In Feb 2012, I was ordered to “stop walking” in 2 weeks flat. A pain in my hips had been diagnosed as AVascular Necrosis (or AVN) - a freak thing to happen considering that most of the causes for AVN did not apply to me.
The doctors suggested treating it right away, through a process called Core Decompression – there would be a hole drilled in the hip bone, and a living bone chip from the thigh would be implanted. The natural healing of the bone would take 18-24 months.
I was to be on the bed for 3 months post-surgery. And on crutches or walking support for 5 more months.
In a reply to a Quora question, I realized that this experience taught me a lot. Largely around how the world’s reaction to your circumstances are determined by your own perception of the same circumstance. As if you could project your views onto others, and get them to react in a certain way.
I love flights – especially when travelling alone. It gives me a lot of thinking time. And it was once such flight back to Delhi, when I told myself – this journey has been fascinating. But what could I possibly tell myself to convince myself that its over. Tell life that I have won.
How could I tell life that I have gone beyond the crutches, that it gave me?
The thought stuck. But it was a scary one.
I hadnt had any physical activity for months now. I was fat and inflexible.
I hated running (still do!)
And I hated waking up early in the morning. So not a morning person
Lastly, the idea of challenging myself had to be big. It couldnt be some random running. It had to be big.
And so – as the thought consumed me even further – I decided – I would run the Delhi Half Marathon – 21kms. And I would have to complete it in 3 hours, for it to mean anything.
I had decided to run 21kms under 3 hours, after a surgery that rendered me “unwalkable” for 6 months!
I joined a gym. And started training. It was DIFFICULT!
I couldn’t run for more than a minute, without feeling the need to stop
My leg hurt, really bad
My body was stiff! I was fat (86kgs)! And waking up at 6 was the worst feeling ever!
I think back then, the Marathon was just a dream.
Ajay Singh, a Groupon colleague I admire and respect, shared this video over Facebook
2 things caught me:
“You guys find a fear – that fear will either create you or destroy you. I love fear – because behind every fear is a person you want to be. fear is self imposed, meaning it doesnt exist. You create it, you can destroy it too. Its an intangible”
(2:32 in the video)
This video changed me!
I have seen this video EVERYDAY since then – either on my way to work, or on the pot, or on the treadmill (just listening to it) – but everyday since then.
The months gone by had been hard. Waking up at 5.45 everyday for 5-6 days a week was hard. Lifting weights was hard. Running without stopping was hard. If there was anything that kept me going, it was this video that kept shouting at me – “behind every fear is a person you wish to be”
In Sep, I ran my 1st 5km in one go. Took me almost an hour. Super slow. But a big feat mentally. I was getting there.
Finished 7kms in an hour. Was down to 80kgs from 86kgs
Finished 12kms in 1.5hrs
The marathon was scheduled for 15th Dec, 2013
Dec 10, 2013
Ran 14kms. decided not to run any further for the remaining 5 days.
I had NEVER run beyond 14kms in this entire period. Ever!
Dec 15th, 2013
Started the marathon at 8am (Group E – the group that had never ran a marathon before). Completed the first 5 kmI much faster than I thought. The music helped, fellow runners helped, the weather helped.
Some memorable moments on the way, that almost seemed unbelievable a few months back
By this time I knew I would make it. I was sure that I would complete the 21kms.
The distance I had run till so far. Anything beyond this point was a new achievement for me.
and finally the winning moment!
A selfie with the medal
2:36:15 hrs for 21 kms, at an average of 8.07kmph
Fascinating 12 months…
I am never going to run another marathon again. I hate running
But I beat life to it! :)
Here is me with my partner-in-crime (Ruchi decided to run the 6km Delhi Run and finished in sub 45mins)
Sometime back, TEDx KMC was kind enough to invite me for a talk on this post. Here is the recorded version of the same