Challenges – I have always liked. Be it the reading challenge hosted by Good Reads or the Cycling Challenge that the Chennai Cyclists host every March, I have always ensured participation. This year when I finished the 10 days of ride challenge , I decided to take up the 100 days running challenge. So, the challenge is to run for 100 continuous days with a minimum of 2 kms per day. Sounds easy ? It did appear to me initially. Then I knew it is not going to be as easy as I had thought about. I had to prepare and plan.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The First Step – Registering for the challenge
I registered for the challenge and did not announce it to everyone. Not everyone were supportive. Some said this is self-torture. I discussed it only with a few dear ones who did not demotivate me, instead advised on the Do’s and Dont’s. They gave me their piece of idea, advise and suggestions on not just to focus on finishing the challenge, but finishing it injury free, remaining healthy.
Preparing for the Run Challenge
The next step started with me drafting a run plan – Plan A was to run in and around my neighborhood before the city wakes up and buses and autos begins to blare. Plan B was to run in the treadmill in the gym if I fail to wake up, snoozing my morning alarm(this has actually happened many times). Initially, I managed to wake up at 5:30 and hit the road to cover the 2 kms. One important thing I had in my mind was to not to overdo. For the first few weeks I ensured I did not cover more than 2-3 kms. On the days I overslept, I ensured I squeezed in 20 mins of my time in office to hit the gym and cover the 2 kms distance running on the treadmill. There had been days when I had to really rush back to attend some meeting or answer a mail, but I was there at the gym.
I was slowly beginning to get into that routine. When I felt lazy my mind recited to me ” Hey girl, rain or shine, wear that shoe and run that distance!”
100 Days of Running – The Challenge
The challenge started during the last week of April. Peak summer and humid weather of Chennai forced me to be regular to the gym than on the roads. But at the same time, boredom was beginning to creep in. I continued , hoping to find an alternate plan. On a few days, I walked inside my office campus covering the distance and breathing in some fresh air.
Overcoming barriers and exhaustion
So when I was totally bored of the treadmill runs, I had to come up with a new plan. That was when I realized that I can make use of the park nearby. I had two benefits. One being the outdoor run without traffic disturbances at 8 in the morning after I dropped my kid in his school and the other was its proximity to my mom’s place where I can drop in for some tea or post run munching 😉
The park idea did really work. Running in the park became a routine and I had an interesting motivational factor.When people found me wearing proper run shoes and bright colored running attire, they gave me weird looks. I know, that sounds weird! I was different from the sari clad walking aunties and the uncles walking in their pajamas and dhotis. I did gain some attention and to be honest , I liked it.
On weekends I made it a habit to take the route in the Army Cantonment area. That is one calm and peaceful stretch of 3 kms amidst the occasional noise pollution caused by the landing air crafts. I had run alone.I had taken my mom some days to accompany me. I had my friend on a few days for a chatty run. That has always been and will be my favorite route in Chennai.
Eating and Living Healthy
While I always ensured that I did not miss my everyday run, I took proper care of what I ate. I only controlled myself from indulging in sweet and sugary food items, but I continued eating and loving my regular South Indian idli, dosa, sambar, aviyal. It was during these 100 days, I gave up my long time habit of early morning tea and biscuits. It was not easy, but again, when there is a will, there is a way. 🙂
Now to speak about what weird things I did to ensure to not to miss a day, I have had my own share. I ran in Auroville campus on a scorching summer afternoon. My kid accompanied me or rather he motivated me by running and me chasing ! Once during a holiday, I had to stop the car at the gate of a resort and walked uphill to the resort to finish that day’s quota. A friend accompanied me talking about life issues and that helped me mend a broken friendship. I ran in the park at 3:30am in the morning, saree clad and kohl rimmed when I had an early start at 4:30am to chauffeur my family to a temple.
Finishing Line – and Beyond
I aimed to sail through the 100 days amidst the scorching heat, humidity, menstrual cramps, personal trauma and my work-life. Days rolled into weeks and months and I was nearing the 100th day. I did not compromise on my motherly duties or my reading habit.I could feel the euphoria setting in me . There was a change not just in my physique, but in my mind as well – come what may, never give up! To me, it wasn’t just a challenge to run or securing a place in the leader board ,but a challenge to believe in myself and build a non negotiable discipline. I knew what my weakness was. It was a weakness only until I had no logical plan to break the excuses and taking that step towards the solution and that took me through the journey that was all worth it, even after I reached the destination!
So , that is all about the 100 days journey. Now don’t you think that life takes you by surprises. It throws you down giving you hardships. At the same time, it gives you the strength to step in to your power. It all happens for a reason – “Life”. Keep fighting and keep going against all the odds. Believe in yourself, make no excuses. Believe that you can. Step out of that comfort zone. Life, then becomes more beautiful.