I still remember first time I ran in the ninth grade about 24 years back to defeat my dream which often led me to believe that while I was trying to run, I wasn't moving forward. Memories of the course where I used to run, while my parents strolled, are still fresh in my mind. I used to gauge my performance each day by the landmark where I intercepted them along the way. Relived some of those memories recently during my visit to Ferozepur in Punjab during May this year, of course, missed my father who often looked back during those days to see if I was catching up faster than the previous day. He would have been really proud of me today !
Later that year and for next few years, I got engulfed in studies, though my dream kept coming back.
Life went fast forward for few more years and then one day found myself in a strategy conversation with my colleagues of batch of 90 planning to beat our senior 2 batches and emerge as the overall sports and cultural leader at Kurukshetra. Don't remember how I volunteered but remember shouldering the burden for my batch in the 5K and 10K competition. Couldn't finish to the podium in 5K but did so in 10K. We won the overall trophy that year.
Time flew once again and I often found myself running around Woodbridge mall in Iselin, NJ in bitter cold in the year 97. Same year got married. Life looked a bit of a race from then on, often thought about running but couldn't.
At the hind side, looking back at 2004, Reena, Avi and I were destined to return to India and after few months of settling down in Noida, buoyant by a busy and yet very satisfying professional life in headstrong, I started gradually picking up my lost passion, running.
Little irregular for most of 2005,6 & 7 before Anil Chawla gave a new meaning to my passion. Still remember competing in Delhi Dream run in winter of 2007 and called Anil immediately, remember being pushed by the organizers to clear the finish line.
The thought of waiting for a year to run another race was depressing so signed up straight for a half marathon at Mumbai for Jan 2008 event. That was the race I experienced 'wall' for the first time. Cheers around me were fainting fast and the pain was excruciating by the time I hit the 16th km mark. Felt like withdrawing from the race but I noticed the resolve in my fellow runners, men & women, young and not so young, each one on a mission to fulfill a personal milestone. It wasn't easy but I ran the last 500 meters at my best pace to finish strong. Learnt another lesson that day, that in life you are up against yourself most of the time and nothing else matters.
Since then never looked back, after 4 half marathons and two 10K events it's time to raise the bar again. Can't stop and be content with what has been achieved. Have learnt to always look ahead to what you can do next, but only after you have achieved what you wanted to and take the next goal, one at a time. And this time it is Mumbai marathon on Jan 15, 2012.
This story goes to all those who aspire to run but never get time, dream but do not fulfill them. Wake up one day and just do it !!
This one is also dedicated to my father who ignited my passion and to Anil who gave a new meaning to it.