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My 11 Rules for Running

In running don’t compare yourself to other runners. Often in marathons, I have met some elite runners who can finish a 42km run in under 3 hours, which is a pretty good timing for a marathon. The winner of the Sydney Marathon, which I ran in 2018, finished it in under 2 hours and 15 […]

Training in Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Training in Cairns, Queensland, Australia

In running don’t compare yourself to other runners.

Often in marathons, I have met some elite runners who can finish a 42km run in under 3 hours, which is a pretty good timing for a marathon. The winner of the Sydney Marathon, which I ran in 2018, finished it in under 2 hours and 15 minutes, while I took nearly 5 hours to finish the race. There were also other runners who took even longer than me. So, running is a sport not to be compared with other runners and participants. Similarly, in life I follow my own timelines and comparing myself with my social media friends would not lead me anywhere. When I discovered running as a hobby and a break from the stressful world we live in, I initially found it tough and then got into the swing of it over a period of time. In the ten years since I ran my first marathon, I have completely become obsessed with it, and it is a form of meditation for me. I have always considered marathon, not as a competition, but an adventure. So, there is no point of comparison.

Help other runners. It’s my favourite thing to do.

I believe we are programmed for generosity and that helping a mate when they are tired and about to give up, will eventually enhance our performance. A simple word of motivation or a pat on the back could help someone finish the race. This would give us pleasure, and we are actually helping ourselves by helping other runners. Distance running is sometimes a lonely pursuit and there is a risk of self-doubt coming into our heads. The mind is telling us to stop when we are tired and eventually, we stop at the drink station for a break. At that time, we just need some mental energy. The energy drinks and water can give us physical energy to go for another mile, but mental energy we can only get by a simple touch or work of motivation. When I was running Gold Coast Marathon in 2017, someone told me: ‘You got this mate, keep going’. It completely changed me from negative emotions to positive emotions. I was grateful I was able to finish the race with the enormous support from strangers and other runners. I always advocate to have the right mindset, whether when we are running or in our daily lives. This mindset eventually helps me keep going when I am tired or in self-doubt. Our mind is equally important as our legs. I often practice meditation in order to improve my brain muscles. Like we go to gym to build our muscles, our mind needs rest and proper sleep. If our mind gets tired in a marathon, it could be only refueled by motivation from strangers, other runners, family and friends. Similarly, when we are mentally sick, we need love, compassion, motivation from loved ones and sometimes even from strangers.

Tap here to power up.

A simple hi-five or a smile, or a creative poster with motivational quotes could give some energy to our brain and help us reach our goal. Positive mantras really work well for me. As I had mentioned before, the Buddhist prayer, ‘Om Mani Padme Hun’, really gives me energy and I do often chant, when I am running. When I am running long distances, I do worry at the start about how I might be feeling when I am 10 km away from the finish line. The last leg of any ultra marathon is not easy, and we can only stop worrying by focusing on the present moment and banishing negative thoughts from our heads. I acknowledge the negative thoughts and try to replace them with positive mantras.

You don’t have to go too fast, as long as you are going.

When I am running ultra marathons, I do not worry about the time so much, as long as I am able to finish the race. Although we may need to care about the time, if there is a cut-off and we are expected to finish the race within a desired time. What I am trying to say is we do not need to start too fast, so that we get tired quickly. As long as we are even going slowly after 30km, it’s fine to be able to finish the race. If we are competing, then we might need to focus on our timings.

I always say this prayer when I am in pain, whether it’s during a run or in life: ‘I will remain focused on my goals. Even if I face a moment of difficulty or a setback, I will not give up. I know consistency is the key to success. I know that I can do it. It’s natural for things to not go to plan. But the challenge will not block me. If I commit to the process, it is only a matter of time. I am grateful for all the opportunities I got in life.’ This prayer brings me towards positive vibes, and I get the feeling that I am not tired and can keep going. I also prefer shorter goals as a pathway to reach bigger goals. I first started running 10km, then half marathon, later full marathons and now Ultra Marathons. I always try to schedule my runs in advance. I treat it like a meeting, which mentally prepares me to turn up. I prefer long runs on the weekend, and some work out at the gym in the weekdays. Such slow training prepares me for bigger challenges. I do love cycling and swimming as well, and it eventually helps me prepare for triathlons and Iron Man. It is my dream to compete for an Iron Man sometime in future, but I am not a great swimmer, so I need to prepare hard for it. One step at a time.

