What 2 years of consistent running taught me,.. apart from fitness!

Hi everyone! Today is 4th May, 2020 and well, it is a special day for me because it marks as exactly 2 years since I started running.

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So, why am I writing this article?

The last 2 years have been the most lucrative and productive years of my life at the physical level, academic level and spiritual level. And the only reason for that is because I got into running regularly.

PS: I am NOT writing this article to tell you to run or exercise.

But was it only “running”, well not exactly! There were some learnings I got, and some characteristics I earned in the process of running.

And I am writing this article to highlight the most powerful learnings I got and share them with you so that everyone of you can get to be aware of them and hopefully, incorporate them in your lives. :)

But before that, I’ll tell in brevity about what caused me to start running in the first place.

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PS: Feel free to skip this section if you wanna straight away jump to my learnings ;)

Time travel to 4th May 2018 — Where the fire was kindled!

Vacations just began some days ago, so I was chilling at home. My father returned from work early that day coz it was a Friday so well, weekend feels!

So, we all were sitting in my grandma’s room having fun conversations and Dad asked me do you know your weight?

I said, “No Papa! Makes me kinda worried!”

He said, “Umm. Ok, do you know about your Blood Pressure reading?”

I said, “No”

He said, “Well, let’s do this. Let’s all check our weights and Blood Pressure readings.”

I said, “Please, I don’t mind checking the Blood Pressure in front of you but I want to check my weight alone :(”

He was fine with that. So, he picked out the blood pressure monitor and started checking everyone’s blood pressure.

Daadi’s (grandma’s) BP reading came out to be fine. Mummy’s reading too was fine. Papa’s reading was great coz he exercises regularly.

Then, came my turn.

And my Blood pressure reading was 175

175! One hundred and freaking seventy five!

120 it was supposed to be and my reading was 175, at this young age!

And dad got afraid for me, he didn’t agree but I knew he was.

Later on I checked my weight expecting that it would around 90kgs max. but it came out to be 102 Kgs!

102 freaking Kgs! I was 6ft. tall exact so you can imagine how fat I was.

My BMI was around 31. That was Obese. Again, not overweight, I was Obese!

And that’s where it all began. The fear of a short and tough life. The fear of being under-confident. The fear of being judged for my looks.

The fear of being “that fat kid”.

After that

Since then, I have been running consistently for 2 years and thankfully received some remarkable changes and achievements in my life apart from reduced weight and loosened clothes XD.

(I have mentioned those achievements or rather the earnings, at the end of this article to emphasize how legit this is and how truly this habit has changed my life)

But as I mentioned in the beginning, it was not only running but mostly it were the characteristics, the shift in attitude towards life, the spiritual learnings which I got through doing something physically painful yet rejoicing for my body for 2 years.

And here are those realizations or epiphanies or learnings or… well, you get the idea.

So, let’s begin!

Learning 1). The way you dress MATTERS! The way you look MATTERS!

Until 2 years ago, I used to feel that looks don’t matter and one should not be judged by one’s looks or dressing sense. So, I didn’t use to think about dressing well either. I used to dress really bad like even while going to classes or going out with friends, I used to wear an oversized pair of track pants, a XXL T-shirt and a pair of slippers because being fat, buying clothes was a tough job and always a reminder to me about how fat I was. So, I hated buying new clothes for different occasions and all.

But after getting into running and losing some weight, I improved my dressing sense, tried to look nice and tidy when going out or to classes or anywhere. And believe me, the shift on how strangers or even my acquaintances interacted with me was massive AF. How relatively easier it became to deal with teachers or anyone else.There was zero change in the way I talked or acted, it was just that I dressed better and hence, looked better.

Coz as they say,

Jo dikhta hai, woh bikta hai! (Whatever is visible, that is sold)

And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s human nature. You get judged by your first impression and well, your dressing sense and your looks do emanate a huge portion of your personality in the first impression.

Learning 2). Discipline is going to be your BEST friend throughout your life. Read it again!

What I am going to say right now might be pretty controversial but please bear with me.

