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Sujatha RajeshMy re-entry into athletics and long distance running: a tussle of mind over body!
I have been an avid sportsperson since my childhood days, having represented my state in long jump for 2 years. I discontinued sports after joining college as it demanded 5 hours of training everyday after attending full time classes and needed total dedication to the activity. So quit I did!
Sedentary lifestyle and demands of education, career, home, marriage completely took control of the next 3 decades, with a brief break of 2 years when I enrolled for a black belt program in karate at the age of 35, along with the rest of my family.  We became known as the formidable foursome, all acquiring the first Dan in 2-3 years.
After the rigors of karate, business shifted gears and I had sunk myself in work that demanded straddling 2 disparate time zones and growing children, needing full attention from parents. Pounds started piling on, despite all possible attempts at yoga, gym, even a shot at liposuction to cut away the flab! To add to the already hectic schedule, in came 3 adorable dogs we adopted off the streets, which sealed the available personal time.  Slowly age started catching up with the body as I entered my forties. My vitamin D levels dropped, my plantar fascia pain reached epic proportions, my prevailing urinary incontinence, after birth of my daughter, precluded me from even walking fast without accidents, continuous body aches and feeling of fatigue/ tiredness throughout the day shook me up badly!
I resolved that I needed to set right my physical disadvantages and get back to active life. I have known some of the DR/ BD runners for several years and seeing them achieve immense personal satisfaction due to an active sporting life spurred me.
Come June 2015, I took the first step towards being in charge of my fitness. I started to take long walks initially to bring up my cardio and stamina to levels that would allow me to take baby steps towards resuming running, something that I was a natural at, during my school days. I still remember the first 100 metres I jogged on the Bessie beach in the month of June. I was completely out of breath and ashamed of myself!
Seeing my walks everyday, Viji Swaminathan and Dr. Anand requested me to join Bessie Dreamers for a more focused training program. Viji advised me to sign up for a 10 K at the Wipro Marathon as a strong motivation and I did. But I refused to join the team as I had to adjust my timings drastically, I was still taking treatment for my incontinence and was unsure of being able to manage my dogs’ morning schedules. I did promise them that I would make the transition smoothly and finally joined them in Oct 2015 after having run independently for about 1.5 months.
From then, it has been an exhilarating journey! It was like I found my calling.  I love training in a group, I enjoy the short and long runs, the core and stretches workout by our coach.  I am like an over enthusiastic kid, kicked and charged during my training hours. I am sure all my mates would vouch for it. Yes, my plantar fascia hurts, more than ever.. I take physiotherapy sessions, do self help exercises at home to contain the pain, but my will to run does not diminish. It’s a high that incomparable! I seek immense pleasure in sharing our activities and workout on our FB groups, which can help in motivating the fencers to rejoin! Being in the group encouraged me to participate and complete the strenuous 10K 10-day challenge despite adverse conditions. However, I also listen to my body and when my feet acts up, I take it easy.
I have miles to go, literally, but seeing the accomplishments of runners that form this active fraternity , it keeps the enthusiasm flaming!