Sunday, July 5, 2009

Novice Runner thanks Ekal

I wanted to thank the Ekal Group and my San Ramon Ekal partners for a small personal achievement.

I could not have done this without their help. I have been very active taking regular walks and exercising 5 days a week minimum at the gym. The regimen was followed as I had been advised bilateral knee replacement surgery few years ago. At first I had wanted to reach the 40 year milestone and then I stretched it to 45 years. I turn 45 this year and my resolution to do something worthwhile with the gift of my natural knees, was realized with the opportunity to join Ekal.

Ekal has rejuvenated me like nothing and it is with great enthusiasm that I took this challenge. With the regular practice sessions with my partners at San Ramon, I challenged myself to register for the 4th July 10 K run in San Ramon.

I have never participated in any kind of race since I left middle school, so this was big for me. A friend, Sangeeta Baronia, who is also in the Ekal half marathon, joined me for this event. I felt that I was the only novice in the group, as we had Team in Training groups and others with coaches, wearing the right outfits, doing the warm ups and so forth. My physical handicap made me feel nervous and I mentally kicked myself for my stupidity of joining this run as well as Ekal. But the spirits were running high, feeding off the enthusiasm off others. The rush of running with the pack, the adrenaline that pumps in your body as people cheer you up, the constant challenges that one creates for onself were new.

As I was completing the first lap I had several members overtake me on their second lap. Those moments were unnerving and soon I was pretty much at the tail end of the pack, as everyone was running while I was walking. But as I passed the numerous volunteers on the way, and they gave me my time, and made me feel like a victor each time, and I felt a change come over me. I pushed myself into a gentle trot, bracing myself for the sharp pains to arrive, but they did not. Before long at the next curve with a different set of volunteers giving whoops of encouragement, and I was jogging. I would slow down to fast walk catch my breath and do the whole trot, jog, run again and lo and behold I was taking shorter walking breaks. I know I looked robotic as my knees do not have the fluidity of motion and the jerky strides on semi-locked knees were not a pretty sight, but I felt like I was flying in a most graceful fashion.

This day on 4th July, American Independence Day I set myself free from the notion that there are things that I can not do. I can run, albeit short distances, but I can run!!

I am thrilled today as I was able to improve my time as well.
I finished the 10 Kilometer (6.2 Miles) run in 1 hour and 27 minutes.
I am able to cover 1 Km in 8.7 minutes (14 min/mile).

This would not have been possible without my Ekal Team Members for it was Ekal that found the hidden strength in me and it was my team members who channeled it into my achievement. And it was also the encouraging cheers of the volunteers who stood at half way mile stones, at the start of the inclined lap, and at the last leg of the home run who made me keep on going and pushing just a bit more each time. I hope and pray that we have such support of motivating members at the Ekal Marathan too. It makes a huge difference and can improve performance for all runners and walkers.

I feel quite confident that I can actually do the 22 km (13 mile) half marathon in as fairly decent time and may even run a bit. I am very excited and would like to share my moment of glory of finishing in the 4 pictures posted at the following link.

Thank you EKAL!!!


5th July 2009

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