Friday, October 31, 2008

How I became an ASHA runner

"Its 7.30 in the morning, and why on Earth am I here", I wondered as I made my way to the Vibha 5K about a month ago. My friend, Charanya, asked me if I wanted to tag along since she was going to cheer on her fellow ASHA runners. The lack of things to do and my stamina curiosity led me to the race. So there I was- no training and with no idea about how to pace myself. I streamrolled the first 2 miles, like someone had a rocket behind me and then I realized it wasn't a sprint it was 5K! I slowed down for a little bit, then picked up pace again only to finish my first ever race in good time. Somewhere in that run I think I felt that "Runner's high". It left me wanting more.

5K now seemed trivial, so I signed up for IBM 10K thanks to another suggestion from Cha. This was totally new territory, double of what I had previously conquered. I kept doubting myself, I told her I don't think I would be able to do it. I told myself I will give it a shot and see what happens. My aim was to try to finish under 60 minutes. I have to point out that I used to be a short distance sprinter, so slowing down is not in my nature. But I knew that the only way I would be able to do this would be by pacing myself. So I found myself a running buddy on race day, Phanni (another ASHA runner). I kept pace with him for the first 2 miles, once I felt comfortable I took off. I found the runners "second wind" and before I knew it I was closing in on the distance. I learned my lesson, I intentionally paced myself this time. I finished the race, and again in good time. Having a stopwatch helped me immensely, I matched the time to the milestone markers to monitor myself.

And again I was hungry for more. I was in quicksand, I wanted to see if I could do more. I had once told Cha that if I can one day do 8 miles then I will sign up for ASHA. And I got my shot. Last weekend I went to the Rogue long run with Cha, Sha, and Arv. "We have a choice between the 7 mile loop and the 9 mile loop, which one do you want to run", they asked me. I jumped at the 9 mile loop knowing very well that I had Arv and Phanni to help me through it. I struggled through the first 3-4 miles (partially due to the alcohol from the previous night), the water stops helped immensely. At the 6 mile mark I tried the "goo" shot. Believe me when I tell you that it completely energized me and helped me get through the distance. I reached Rogue and that was when I knew that I could do the half marathon. I was sore, my ITB's needed a stretch but I had made it through.

So that's my story. That's how I got sucked in. I feel the need for more, I keep slipping deeper into that quicksand. I am now signed up for team ASHA, I will be running the New Orleans Mardi Gras Half Marathon (for sure) and maybe the Austin Half (Adventurous, I know) too. My training barriers- my cricket commitments and my dodgy ITBs :). I look forward to running with you all. If you see a crazy dude with shades running like a headless chicken then you know its me! :)

Go team ASHA!


Charanya said...

Don't think of it as a quicksand Vishy! Think of it as a mountain that you're trying to're already 3/4s way up there...just a little more to go...and meanwhile...lots of fun to be had!

Welcome to Team Asha! Glad that I was able to influence your entry! :p

Sharanya said...

Vishi, thrilled that you've signed on! You been running really strong, and I'm glad you're taking up the opportunity to support a good cause while you're at it. It definitely helps to have running buddies, and it's great that you've found some already. Good to have you onboard! We'll support you all the way. :)