Meeta Goel from Ahmedabad started the 100 days of running with two objectives – to improve her 10 k pace, and to run the 21 kms distance with no walking. Here’s here story.
100 days of running… what!!! Why on earth would you do that?
Yes, that was the question many asked me when I said that I am taking the 100 days of running challenge! It sounded madness to many as to why would someone want to run every day for 100 days. But now as more than 90 days have passed, their question has changed to – how much did you run today?
I have been running since October 2014. To the non-runners, I was doing great, but inside me I knew, I had miles to go still for I had been as irregular as one can be. My co-runners would jokingly call me “regularly irregular”. So while I covered long distances, from 10 k to half marathons, full marathon and even an ultra, the regular breaks in between always brought me back to square one. When the dates for 2017 challenge were announced, I knew this was my chance to get running into my system – into my very DNA. To make my goals tangible I set out two objectives from this challenge – to improve my 10 k pace and, to run through the 21 kms distance (without having to walk in between).
I knew it will be challenging given the work and home commitments, erratic schedules and travels already planned during this time. But I also knew that I had a huge support system in my runner-friends and my “sole sisters” who would help me sustain it till the end. And above all – my husband who, though wary initially of the toll this might take on my body, would support me in each step I take.
So with that support mechanism, I started – and since 29th of April I have managed to run each single day, till today. There have been ups and downs, high and lows, long runs and the very short runs… but I ran. Sometimes alone, other times with my friends, sometimes even with my kids in tow… but I ran. Under the sun, or under the stars or even in the rain showers… I ran!
The journey of 100 days gave me much more than I had thought:
1. Definitely running came into my system – I cannot imagine my day without a run now. If I happen to miss my morning run, my mind keeps racing through the day planning my schedule so that I can catch up on a run later in the day.
2. Running got into my family system too – my kids now don’t wish me good morning. Instead when they open their eyes they ask “how much did you run today Mumma”. My husband now reminds me to check out the running trails on the destination when we are travelling.
3. I learnt that I could run anywhere, anytime and in any gear – To keep up with the challenge, I ran in mornings, in afternoon, evenings, and even as late as 11.30 PM. I ran in my running gear, in jeans, in palazzo pants… wearing my running shoes, or in sandals and even barefoot. I ran on long routes on roads, on 150 metres loop and the most dreaded treadmill!
4. I achieved my goals – I improved my 10 kms timing by almost 4 minutes. Starting from 70 minutes, I achieved my personal best of 66 minutes 8 seconds. Also getting better on my 21 kms running goal… I can now run longer than 15 kms without walking!
5. An improved running form came as a hidden advantage. Running everyday helped me improve my running form, resulting in better pace and lesser stress on my neck and back.
6. I discovered a new version of myself – stronger, lighter and faster. As a working-running-mom-of-two, it was almost like living two full days in 24 hours. But I was surprised to find myself up an about and full of energy throughout the day. My efficiency at work too improved drastically.
7. They say friendships formed over miles go the longest and that is exactly what I found. I formed friendships that not only took me longer and stronger on running trails but shall last with me lifelong.
So while the challenge to keep up to the commitment of running everyday for 100 days tested my mental and physical strength, the very fact that I was able to keep up with it gives a sense of immense joy and self-conviction. It is almost like, if I can do this, I can achieve anything I set out for!! There were times when I felt I was burning out, but as I near the finish line I definitely know – ye dil maange more!!