Sunday, January 22, 2017

Running Journey 2016 with Team Asha!

In 2016, my hubs and I wanted to do something good and noble. After some thoughts, we started to bake cakes for friends, family and in return, would ask them to donate money towards any cause that they would want to support. To read more about that click - Both of us were in full form when we started this. With full-time job, it was pretty hectic but as Manoj’s mom was here, we got her in our baking regime and hence it became manageable :)

Later that month, I signed up all three of us to Asha Spring run (5k) which was happening on April 10, 2016. I was super excited because we had our mom running with us. How cool is that? She is a woman of courage and dedication and she happily agreed to join us for the run, which made me ecstatic.

The Asha Spring run was very well organized, had high energy vibes and consisted of lot of health-aware people. The best part of the run was it was our’s mom first 5k and she was feeling full of energy even after the run. It was due to the energy from the people around us. Also this is the first time Manoj’s mom was visiting us after our marriage. We had a great family bonding time as a result of this event J Second best thing was the amazing food – Yummy hot khichdi with bagel and cream-cheese is all you need after your run and Team Asha had got us covered!!!

At Spring run - with friends and family!

I was very inspired with the coaches speech about how important it is to be aware of your own health, take care of it, do it the right way and at the same time do good for the society specially by educating the under-privileged kids in India. Team Asha is a volunteer-driven charity organization that provides marathon, biking and triathlon training program and help people to realize their fitness goals. They work to bring socio-economic change in India through education of the under privileged children. I could immediately align it with my goal of doing ‘something’ for the society and playing a little part to make our country a better place to live in.

Team Asha - Train. Run. Educate

After the run, they announced Team Asha is holding a brief information session about various programs they provide trainings for. I immediately registered for it. After a few days, I attended this session and got adrenaline rushed and wanted to immediately go out for a run. (Yes this is true!)  Generally, I get this rush after hearing Narendra Modi’s speech and want to get out of the chair/sofa and just do something but I have no idea what? In this case I knew what I wanted to do J Listening to all the coaches and the volunteers share their personal experiences about themselves starting from ground zero I felt as if it was all do-able. Although somewhere in my heart I was questioning myself if I would be able to do it (a full marathon). I was debating if I should sign up for half or full marathon. By the end of this session, I had made up my mind that I want to get up and just do it. Without trying I wont even know if it was possible.  After consulting coach Naresh, the plan laid out for me was to do a half marathon in season 1 and target a full marathon by the end of season 2. This day is when my journey began!

The running program started with a lot of things like splitting all the Asha runners in separate smaller groups based on their preference of best-suited location and time for the runs, assigning them to different google groups and mentors, setting up fund-raising stories for ourselves, shoe-clinic, fund-raising clinic, setting up week’s running schedule, track and hill training schedule, shopping for the right shoes, fuel belts, foam-roller, tracker and endless number of other things. The execution of this was so smooth that I didn’t realize the transition from not doing any of these to doing all of these. I realize I did so much in the year 2016 when I retrospect 2016 today!

All gearing up!

Weekly tracking log
Day after day, week after week there was so much to learn from all the coaches and mentors in Asha Program. Quoting coach Rajeev -  Fitness should be one’s habit and not a hobby” and I could see myself getting into that rhythm slowly and gradually. Recently I attended Shark Daymond John’s information session about Growing and Starting Successful Businesses, where he talked about how a human’s body and mind gets programmed to think and act in the direction what their companions are talking about. I could immediately co-relate it with my experience with Team Asha and how it programmed me to think and act differently.

Journey with Team Asha had been amazing that I still cannot forget the kind of care and support our coaches, mentors and co-ords showered upon us.  Be it guiding us with the running techniques like run-walk method to right running postures to answer any questions regarding women, periods and running. The reminder email coming out on weekdays at 4:30 PM from our mentors to have a light snack would actually bring tears to my eyes :’( So much care? I used to miss mom and dad during that time. Team Asha had covered all aspects of training.

With my Baylands PM group!

With Team Asha PC: Venkat
One of the roles each Asha runner plays is that of a fund-raiser. Every one who signs up for Asha program has to raise 900$ in around six months for education of the under-privileged kids in India. When the Asha program started we received guidance on ways how to raise funds. My ride for fund-raising (FR) had been pretty easy. I combined it with my “Bake for charity” idea and was able to raise $1681 in the three months. I would like to thank all the donors from the bottom of my heart to stand by me towards educating the under-privileged kids in India.

Thanks to all of you :-)
Unfortunately (yes, there is an unfortunate part in this journey as well) on 4th of July, on my way back to California from a family trip to Canada, I twisted my ankle, lost control and fell on my leg. Upon getting an x-ray, doctors found out that it was a fracture with a minor ligament tear. Doctors suggested me to focus on a 12 week recovery program. From a running program, I was on a recovery program; L I started missing my runs and so I immediately emailed the coaches about what had happened.  My coaches responded with all the tips and tricks to help my ankle heal properly. All of them concentrated on the fact not to hurry and give the ankle its time to heal completely.

During this inactive time of my running journey, I was still an integrated part of Team Asha as the mentors and my running buddies would keep checking on me and progress of my sprained ankle. I helped tracking bibs of runners for the SF marathon. I felt a different kind of high that day. I wanted to quickly come out of that sofa and stop watching and fearing “Winter is coming” and get back to running as soon as I can. I started physical therapy routine and continued till I gained the full range of motion. By the time I fully recovered, our plan for India was right around the corner.
After injury Baylands PM meet up 

Ice and Stim after Physical therapy
Fast forwarding it to today, I feel now is the time when I want to get back into my shoes and start running and make my dream of running a full marathon happen this year. I would like to thank each and everyone from Team Asha and would like you to know that each one of you have made a considerable difference in my life. 

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