Let me be ME

Posts tagged ‘mindoverbody’

Snail-paced cyclist to a Podium finisher: Ritu Kudal

Small town to the city of dreams

Snail-paced cyclist to an Ironman finisher

Determination is the second name of Ritu Kudal, a Mumbai based 41-year-old mother of two beautiful girls. 

Bahu(bride)
To a babe !

Pallu (veil)clad Marwari to a girl in running shorts.

Ritu has quite a few finisher medals in her kitty like Dubai 70.3 (1.9kms swim, 90kms bike, 21.1 run) 2020; Kolhapur 70.3, 2019(Podium); Hyderabad 2018(Olympic Distance-1.5kms swim,40kms cycling, and 10kms run), Full marathon 2017, countless half marathons, 10km and 25kms pacer.

Let’s read Ritu’s story in her narration.

How and why?

I studied in Udaipur and was into sports right from childhood. Kho-Kho and running were my favorite sports; I have even played until the state level. I was selected for national and had to travel to Nepal for the race; my mother was in doubt. Firstly coming from a Marwahi community, there was a stigma for girls to participate in sports, and secondly, pursuing sports was not a serious discussion. Even I was unsure, so I left where I started and continued to study further.

Soon I was married, but I am glad that my parents respected my opinion to find an educated match for me. 

I came to Mumbai after marriage and continued to pursue my Charted Accountant course. My husband, Tarun being a CA himself, helped me in the completion of the course. 

I carried on with my duty as a dedicated housewife and managing children.

When my elder one was six-months-old, just to come out of boredom, I started to learn swimming. The oldest student was in the swimming class was 60 years old.

There is no age to learn anything new

First lesson
Ritu with her family

It was during the Ganpati celebration when I was sitting in the pandal, holding my second child in my lap when my elder daughter’s gymnastics instructor uttered under his breath that I look like a Ganpati. I went home and looked at myself in the mirror, and he was not wrong. What had I done to myself? With a chubby body and bulging belly, I surely looked like Ganpati.

Do not neglect yourself after childbirth. Your body needs a lot of attention.

Second lesson

I developed hypothyroidism as well.

I started walking and mild exercising until one-day, I met someone who had completed his half marathon. I was shocked by the distance he covered when I was struggling to walk even a 5K. When my younger one was six -months old, I ran my first 10K Pinkathon race in 2013 and finished in 1.02hrs.

It is always challenging to take the first step but dare to take it, and it’ll make all the difference. 

Third lesson

There was no looking back then. I did the Goa marathon, Kundalika river. Marathon, Stara Hill run and, after four years in 2017, ran my first full marathon with systematic planning and training.

The race moment

My first Triathlon was Hyderabad 2018, Olympic Distance. I chose to race here to test waters, and surprisingly, I stood 4th in my age category. Next was Kolhapur 2019 70.3, and the (OWS )open water swim came into existence. Ah! to face the fear of open water and then to swim through that distance was a tough task. I trained hard and was a podium finisher at the race.

Dubai 70.3 was announced by now, and after talking to Tarun, I registered. A race that I can never forget.

Podium at Kolhapur 70.3

My coach Viv Menon and swim coach Ashutosh left no stone unturned to turn me into a beast by gruelling training plans. My day started very early, and after preparing the breakfast and packing my kid’s tiffin boxes, I used to head for my training. There were days when my body gave up, and my legs ached, but I had a massive target in front of me, and I didn’t pause.

Before the race day, I packed my bike, learned how to mend the puncture, made my mind to travel alone. Yes, it was my first international travel on my own. It was a great accomplishment to get the visa stamped, issue a new SIM card, and manage everything on my own. 

After the trial swim, I was down with a cough, cold and high fever. I panicked as my body was too weak to face a tough race ahead. 

On race day, my swim went well, but due to coughing I had gulped a lot of seawater, I started vomiting while cycling. My left side of the body was almost frozen, and I had severe pain. I was tensed not because of my state, but what if something happens to me? I have children back home.