Be positive, be patient and be persistent. It’s a long journey.

Running marathon is a long journey. On average, I take 4 hours to finish a marathon, and if I am running ultra marathons it might take from 6 hours to 18 hours sometimes. So, it’s definitely a long journey and staying positive and motivated is the key throughout the journey. Lots of negative thinking comes into my mind when I am close to the finish line but being persistent and continually working towards my goal is very significant. Basically, we have to work hard in silence and let our achievements be the noise at the finish line. I am the happiest person in the world when I reach the finish line.

People have often given me negative vibes, but I trust myself. Every single person, including my family members do not believe it, but for me running 50km is now like a walk in the park. But I am now training for some serious challenges, which would help me become mentally strong and of course, a good human being. I always believe that because we only get to live once, pursuing our passion is very important. Running is passion and a hobby for me and even if I am able to run long distances once a week, I would be able to refuel myself for the rest of the week. Just like we put fuel in the car to be able to function properly for a week, similarly, I go out to run in nature once a week to refuel my body. It helps me become more patient and compassionate. In August 2019, I ran 50km and 53km in the last two Sundays in Melbourne. I ran for nearly 7 to 8 hours near the Brighton Beach.

A few days after, I ran 60km by myself. It was very much tiring, but I could easily sense a feeling of satisfaction. I felt that I was alive and that there is a reason why I am alive. I often run to lose my mind and find my soul. Yes, we live in a hectic world today, where we often lose our soul. We forget our capabilities and achievements, and fear of failure makes us suffer from stress and anxiety. We never share our failure on social media, but we love sharing our new job status, achievements, citizenship status, marriage or purchase of a house or a car. But we forget to share our failures and the days we are feeling low. I have rarely seen a very successful person, maybe a celebrity, actor, politician or CEO, without a difficult past.

All of us have gone through some kind of challenges in our lives and it’s time for us to share it on social media, instead of sharing positive moments. I was reading an article recently and watching news on TV and I came to know that 1 in 4 people in Victoria, Australia, is suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. Suicide rates, predominantly among young males, are high. I realised that there is something seriously going wrong, where money has become so significant in our lives. We are treating money and job status or power as a symbol of success. We treat dogs better than humans. If I go to a supermarket in Australia, I will probably find a large variety of dog foods, dog party mix and their clothes, electric blanket.

We have dog police, veterinary doctors and so many other facilities for dogs. There is nothing wrong in caring about dogs and treating them nicely, but have we lost humanity and stopped caring about the person sitting next to us in the train who might be suffering from mental illness in silence. There are so many people in Australia suffering from mental illness and pressure to succeed is very high. Some suffer this disease which is invisible due to their career or relationships or health issues. But very few of us really care for others as we all are in a race to succeed. I truly believe the purpose of our lives is to save other people’s lives. No matter what we do for our living, we all have the capability to do it. Sometimes a simple smile or a hug could change people’s lives. Staying positive and consistent, when the whole world is falling apart, is very important.

We all have been hit in the head by a brick in our lives and the hardest paths have also the ability to make us strongest. Often, we go to gym for a month with a mission to have a body like Arnold Schwarzenegger but give up after some time. We forget how much focus, dedication and discipline is needed to achieve that dream. Everyone has a dream but very few have the courage to follow them. Running long distances have taught me that it’s not about how fast we run but how long we stick with it. So, it is a long journey and remaining focused is very important. Often, we lose our focus or decide to give up on our dreams after several rejections and failure. I just remember the shark experiment, whenever I am dealing with any kind of failure or rejection. I have been rejected several times when I have applied in Universities to study or even for jobs.

