When I enrolled to become a sport physiologist, I had no idea I would be in the labs, testing on cycling ergometers and treadmills as much as I did. I did not have any experience on them myself, not until I realised they are key testing equipment.
I was always active, exercise being an excuse to get outdoors, not into a room of machines. The gym, in my mind then, was for those who did not want to get out, but in a cold country where it rains almost all the time, a gym membership was the norm. Not an exception.
As someone who has trouble finding the right shoes even to walk in without pain, running and running distances, at that, was one of those things I thought I would never experience. But that was not what happened.
In my pursuit of finding a comfortable pair of shoes, I discovered a store in town run by a British triathlete who does gait analysis and recommends shoes accordingly. It meant running on a treadmill. That was my first ever nearly three years ago.
I bought myself what turned out to be a perfect pair of shoes for me and went on long walks when the weather was nice. I preferred the outdoors and fresh air. I photographed multiple running events, from short course to ultra-distances, but never thought through whats sort of training the endurance runners were clocking. I was happily in awe.
It never looked easy, my respect for all the runners increased manifold after those steps on the treadmill and testing amazing athletes in the labs.
I wanted to see how my feet coped and started running a bit between my long walks. I tried running on tarmac, along the coast, and soon realised my shins did not like the impact. I stuck to trails on a friend’s advice and used to get out, as often as I could, to a lighthouseI adored.
The biggest kick in my personal running journey was on one of the visits to a gym run by friends and their little girls. I was not able to stay consistent, but it was my turning point on the treadmill. I realised what a big game of the mind running indoors was.
I started counting my steps to keep me moving initially. I would go too hard and be unable to move for days after that. It was a learning curve, in retrospect, and there was so much to learn by experiencing.
Since return to India, I have been itching to do things I have not done before. And running was among them. I got a gym membership since I wanted it for the pool and a gym facing the sea was a big bonus. I would swim more than going into the gym until I felt I should run longer.
I made it a habit to run for half an hour and gradually increased it to an hour and eventually after months of running, on and off, something changed. I started enjoying the solitude on the treadmill. Each step creates music and each speed has a tune of its own.
One day I wanted to do a little more than 10km and since, on another day went on to do a 21.19. Yes, a half-marathon on a treadmill. It was something I never imagined I could or would do. It really just happened, I did not feel like stopping.
I ran again the next day, and within a fortnight, did another half marathon, this time to check for myself if the first one was real. It was fun, too. I am quite chuffed with this running journey, and in no rush for more milestones. I am happy as long as I can continue to run and learn more about myself while at it.