliant idea of interval run-walk in periods of 3:2 minutes. While it was feeling bit comfortable to begin with, soon it also became a labour, as the pain in the knee and ankle went down to the nerves along the right toe stretching up to the heel. It kept pulling intermittently and that made me walk most part of the last 2 km. As we were getting closer, Ganesh was almost there and we cheered him up to sprint up and finish powerfully. I could see him saddle up and cross the finish to a rousing welcome from our friends. And now it was my turn to double up for the final 500 meters. I sprayed all the pain spray I needed and gathered up all my energy and took a deep breath and increased my pace to a sprint and ran through the final stretch strongly. Arunan always used to say ‘finish strong!’ and here I did exactly that!

Mission accomplished! The long arduous day was behind me and so was the 100 km. The pain had drowned amidst all the applause, cheer, hoots, hugs, hand shakes and fist bumps. Senthil followed soon in about 40 minutes and finished with a beaming smile and fast sprint in spite of all the painful bouts he went through. We did it! And nothing else mattered.

Medals were presented, photos taken, wishes exchanged, goodbyes were bid and a dream fulfilled! Left with wondering… ‘what next?’

Lessons Learnt

“I learn something significant from all life experiences!” Susan Jeffers

It’s hard to summarise the experience of having graduated from struggling to run 100 m to comfortably scaling 100 km. The experiences are multi dimensional and to put it in a linear list of lessons would be unfair. My ABCs of what I learnt from my few years with running…

Ask for help and support

Breathe comfortably

Care for fellow runners

Discipline to be regular

Enjoy every step

Face new challenges

Finish strong

Grow at your pace

Have fun

Hydrate sufficiently

Is this the right gear for you?

Join a running club

Know your limits

Listen to your body

Learn continuously

Mind what you eat

Notice your gait, posture and landing

One step at a time

Push your boundaries

Question the myths

Rest adequately

Sleep enough

Stretch well

Set up goals

Trust those who have been there before

Trust your instincts

Try various strategies

Understand the basics

Value your gifts – healthy body and sound mind

Work on the core

Xceed your expectations

You are your benchmark and competition

Zest at the finish line!