My mind could not register a DNF (Did Not Finish), and I pushed myself hard to the finish line.

Dubai 70.3

The glimpse of the India flag at the finish line, the sense of victory and achievement took away all my pains, aches, fever, and anxiety.  It was a moment of pride and triumph.

You have to put effort on your own to achieve the impossible.

Fourth lesson

Gratitude

Mom, you can do it

I am very grateful to my parents, who ensured that I get a proper education. I can’t thank my coach Viv Menon, Ashutosh, enough, who pushed me hard and beyond my limits.

Most importantly, I could have never done any of my races without Tarun. Whenever I step out for a competition, I always ask Tarun to put his hand on my head. It fills me with immense confidence and trust. That cheer from my kids,” Mom, you can do it!” kept ringing in my ears all through my racecourse.

Is the hunger over?

No, the hunger to chase the impossible will never get over. Once I was back from Dubai 70.3, I enrolled for the Goa swimathon for 5K. My coach asked me, “are you ready to fail, Ritu?” I replied, “it’s not about failing or timing, but I want to test myself.” I am glad I took a plunge and finished the 5K swim.

Dare to dream and have the courage to chase your dreams. What seems impossible now will become a reality soon. 

Ritu’s mantra

Learnings from being a Badass mommy

Getting married or having kids is no reason to stop you from achieving your dreams. Never stop learning, never stop dreaming, and be happy for yourself and on your own.

Dream Believe Chase Achieve 

concludes Ritu

Epiphany#1

The other day a piece of news popped up in TimeHop (an app that shows nostalgic pics/videos). The story was about Sid’s climb to the ThotongLa Pass. It was back in 2018 when we completed the summit. Read a detailed blog here https://momthyname.blog/2018/06/13/annapurna-circuit-5th-19th-march-2018-hiking-with-sid-to-thorong-la-pass5417mts/ Sid was 12- years old and slightly shorter to me in height.

Sid in “My Powai” magazine

We were climbing towards the base of the summit after an acclimatization day. Sid is a natural climber and runner, and he was so thrilled to be climbing higher that he vanished out of my sight within no time. I was having trouble breathing; hence I was climbing slowly but steadily. When I could not spot him for a long time and the “motherhood-syndrome” activated. I was anxious. I kept asking each passer-by(although there were very few) about Sid, mentioning his looks and clothes he was wearing.
Finally, after a long walk, someone told me that he had seen a boy with a similar description upon a rock.

Sid on the way to ThorngLa Pass
Sid merrily balancing between the rocks

I had my stomach churning and suddenly I could feel the bile rising into my mouth. I was fuming in anger now. I speed up my walk and saw Sid balancing himself between two rocks. His palms tightly gripped on one side while feet on the other. He didn’t even bother to acknowledge my presence, nor was he aware that he has committed a “mistake.” As soon as I reached closer to him, he was excited to share his “discovery”. I reluctantly asked him about it. I was still fuming. He went ahead and showed two giant lizards on the rock and told me that he observed them climbing up the cliff.

Sid’s “DISCOVERY”

At that moment, I had no interest in his discovery or observation; I was obvious to make him realize that he has committed a “mistake.”
He could sense my rage but didn’t pay much heed. He said, “mom, I knew you are behind, and I wanted to run ahead. Above all, I know that this is a linear track, so where would I go? You could have worried lesser.”
I wouldn’t say I liked his comment at that moment. But, now, when I sit and think of it, he was correct, and I was getting hyper.


Last year a similar episode happened on our hike in Sahaydris too during monsoons.. He climbed up the slippery rain-drenched hills, and I lost my breath out of fear.

Epiphany #1: Don’t pass on your emotions to your children. They will learn and grow with the right exposure and experience.