We all have faced rejections but if we all can remember this shark experiment; it could have a deep impact in our lives. During an experiment, a shark was placed in a large tank by a marine biologist and small bait of fishes was released on the other side of the tank. As expected, the shark jumped on the fishes and ate them as quickly as possible. As it was easily available, it was an easy job for the shark. But as soon as fiberglass was placed in between the tank in order to divide two sections, the shark was not able to eat the new bait of fishes. The shark kept on slamming the glass and bounced back. It kept on repeating this for a while with no success, while fishes kept on swimming on the other end of the tank unharmed. This experiment was repeated several dozen times over the few weeks. And later on, the shark became less aggressive and eventually stopped trying all together.

A few weeks later the fiberglass dividing the tank was eventually removed and to everyone’s surprise, the shark didn’t attack the fishes. After experiencing repeated failure, the shark was trained to believe that the barrier existed between it and the bait fish, so fishes swam unharmed without being attacked. The moral of this story is we all have faced constant rejection and failure in the past and so our brain automatically gets programmed that this real barrier still exists in reaching our goals. Even though there have been barriers in the past and we have failed, we should keep working towards our goal and not stop dreaming big.

The only way to become a marathon runner is by running a marathon.

Many of my friends who struggle to run even 5km, often ask me how do you run? My simple answer is if you want to become a marathon runner, first register for 10km or half marathon near you. If you turn up that day eventually you will be able to finish it. There would be hundreds of people running along with you and it would eventually motivate you to keep going. And trust me, it’s very addictive. I have been running for 10 years now and when I meet some amazing people at marathons, some extraordinary people, who tell me their running story, I feel more motivated to continue this passion. Yes, running marathon is very adventurous but it also tests our mental and physical capacity. But trust me, the feeling at the finish line with arms raising in triumph, is simply amazing.

When I ran 70km in the Himalayas and 60km at the Great Ocean Road, I didn’t train properly but I realised that meditating in our mind is more important than anything else before a marathon. Then comes the diet and our sleep. I ensure I get an 8-hour sleep and light dinner before the marathon. Running your first marathon could be challenging, but once we finish the first one, trust me there would be many more after that.

Self-discipline will get you farther than motivation will.

Every morning when I get up, I get easily motivated by watching an inspirational video, but I realised that self-discipline is more important than motivation. The day I get up late, I feel lazy, while the day when I wake up early, I am full of energy. So, preparing my mind to get up early is the biggest battle I go through every day.

Suggesting to my mind not to eat junk food, even though I am surrounded with junk food, is the biggest battle. When I am running, I do give lot of pain to my mind and body and my friends and family often wonder why I am doing this. Why I am giving myself so much pain when I can have an easy life. But I am training my mind to be ready for life challenges. I do follow the teachings of the Dalai Lama and he says, when you have met tragedy in life, you can either lose hope or be hopeful, and running has prepared me to be hopeful.

My mind often tells me to eat more and run less but I try to convince my mind that if I don’t run, I might die, but if I don’t eat unhealthy meal portions I might survive. So self-discipline comes by convincing our mind to do things we love. We all make new year resolutions to eat healthy, go to gym, read books or earn more, but how many of us have been successful in keeping those promises. To be honest, I have never been, but I do prepare my mind to run more every year.

Also, the biggest lesson that running taught me is to be calm when the whole world is against you. When I came to Australia, I got some great opportunities to work in Coles supermarket, Monash University and even at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. But I also ended up flipping burgers and chicken for less than the minimum wage and was often subject to abuse and racism. That time I wanted to take revenge and approached authorities for help. But to be honest, after nothing much happened, I kept thinking about the bad experiences again and again, which eventually harmed me the most.

