A decade is a long time. The last one has seen a big paradigm shift for me. As I look ahead, into the unknown, here are the highlights of each year as I grew as a woman, a mother, and an athlete.
Me taking charge of my life, from coping with things, I started “Living”. The children were growing up quickly and I was settling down into a routine of work and running. Things were looking up and I was smiling more.
I joined Savio’s running group and was surrounded by inspiration. I ran my first race out of town- ADHM (Delhi) and I was addicted. To the laughter, the challenges, the dreams, and the pain.
I turned 40. In your 20s, you’re so busy living life and dealing with stuff without thinking about the “why”. Fast-forward to your 40s, and you’ve developed that steel that says: I’ve messed around long enough; now I’ll do what I like and I’ll do it well! Inspired by my new running group, I ran my first Marathon that year!
When I crossed that finish line I knew that I had found my race.
When I crossed that finish line, I knew that I was a new person.
I learned a very important lesson that year, “All dreams come true if we have the power to pursue them.”
The more I ran, the happier I became. The repetitive running motion allowed my thoughts to meander, and me, to introspect. I wrote more. And by my second marathon, “Parul’s boys” became real thing! With shared pain, we shared stories, our joys and well…runners don’t have many sorrows!
I learned the meaning of the word “Success” as I set a challenging goal for SCMM that year, trained for it and ran it to plan.
My strongest finish ever.
My most focused race ever.
The seed to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 2016 was sown then. I learned the meaning of grit, determination and understood how the hunger to accomplish something could ignite a fire.
My book was released. I had always wanted to write a book as a kid, although I never knew what it would be about. Running, along with everything else that it gave me, gave me a book with my name on it. Writing and getting it published was a marathon in itself! The heartaches and setbacks were real-life lessons.
I got so much support from so many people. Runners, friends, family. When I shared my story, so many came forward and shared theirs with me. My small world just exploded and I was enveloped with affection and respect.
2016: Impossible is nothing
The race I ran in Rotterdam, was a culmination of 3 years’ work, sweat, pain, and single-minded dedication. While training for this race I left no stone unturned to make it happen. Demolishing the demons in my head, one by one, I understood that all that was in my control, was the training. The outcome would be what it would. So, I gave it my best. I had started by being amongst the slower runners, but I worked hard and made the impossible happen, by qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
The highlight of 2017 was running Boston, with the electric energy of the city and the support of family In Boston, I felt super special and free! It was a 4-year dream come to fruition.
2018: Recklessness and Tenacity
I started at the bottom of the barrel with swimming and cycling… For a long time I was splashing away to glory and just not moving. As for my cycling, no one could understand why I was so slow. I learned there were other ways to stop a bike rather than by falling off it! I did not realise then, that doggedness had become a part of my personality. I had signed up for the Goa triathlon recklessly, I completed it with tenacity.
2019: Becoming: Triathlete and Self
Call it impatience, or perhaps a clearer sense that I want to live in the here and now, I started making room in my life for the things that really matter. People, time and adventure. I set myself a new challenge by doing the Triathlon. Swimming in the ocean was really the one that took me back to my childhood with my third grade fear of the hindi exam. I took the time to learn the nuances of the new sport, learned to laugh at myself and spent time sipping black coffee, slowly. With a clear eye, I saw the world as it is today, and yet choose to be, lightheaded.
I have found Happiness.
Happiness, I have learned, is a by-product and not a goal.
It is the effect of your actions.
Happiness is what you feel when you do things you love.
And I have found Love.
Over the last decade, my family has expanded to include runners, triathletes, swimmers, all wonderful, inspiring mad people and more and the inner circle remains as tight as ever.
Above all, I am grateful.
“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.”
An extract from my blog post of 31st Dec 2009:
“But nothing major happened all of last year! And I think that it’s not the big stuff but the moments which made us smile, laugh, cry. Things which made us pause our daily machinery to reflect, think and ruminate.”
My wish for the next decade:
“For air to brighten, to be dazzled and for the heart to lighten.”