Ignorance is bliss when we are into unwanted arguments, but definitely doesn’t hold good when it comes to our health.
With few triathlons and marathons lined up all through 2019, I was in my all-time high of ignoring the pain, swelling and persistently strained IT band . When I enrolled for triathlon, I was in full enthusiasm and awe of that finish line, but I never knew what’s in store. Relentless practice, the guilt of missing out on any workout, conscious eating, backbreaking work, and discipline was the training part, but the significant component to take care was – time management.
With boys grades declining in each term, teenage catching up, workload increasing bringing in not-so-much needed stress and anxiety, I was in a zombie zone. Ice packs, signoflam was the love of my life.
I kept ignoring everything.
I understood the gravity of the situation when I finished my Standard Charted Singapore Marathon on 30th November 2019. After the mandatory posing with the finishers medal, it was time to walk to the metro station to board a train for my hotel. It was the longest and most painful walk of about a kilometer after finishing the half marathon. I was in a hurry to reach the hotel as Sid was attempting his first 10K the next morning, and he was waiting for me in the hotel. I was sore, limping, and had a swollen knee when I reached the hotel. As ever, my lover came to my rescue, and I can’t thank her enough, my dear Ibrufen Sid triumphantly finished his 10K, and we flew back. I was in so much pain that I had to ask for wheelchair assistance at the airport.
SCSM was the last race of 2019, and the final phase of my ignorance as well. I started with my physiotherapy regularly. I slowed down majorly. Listened to the advice given by my coach, followed the prescription, obeyed every instruction like a good student.
Came 2020 and the first race of the year also the most awaited one which was happening in my city, TMM(Tata Mumbai Marathon). I did not run. I collected the bib, didn’t calibrate it.
I saw the finishers pic of my fellow runners. I went through all the zeal and happy faces on social media. But, I did not run
I am often questioned on why I am walking and not running? Why am I not doing deadlifts in the gym? Why am I not lifting heavier weights? I always get a lump in my throat to reply- I can’t.
I cried out of my misery, my pain, my inability, and above all, my ignorance. But, I did not run.
I am still on rehab, signoflam, cold compressions, guided exercises, posture correction is a part of the routine. It hurts, it pains, it’s frustrating, it’s killing, but I am not running.
Injuries are a part of the life of an athlete, but listening to your body comes first.
My coach said,
“if you have to run fast, go slow”
It is said that God resides in each body, then the body is our temple, worship with all your devotion.
My recovery may take months, or I don’t even know how long but the journey right from the injury to ignorance till recovery is teaching me lessons of life which no textbook ever taught me. Patience Hold on Breathe in And Rise like a phoenix
Love yourself and your body the most, this is the only thing that will stay with you forever.
At 4kms mark, I struggled to even take a single step ahead. Absolutely, clueless on why and what was happening, I saw the aid station and sipped water, had a spoon full of jaggery and just stood at one place. Then I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, focused myself and started to walk slowly and then gradually into slow running. This was my state in IDBI Mumbai Half marathon race on 25th August 2019. I was very well aware that I wasn’t training the way I should. Sleep is an important factor when you are in tough training. The body recovers and recuperates the most during sleep. But I have very tender sleep and with exams going on for boys I end up sleeping late and getting up early. This race was important because I have taken up an initiative to raise volunteers awareness and club them with the NGOs in need across Delhi and Mumbai through A-Race-A-Month hence I had to finish the race. As I started walking after my panic attack, I also paid lots of attention to what my mind was thinking. I am a firm believer in Mind-Over-Matter and Mind-Over_body. My mind was wandering in all possible direction and especially towards the negative side which was draining my energy While walking I took deep breaths and tried very hard to focus on the finish line. I also chant a mantra,”kadam bade hain toh rukege nahin”. It always does wonders and did this time too as from walking I started running, slowly but steadily. This time I set my Garmin on only HR zone and not on pace or distance. I kept crossing one after the other milestone and when it was 18kms mark I just pumped myself, took a very deep breath, smiled as wide as possible as cheered for myself the way I do to Sid, “run darling, mamma is right here, just run” I also said to myself, “Disha, you’ve done it, finish it off with style now” and I did finish.
On my recent work trip, I finished another race in extreme weather conditions. I was in Prague for a work trip and wanted to participate in some run during that period of stay. I searched and I got one from RunCzech. On the day of the race, the weather was acting lousy. It was very cold, with the chilled breeze and slight drizzle making it all the more unbearable We Mumbaikars know only three types of weather, Hot, Hot+Humid and Very Hot and somehow I can’t bear cold weather. On the race day, my fingertips were numb and I was wrapped in three layers if not less. I came back to the hotel early from the field, took a quick shower, had a coffee shot and took the metro to the venue. The Europeans were in shorts and vest and I was in full pants and running tee also wearing a windcheater. But the atmosphere was electrifying and as I heard the gunshot something triggered in me and I started with the crowd with loud cheering and clapping. I ran with all my heart and smile in the twilight. In my last mile, I sprinted and I always do this as somehow I imagine my loved ones standing at the finish line with open arms.
I always end up with wet eyes at the finish line. It is not just a finish line for me but a victory over self, firmness of mind and determination to do better next time.
That’s why I run and train, It helps me to tame my mind. It allows me to channelize my energy and thought process. It nurtures my soul This finish line was special and so is every finish.
Kudos to each one who defy their shortcomings, be it of any type and reach that line with finesse and wear that medal as a batch of honor.