Our thoughts become things, and I was more suffering from stress and anxiety due to these negative things in my mind. So, I asked myself, ‘When people abuse me and call me a loser, am I able to maintain my cool?’ People in our lives, whether at work or school, often lose control and abuse us and distract us from our vision. But if we keep thinking about that over and over again, we can’t move forward. It has always happened with me but running has taken me towards positivity and I believe every challenge is an opportunity. Self-discipline has also taught me to make the right choices in life. Running a marathon boosts my mood and increases my productivity and it also helps me to make right choices in life.

If people put as much effort into running as they do into hating others, there would be a lot more marathoners.

I live in a world today where people love me and also hate me. I know very well that no matter how great a human being or successful person I will become, there would be someone who will not like me and that is fine. I can’t force anyone to love me or like me and I always prefer to be myself. So, the most important thing is to be myself. My family never supported me completely in my running journey. They wanted me to have a decent job, get married and have bunch of kids, then probably buy a house and car and wait for my retirement. But that was their dream. My dream was to make an impact on this world before I die. I realised I have this skill of running and I can inspire people to run marathons and become more positive.

Running gives me great confidence and makes me realise that anything is possible. I have often come across people who think I am not following the norm by running so much. I have also come across people at university, school and at work who never liked me and tried to bully me or make me feel low. But I realised that if I am putting so much effort into hating them, I am harming myself. There is no doubt that where my attention goes, it grows. If I got fired from a job or I lost some one in my family, I cannot move forward if I am thinking about it again and again. We all have been in relationships, some are good, some are bad. But if I ever had a bad experience with a person, it takes me a while to forgive the person and move forward. The sooner I forget the incident, the better it is for my mental growth. I know very well, I have greater vision in life, and I do not want any hater, toxic people to make me lose my calm or focus.

I try to instead focus on my goals, my physical fitness, diet and health, which would help me grow and accomplish my goals. I want to put my entire focus on my running, and it would eventually help me forget all negative energy (hatred, jealousy, revenge) inside me. If I can focus on other people to start running marathons, I would not only be able to save lives of people suffering from stress and anxiety, but also there would be more marathon runners. Running has also taught me that it is not just about hating others, but our purpose is to serve, give respect to others and give back to the world. The former President of United States, John F. Kennedy once said: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country.’ I clearly resonate with this line as I believe there is no point of my education, if I am not able to make an impact, save lives and contribute to this fast-changing world.

I consider myself to be privileged enough to be able to study in a reputed university in Australia. I studied International Relations with some core units of Media and Communications. I have a great enthusiasm for Media, Film and Journalism, as I believe they have the power to shift culture and form public opinion. I wish to use my education in giving back to the under privileged world. I am very well aware some people live in very difficult parts of the world, without proper education, food, water or housing, and trust me, poverty is not a very good experience.

People suffer from various kinds of mental illness due to extreme poverty and I am grateful, my situation is a lot better than theirs. I realised, I have everything to be grateful for. But sometimes, when my attention goes towards negative stories, I do suffer from fear and stress. Due to my background in journalism, I love watching news on TV. But sometimes, when I come across some disturbing news on Facebook or on TV, it really upsets me and makes me feel low for few days. I am pretty sure journalists come across some of the very difficult stories related to crime and drugs, and it could impact their mental health. At the same time, interviewing some of the world’s most extraordinary people and famous people is also a rewarding job. But I have recently tried to consume less media content as sometimes it might consume us, and we might become more fearful and anxious. Media has the ability to form public opinion and today I still love media, but I consume its content in a limited manner.

I remember watching the Australian Story episode that focused on Mina Guli, who ran 60 marathons in 60 days. This was a really inspiring media content. Such stories should be highlighted, creating a positive impact in our lives. I love watching movies as well, which inspire me and are based on true life events. The more I consume positive content, the more I attract positive people in my life. I am a big fan of British adventurer Bear Grylls. I love watching his show Man vs Wild on the Discovery channel, which is one of the most watched show on the planet. I recently watched the episode in which he interviewed former US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi in nature, around wildlife and natural habitats. Such media content keeps my adrenaline running and motivates me to run often.

