Presently, I am the security head of a thermal power plant near Delhi. I joined the Indian Navy in 2007 through CDS Exam as a permanent commission officer and after my commissioning went for the Marcos (Marine Commandos) course where every day long runs became an indispensable part of my life. Before that I did a diving course in the Navy, which also included a lot of running and swimming. However, due to being seasick, I was not comfortable on board ships while sailing at sea and therefore switched over to corporate life in 2012.
What motivated you to run?
I always wanted to join the armed forces since my mother’s side complete family has been in the Army and I was told that one needs to be physically fit to join the Army. This was my biggest motivation for running.
Why do you enjoy it?
I have been thoroughly enjoying the running because it’s a time when I am completely with myself and that too without getting bored of a particular location since running is all about exploring new places and going from one place to another. This is why I like running in the ground rather than on a treadmill. One of the unique things about my running is that I always keep on chanting while running, so it’s more like a spiritual run and it helps me in getting connected to the Almighty. I generally run with an open mind and open eyes while looking here & there since I really like the natural beauty. It’s a transcendental experience for me which is a blend of stamina building, spirituality and sightseeing.
What is that you don’t like about running?
There is nothing that I dislike about running except the sprains that I develop when I stretch my limits for longer runs recklessly. Sometimes, they demand complete rest, which really bothers me. I wish there were no sprains due to running, but this wish is a surreal one, and not practical.
How do you take care of the injuries?
However, I do take care of my injuries by giving them proper attention and giving my body complete rest for that duration. If it’s a serious injury, I do take Physio sessions as well along with prescribed medicines and precautions. The concept of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation) really helps me recover faster.
Your best experience in running till date
Till date, my best experience in running has been that of the Ultra-Marathon of the 100 km which I ran in November last year at Bhatti Mines jungle area near Tughlaqabad in Delhi. It was a wonderful experience. I had no previous practice of any Ultra-Marathon and I straight away enrolled myself for this 100 km, considering it achievable. However, while running I realized that it wasn’t that easy that I had envisaged. The terrain was really challenging and with every passing hour, it was becoming more and more difficult to continue running. Although, it was the second week of November, still the heat was on and it wasn’t relenting in at all. There were many ditches and rough patches on the track, and lack of signage boards was making it even tougher to get an idea of our pace and track. Night run was even more horrible as there was practically zero visibility and my torchlight wasn’t helping at all. I took 17 hours to complete the race and I must say it felt like a few achievements
Tips for beginners
However, going forward, I can share a few tips for the beginners. And the first and the foremost is that one must do warm up exercise before running and cooling down exercise after running. The thumb rule is that if you run for 20 minutes, you should do warm up for 20 minutes as well and also the cooling down for the same amount of time. Although, once you become habitual, you can reduce the duration of these exercises. Secondly, one must run with as comfortable shoes as possible since our shoes play a vital role in our running life. If one ignores the foot gears, he may end up losing run forever. And third and the last, that you must be regular with running but at the same time, you should not overstretch. I would suggest running 2-3 km thrice a week for beginner’s.
How you take care of your diet?
I take vegetarian diet with low carbs and fat. But, after and before running I do take carbs like Banana and sweet potatoes. I rely heavily on nuts, seeds and milk. And I suggest everyone to drink at least 7-8 litres of water every day if they are running moderately.
How do you unwind?
Talking specifically about unwinding, I do it by taking a hot water bath and meditating. But, one can adopt their own ways of unwinding which suits them better.
(The story teller is Mr. Bhaskar Shukla)