Children are born explorers. They have their wild imagination. They are a gift of nature, and nature makes them learn the most critical life-lessons that no textbook ever can. They have a curious mind, which sadly gets tamed and influenced by us.

Sid wanted to be on his own; he knew where it was heading, he knew I was behind him and was confident that he would not wander anywhere, but I tried to instill fear in him out of my insecurity.


Let your children wander
for nature will teach them
Let them explore and feel
and you’ll see them turning into a gem

Stretch-marked Mommy

“Ma’am, may I please ask you something” he dropped a text hesitantly
“Go ahead, please,” I replied.
In most humble tone, he asked, “ma’am that picture you posted on the Instagram story………..”
And,
Before he said anything ahead, I knew what it was about!
I respected his approach and listened to him patiently, and then with all the courtesy ended the exchange of messages.

Why am I mentioning this conversation?


Because there is a big misconception between fitness and six-pack abs. Ok, fitness and a super toned body to make it simpler.


Fitness is a state of mind.
Fitness is a life long journey and not a temporary goal. The results you want to achieve takes dedication, discipline, and, most importantly, consistency. Pushing yourself out every single day, wearing your running shoes, and hitting out for a run or a workout is the toughest thing a mind can do.


Each one has a different fitness goal too. For me, fitness is to stay active and build up the much-needed stamina, which I almost lost after two kids.
Each body is different and comes from a separate gene pool too.


I gained much more than the average weight in both my pregnancies. I had pregnancy-induced hypothyroidism and excessive water retention as well. As the skin stretched too much, I got return gift for life- stretch marks all over my tummy, inner arms, thighs, breasts, butts basically all over the body other than the face, Phew! That was some respite.


My sincere fitness journey started in 2015 when I was called as a “FAT SLUT” in my running group.


I am really grateful for naming me as it only made me push harder every single time and going much higher than what my body and mind could ever imagine.


The conversation at the beginning of the blog is in context to a post on Instagram where my loose belly is visible.https://www.instagram.com/momthyname/
The gentleman questioned me that even though I work out a lot, have an athletic physique, but still, why do I have a loose tummy?
Honestly, I didn’t feel awkward, I was calm and patient in listening to all the advice given. But didn’t give any explanation.


My thighs have celluloid, and my tummy has sagged a lot with that little tiny bulge.
So, should I hide it or feel ashamed about it?
No, not at all.
I don’t hide my stretch-marked loose baby tummy, but I proudly flaunt it. I have no shame in exposing my return gift.

Plank and the fall of the tummy 🙂


When I get into a plank position, my belly hangs, but I still do it.
When I get into squats, the celluloid of my inner thighs bulge out, but I still do it.
And I shall continue lifting those heavyweights, hang on bars, run long distances and plank longer.


I am surrounded by fantastic motivation that I am in total awe of these everyday fighters who are defying the stereotypes.


I know a new mom who works out every single day and holds her baby in her arms as the weight for squats.
I know heavyweight people who have completed their triathlons out of sheer determination.
I know many heavy females who are podium finishers in cycling and swimming and would leave the leaner ones far behind.
I know single mothers who have made their mark on the fitness journey while raising their children and also looking after their mental health.
I know of couples working out together and pushing each other irrespective of age and situation.


My running and ironman forum is filled with stories of extreme mental strength, and the body type doesn’t play any role there.


I didn’t feel the need to reply to the gentleman about his worry, query, and advice on my stretch-marked loose tummy because I knew that he has also correlated fitness with a body type.


My one hour of daily workout and the sweat all over my body is my way of meditation, it is my burnout, and it is a constant reminder to my mind to never ever give up.


So, all you beautiful mommies, your stretch marks are gorgeous, your loose belly is terrific, and you don’t need a corset to even it out. Your cellulite has nothing to with your inner beauty.


If at any point someone attempts to body-shame you, then remember, you have a middle finger!!


Give me a high five, “stretch-marked mommies”.

Staying fit is a happy state of mind

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