Whenever I run marathons, I come across some extraordinary people who are leaders in their field. I like running in nature, as some of the runs I did in the past were in the forest. I recently did a half marathon in Victoria, Australia, called the Forrest Trail Run.

According to English dictionary, ‘trail’ means a beaten path through the countryside, and if the word ‘running’ is added to it, it becomes an adventurous sporting activity which combines running and hiking on steep gradients and unpaved surface. I wasn’t much aware of trail running, until I experienced one. I was fortunate enough to experience 100% pure trail running at the Run Forrest Race, held at a village situated on the banks of the Barwon River and located roughly an hour drive from regional city of Geelong and nearly two hours’ drive from Melbourne.

I am so grateful to my two new mates Katryna and Simon, who informed me about this adventure, and we decided to do the 21km (half marathon) challenge. The race kicked off at 10am which gave us plenty of time to drive from Melbourne to the starting point, where we collected our bibs. It was a cold Sunday morning and I realised that the temperature was even lower than expected, by seeing a km long queue to take a leak at the few temporary portable toilets set up for the event. While Simon and I decided to relieve ourselves in the bushes as we couldn’t wait for that long, Kat (Katryna) patiently waited in the queue and finally her turn came very close to the starting time of the race. In fact, the organizers of the race delayed the start for another 10 minutes, observing the queue of people waiting to relieve themselves.

We started the trail run following the Barwon River along the famous Red Carpet to Lake Elizabeth at around 10:10am. It was one of the most magnificent experience of my life. I felt like I was inside a video game or a movie like Jumanji, surrounded by ferns, on a covered single track, and fast downhill corners giving us the feeling of a rollercoaster ride.

We hiked and jogged through the beautiful fern surroundings, past the majestic Lake Elizabeth and experienced several cambered turns and fast down hills with great sense of energy. The trails reminded me of the rollercoaster marathon I did in Dandenong two years ago, although it was much easier compared to it. There were three water stations along the route: one at the 5.5km mark, the next at 8km and the final one at the 16km.

I was so glad to see some amazing volunteers at these water stations, who were also there to ensure the safety of all the runners. While trail running sounds very adventurous, it could also turn out to be deadly if the weather is not that great. At around halfway mark, I saw a giant tree completely uprooted and blocking the trail, perhaps due to heavy wind or rain last night. I was grateful the weather was very pleasant while we were running, and a bit sunny, as we progressed throughout the day. We were roughly able to finish the race in under three hours. Among the three of us, Simon was the first who finished the 21km challenge in around 2 hours and 25 minutes, followed by me and Kat.

Along the way I met some amazing other runners who also ran the Great Ocean Road Marathon with me in May 2019 and joined for Surf Coast Century later in September 2019. Alan, another runner I met during this trail, informed me that he really liked my blog on running 60km ultra marathon at the Great Ocean Road. I definitely felt honoured, and this kept me motivated to keep running and keep writing. While I have completed roughly 20 marathons now, every marathon is a lesson not just to be fit and healthy, but it teaches me how to live a meaningful life. Often after every run, I do a simple mistake of eating a lot, as I generally fast before the run. It works for me, but I do not recommend this for other runners, as all of us have different food habits. This time I had decided not to eat too much but have something light just after the race. Luckily, a soup festival coincided with the event and was located at the Forrest Football Oval.

The ‘Otway Soup Festival’ featured some homemade soups, pickles, homebrew beers and wines, books, art, clothes and a fresh market stall. In fact, in the name of soup, there was almost everything available for sale. We enjoyed the lentil soup and some deep golden fried potatoes in the form of spiral. It was a great recreational moment after a wonderful run.

The best thing I like about running in mother nature is that it brings people together. It crosses boundaries, culture, language and helps us feel united with positivity.

A marathon will help you discover your strengths, you never knew you had.

