Sunday, April 13, 2014

My Experience of Running at Pinkathon 2014 Chennai

Couple of years ago, I started to get involved with lot of running/ trekking activities as part of the Chennai Trekking Club, more as a volunteers.  What started as service during weekends, soon became an addiction.  Without even knowing, slowly I started running.  

Almost after 15 years of IT career that easily added 15+ kgs to my weight, I did not realize that I have already become a couch potato.  With 24*7 work schedules, I hardly gave a thought to fitness forgetting about eating right or running.   But during one of the social treks to Nagala, two young girls gave me the gyan that I needed.  I was their caretaker, and after few meters they started feeling frustrated because I was not able to pace with them.  Thats why they banged the question at me...'Aunty, evalo gunda yeee irukinga...konjam odalamey'.   That when I realized, I am not only losing myself, but also losing the happiness of them at that moment.  Probably I am doing this to my own family and friends, ignoring my own fitness and health.  

Not long after this incident, I happened to visit the family of my deceased friend, and physically as well as emotionally I got drained off.  My lungs bleeded internally making me fight for survival.  Bi-lateral pnemonia plugged me to ICU on life support and made me a frequent visitor to hospitals after that long stint at the hospital where my veins cried in pain of anti biotics.  To me doing any exercises, even to improve my cardio-vascular strength was like a nightmare.  I had to push myself hundred times more than an ordinary person, for my lungs ached in pain even when I walked for 100 meters.  I became more and more fatter.  I could not control the weight because of the long medication.  But, my die hard will did not let me sleep in silence.  I continued volunteering and that gave me immense happiness.  

Slowly but steadily I started running and walking short distances.  In the last one year after that traumatic illness, I participated in more than 7 marathons, running short distances of 5-6 kms, there were times when I registered for 10k and could only do 3 kms.  But I did it. This is my third pinkathon and I participated in the not so popular previous pinkathons as well.  And also the Pink walk for cancer awareness.  I made friends who encouraged me endlessly.  I made friends who inspired me.  I loved watching little 3 year old girls Twin Tigers in the running fraternity of chennai inspiring me with each run of 3 or 5k they completed.  I thought I can atleast be a 3 year old and start again.  

The spirit continued.  I participated in 2 of the last few Dawn to Dusk runs,  Terry Fox runs, Chennai Cycling rallies as volunteer, trekking club activities as a volunteer and also as part of Inner Wheel club of Madras South and Sevai Karangal.   I made loads of friends and created my loads of opportunities where I can give back.  We earn for living and we live life to celebrate giving.   To me Pinkathon was just another great opportunity

I was asked to join the Inner Wheel group, CTC volunteers, Sevai Karangal group brining children from homes to run.  and the invitations from IBM to join the Corporate group was equally inspiring.  Finally when I got selected as one of the handful of people to represent the corporate team with timing chips, I felt bit nervous.  The fact that I should not disappoint them was running in my head.  My gym PINK helped me regain my stamina.  My family stood behind me with great care.  Friends encouraged.  

The day I went to Pink Carnival to get the bib, I almost made up my mind to let someone take the timing chip.  But few minutes before I entered the counter, I met Miland Soman.  He congratulated me for taking the time to run and said that I should do it more often.  With his words of encouragement, my plan of not running with timing chip was taken back.  I decided to give my best.

IBM Running Club!
Thanks to my ever supporting husband Raghu who really cares and ensures that I am comfortable always.  He got me a new pair of shoes saying that I need lighter one this time as my Sketchers was getting worn out. He eagerly got up at 3.40 am and got ready along with me on the run day and picked  up my friend on the way to Island grounds.  We joined the warmup  sessions of Zumba dance along with 3 of my team mates who are also close friends.  We danced happily, swaying along with the S group and close to 6000+ women of all ages.

I met friends from my Manmar days , HP team, bloggers community,  Inner Wheel, friends from CTC and also few from my FB circle.  I missed meeting the sevai karangal team.  

The first few meters with the new shoes was not cooperating.  I told Girija and Padma to go ahead and took some stretches and then started to run again.  Slow pacing with no sprint made me reach the half way mark in 26 minutes.  As I started back, I was happy the way the Chennai Runners and Dream Runners were cheering all the ladies who actually painted the Chennai city in Pink that morning.  As I was close by 400 meters to the finish line, I saw a old aunty struggling to walk as she happened to have her knee surgery just couple of weeks earlier and was almost 70 years.  I helped her for a while, encouraging her to slowly walk and offered her water.  And after ensuring that she is ok, I started to pace again.  It was 58 minutes 2 seconds when I hit the Finish line and you should see my happiness.  I made it.  I just made it.  

I got my medal and refreshments., took lots and lots of pics with IBM gang and shouted loud cheering IBM.... and then got a call after I reached home that the Corporate team of IBM won the 5k category also along with the Treadaton that they won second place as a pre-event to Pinkathon.  My happiness knew no bounds.  I just hugged Raghu thanking him for all the encouragement and support.  

If I can run, You can!  I will run, till I can, Probably till my end!

Happy Running.  Thank you Pinkathon and thank you IBM and thank you my friends and family!

I love you Miland , you are truly a great brand ambassador and so do you Neville Billimora and also 

Uma with Miland Soman

LOVE YOU CHENNAI!  We will chase away Cancer from our City!  Very Soon!

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