Out there, there ain’t no black and white. There’s only fast and slow. Nothing matters, not color, not money, not even hate. For those ten seconds you are completely free- Race
Why a Triathlon? Because I can. Isn’t it? It started over coffee when I met Mehul one fine evening in May 2018. He suggested that I should enroll in Kolhapur triathlon. I looked at him aghast wondering- REALLY !!! He discussed the race casually. Of course, he will be casual as he is avid is all the sports and also an Ironman. But what about me? Good at none. I thought to give it a shot. I surfed the website and realized that sprint distance registration was over. Hence, I enrolled for Olympic distance and again asked Mehul, “do you think I can?” and his reply was as usual, “oh yes! It’s not tough.”
Preparation; aka “maar jaega tu”(you’ll be dead)
I had to streamline my work out and get into further strict discipline, so I needed a coach, and unanimously I landed to Viv. His weekly training plans left me breathless, exhausted, muscle sore but extremely satisfied. I followed sensible eating, adhered to the training routine,my gym instructor Sagar framed my sessions as per my training plan; I tweaked and adjusted the plan with my travel and kids schedule. Trust me it’s sturdy and tough to burn the ass on the cycle trainer and also teach geography for the test. It was equally tough to deny all weekend late nights, skipping social dinners or even casual chit chat. I had to time my training along with home, kids, work, travel and all of them equally demanding. The wine and single malt connoisseur in me also took a back seat. Uffff!!! Sipping nimbu-paani on Friday eve because I had to train from 4 am on a Saturday, who would ever make such a sacrifice other than a crazy head.
Here I faced two vital challenges,
First, to keep myself motivated every single day Second, to follow a hard training schedule along with other significant responsibilities
Tackling the first one, to keep myself motivated every single day Setting a goal with a motive to raise the bar higher and higher kept me motivated. I also believed that I am doing this for myself and not for anyone else. Training left my mind numb, and I focussed my entire energy in one direction. It was my meditation. Also, getting into a circle of energy of like-minded people and seeing their achievements, struggles, hard work was motivating too.
Managing the second one, Time- management I started getting up early before waking up boys for school. At times I trained after I dropped them to school and was at the work desk by 10 am. I also managed cycle training while I was checking their homework or revising for the exams. During my travel, I never missed the gym and running.
Toughest-part ; aka Phatt jaegi
November 2018, I was all set for my first triathlon and excited, anxious, nervous, running cold, parched throat, dizzy, etc. On the day of the practice swim in the open lake, it took me several minutes to plunge or not. Finally, I managed but swam along the support rope for a very short distance. Tried several times but could not achieve the full length. I suffer from Acrophobia(fear of heights) and during this process realized that I also suffer from Thalassophobia(fear of water, dark, uncertainty). I studied a lot about it, talked to therapists, read several self-help books, and nothing helped, just nothing. I had a DNF (did not finish) in Kolhapur triathlon. I could not swim even 100 meters on the race day. I had to take this phobia in my stride, and I always believe that nothing is more powerful than the human mind. Sheetal came to me as a guiding angel and introduced me to Nimesh, swimming coach who took groups for sea swims. I had an anchor now.
I distinctly remember when I went for the first time for the open water swim — the night before I was crying, praying, meditating endlessly. I got up at 4 am, took a deep breath and drove to Uran which is a two hours drive from my place. The sea was low that day, and I swam only until where my feet touched the ground. Nimesh was very cooperative here and encouraged me to swim further but I couldn’t. The second attempt was better than the first one. The third attempt was very confident where I jumped into the middle of the sea from the boat and swam till the shore. That day the sea was very high with waves pushing me here and there, but I managed the swim.
I was now somewhat sure of swimming in the sea for my next race.
Second attempt, Abu Dhabi Triathlon March 2019
Just a few days before the race Deep asked me to check with my coach about the wet suit and Viv gave a thumbs up. Now the issue was on how and where to get the wetsuit? Here Parul came as a savior; she not only helped in selecting but also guided on handling and renting. It gave me lots of confidence in the open water swim.Check the link herehttps://www.buttersport.com/
Challenges during the race
I landed in Abu Dhabi feeling drained. Next day I had my trial swim. I took a while to jump in the water, but then I finally tried the sprint distance of 750 meters and was now happy and confident to swim through the whole length the next day. I was back to the hotel with a terrible throat ache, and by evening I was down with a fever. I rinsed and gargled with betadine. Salt, disprin and a combination of all too. Could not eat anything or even sip water. I was terrified about the race now.
Got up much before time moreover who slept that night, popped two paracetamol and off I went to the venue. I was trembling by now. Running nose, fever, body ache, and cold wind, nothing was in my favor. At the holding area for the swim, we were starting in waves of four, and I had no waiting time at all, no time to ponder, regret, mull but to jump and I did. I had a very poor swim, but I was determined to finish the full distance and not give up. Once out the sea, I ran to T1 to get the bike and realized that I had not kept my glasses (I use high power glasses for the swim and run), I had no other choice but to wear my swimming goggles and bike.
Finished the bike lap and hushed for the run. By now it was hot, and I dragged myself for the first 2kms. It was the last lap, and I was not ready to give up come what may. So I held my chin up and jogged –run-jogged and finally sprinted in the last km cheering to myself the way I do for Sid for his runs. I remember cheering loudly,“Sid, ho Gaya beta. Almost done, darling. Just 500 meters left, we will not give up. Run darling run. Mamma is right here with you.”
Once I touched the finish line, I sat down and cried my heart out(har baat pe hi rona aa jata hai), definitely for I finished but also that I did not give up.