There is a saying, Once in a lifetime, one will find a hobby that will change everything. Yes, every one of us is doing some kind of a job to pay our bills. But I am asking what are you doing to realise your full potential. We all have some kind of hobby or unique talent, but are we able to find time to explore it? Some of my friends, when they have a job title or power, they feel confident; some of my friends when they have a bank balance, they feel confident; some when they go to gym and build muscles, they get confidence; some when they sleep or do yoga they get confidence; some when they eat the food of their choice or spend times with their loved ones they feel energetic and elated. I get confidence when I run ultra marathons. I am the happiest person in the world at the finish line of a marathon. It also gives me confidence that if I can run long distances like 60km or 100 km, I can do anything. Everything seems unachievable unless somebody has done it.

I believe pain makes us stronger, fear makes us braver and failure makes us better. Running marathons is an important part of my life. It can teach us how to live a purposeful life. Life is full of challenges and obstacles, and running a marathon prepares us to overcome the challenges of our lives, whether it is our career, relationships or health. I remember running often and posting on social media. It is not always that I get positive comments from my friends and family. Some supported me and some were critical of my passion. For some of my friends and family members, having a job status, money and power is more significant than running 100km. I come from a small village in India, where there are only two professions which are considered to being successful – Doctors and Engineers or Civil Servants. I love neither of these professions so basically, I was considered a failure.

While I am not a doctor who saves lives, I am a runner who is able to save lives by inspiring people to run. I realised God has given me this unique skill and I can use it to inspire people who are suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. It helps me recover from any kind of mental illness. It is a hobby which I am very much proud of. It teaches me to face struggle but never quit. Every marathon I did, it taught me to fail. Yes, we all want to succeed in our lives. Nobody wants to be poor, trust me it is not a great thing, as it leads to mental illness. But do we have the courage to fail? It is my dream to run marathons and ultra marathons in some of the extreme places in the world. But obviously I need to be financially strong in order to being able to fulfill this dream.

People have called me a failure and have given up on me, but it is very important for me to believe in myself. Every time I run, I become more positive in life. Running is a meditation and makes me realise that through all the hard work I did, and even though I haven’t been able to achieve what I want, I am not going to give up. I still have hope, as hope is the most powerful word in English dictionary. I am at the brink of something great.

The hardest run is running alone, but it also makes you strongest.

Running has taught me how to enjoy my own company instead of expecting someone else to make me happy. Yes, we live in a world today where technology has become our priority over people. There is so much noise from parents’, society’s, partners’ and friends’ expectations. We are feeling lonely sometimes because we are not able to connect the dots with the people around us. You might be very different and unique from the rest of the people around you. We don’t always have to think inside the box.

The things that have helped me improve my quality of life is by doing what I love, surrounding myself with positive people. It’s better to have a couple of great friends than 1000 friends on social media, who are not happy to see you succeed. Having a clear vision and focus, working hard, being creative, spreading positivity, taking risks and staying away from drama, have helped me a lot.

You might have the most expensive house in the world, but if you are eating dinner alone in that house, trust me it is not a great thing. Loneliness is equal to smoking ten cigarettes a day. It could affect our mental wellbeing. But it is also believed that people who are alone are always the strongest.

The biggest example I can think of is my dad, who never married again after the death of my mother in 2002. He has been lonely since and trust me being lonely at old age is not very great for our health. We all need a life partner who encourages us, support us and help us when in need. Trust me, I cannot run alone 100km, although I might be able to do 50km alone. We all need motivation, encouragement in our journey.

I have often met some amazing support from strangers, which makes my life much easier while running long distances. The human body is capable of achieving limitless things and our possibilities are endless. This is what running has taught me. And most importantly, I have met limitless humans in every marathon.

A strong person alone can also achieve limitless things. It’s just a year ago that I was watching the training of the French Foreign Legion, one of the most brutal military assault courses on the planet. The training prepares armed men to survive in the toughest situations on the planet. It also helps them to make crucial decisions at various stages under pressure.

Some of my favourite shows are Canadian-Australian adventurer Todd Sampson’s Body Hack and Redesign my Brain, in which Todd trains with soldiers in the Amazon forest. It is so inspiring that I felt like everything is achievable even when you are alone. The ten-day test called toughen up is designed to test the resilience of soldiers in the French Foreign Legion. When I run marathons, I feel that my job is much easier than this training.

Running 42km is not a big deal compared to the training of the legion. In the training often some soldiers reach a breaking point and give up. But sometimes the hardest kind of training teaches us some great lessons. Every failure is a step closer to success. For many people, just running a marathon is a big deal. For me running 100km is a big deal but it is my dream to run a 217 km ultra marathon called Down Under 135, which is one of the toughest courses in Australia.

It takes two days of non-stop running but hopefully I will qualify for that race by being able to finish Ultra Trail Australia 100km in the blue mountains in New South Wales. These are big dreams and I prefer to stay positive and focused in my running journey. I do also care about injury, as all dreams could be shattered, if I don’t take precautions and injure my legs. I run alone sometimes for many reasons, but it always comes back to self-satisfaction. And finally, running alone makes me realise that we all need to remove that voice of self-doubt inside our head.

The best way to recover from injury is to run more.

While this running rule might sound bit inappropriate, it works for me. To be honest, there are no rules to running. You just have to register and turn up on the day of marathon and have some belief in yourself. Some people take a rest after a marathon, but I prefer to hit the gym and do some recovery exercises. It eventually helps me recover. Of course, we need proper sleep and food after running long distances but running on treadmill and doing some squats in the gym also helps me recover from the pain.

Every one of us are different so people might have other ways of recovery. One thing I always observe that we have lot of life coaches, personal trainers and yoga gurus who call themselves influencers and try to create positive impact on people’s lives. But my question is, ‘Are you practicing what you are preaching?’ I am a runner, and if I am writing a book on running, I am expected to run a few marathons.

I love to take actions and inspire people by my work and not just give speech. Many of my friends who cannot run even 10km, when they see my post of social media, they get a hope that if I can do it, so they can as well. I inspire people to come out of their comfort zone, give something a go and ignore the naysayers.

I remember injuring myself seriously at the 70 km Himalayan race, and at the 21km challenge in Mount Dandenong in Victoria. It took me few weeks to recover, I couldn’t afford to visit a physiotherapist, but I went to gym regularly and rubbed my knee over the roller. It eventually helped me recover from the injury. Similarly, we might also be injured in our lives, not always physically, but mentally. A tragedy might strike in our lives and it might be difficult to recover from it. But the more we run and take care of our physical and mental wellbeing, the more we will be able to recover from tragedies. If you just focus and never give up, you will overcome every obstacle in life.

Pain is one thing, suffering is another: suffering happens in the mind. Once you detach from that, you can handle the pain. And it makes you tougher and stronger. There are so many success stories I have seen, whether it is of a celebrity, an actor, or a sportsperson. They all have suffered from hard lives and have come back strong. Through practice, hard work and more importantly through research and education, anything is possible. We need to believe in ourselves, when the whole world is against us. Experience teaches us a lot in life. Every marathon I run is an experience, and it is preparing me to accomplish something big in life. It helps me to find resilience, strength, understanding and awareness. It also helps me know that life is just like a sport, and we need to play it well.

Every time I wake up before a marathon day, I am full of curiosity, enthusiasm and excitement. I am never unhappy. I have experienced anxiety, stress and depression in my life, and we all go through ups and downs in our lives, but the most important thing is to keep moving forward. The ups and downs in our lives are like the track of a marathon. We have to just keep moving along the track with a clear vision or destination in mind. Every adversity comes with a blessing, we just have to find it. I can give a thousand excuses for not being able to run 100km, but I know very well the feeling at the finish line is worth trying hard. I very well know how difficult it gets close to the finish line. The last 20km will almost kill me, but if I keep on going, I would be able to fulfill that dream. If I am able to convince my mind that it is achievable, then everything is possible.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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