I believe that many of us or rather most of us have been parented or schooled or taught about discipline in the wrong way. In our childhoods, all of our superiors tried to impose the habit of discipline on us and their intentions were totally right coz they wanted us to be disciplined.

But their execution was wrong because majority of us ended up considering discipline as an uncomfortable place or state.

We thought that it was much more fun to be indisciplined. But the truth is opposite! And I realized this fact months after getting into the habit of running because staying consistent with things like running instills the habit of discipline.

And running changed my outlook towards discipline totally!

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Here are my 7 realizations for discipline!

Discipline is comfortable.

Discipline makes you feel safe and secure.

Discipline makes sure that you get what you deserve.

Discipline guards you from regret and guilt.

Discipline gives you self-worth and confidence.

Discipline never betrays you.

Discipline keeps you happy!

Learning 3). It’s never too late to do it. And you can always adjust time for it, if it’s worth it. ALWAYS!

One of the most impactful learnings I got from running. This might sound mainstream but bear with me.

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Since my childhood, despite being chubby, I have been actively involved in physical activities but still throughout the years, I never had the discipline to stick to a consistent ritual of physical workout like running to work for my body.

And on reaching the 2nd year of my college, I kinda assumed that it’s pretty late for me to start working out considering the time restriction imposed by academics.

But that was a horrific lie. Despite saving the so-called “time” by not running or working out, I still messed up massively in my 2nd year in all prospects, academics, my body, my projects, a failed remote internship and my time.

And when I got into my 3rd year and got into the habit of running, I realised that time was never the issue, it was the indiscipline and procrastination which ruined my 2nd year.

In the 3rd year, I ran everyday, I worked on my academics, I did a freelance gig, I got a remote internship and worked on it and prepared for my cloud certification. All done all together and still I was able to find some time everyday to relax.

So,

Time was and will “never” be the constraint. But your intentions might be. Don’t lie to yourself then!

Learning 4). Stop over-romanticizing the goal. The real essence is the “Journey”

I started running with a target of achieving the body weight of 89 Kgs because I had that weight when I entered the college and it looked pretty fine. And I was able to reach 89–90 Kgs by focusing on this goal or target.

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Till then, I didn’t “enjoy” running. I still considered it something painful and disturbing. I wasn’t considering running as a lifestyle. It was kinda fun but still it was uncomfortable for me. I only liked it because it gave me confidence and stuff. Only discipline was the reason I still ran.

But well, my outlook changed when July 2019 happened.

Campus placements began in my college and well, with it came the initial failures of not grabbing the offers and hence, the dark shadows of inferiority complex and impostor syndrome invaded my mind. Even talking to my best friends didn’t help. But the most unexpected thing drove me out of the grip of those negative feelings.

And that was running.

Everyday I ran, I felt relieved, I felt motivated, I felt gushed with adrenaline and life.

And there it was, the addiction for running! Running became the teleportal to positivity and creativity!

Running became my escapism. Running became my meditation.

I thought, “I am probably liking to run because it relieves my stress but after I hopefully get a placement offer, then I might start not liking running again”

But that’s not what happened. Even after getting the placement offer, I stayed addicted to running.

I started enjoying the journey of running rather than the thirst of reaching 89 Kgs of weight.

Then, in around 2 weeks, I checked my weight and it was 87.5 Kgs. I was very happy. Finally, I went past my goal, I felt confident. Running changed my life for real.

But still, I craved to run not only because it made me fit but it made me happy.

That was my realization, my epiphany that it’s not the reduced weight that I am cherishing, it’s the journey of reaching this state, it’s the accumulated experiences and feelings of running which made me exulted.

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And since then till today, I am addicted towards running. Currently, my weight is 72 Kgs. and I never thought even in my wildest dreams that I would lose 30 Kgs. without giving up and achieve fitness.

But honestly, without being modest here, I genuinely don’t feel that it took “thaaaaaat” effort because again, I stopped considering running as an activity of pain and started considering it as an activity of fun and happiness and that’s what made this all seem easy rather than tooo tough and painstaking.

So, what I want to convey is that

Goals are meant to give you direction and path but when you start walking on that path, you gotta stop focusing on the goal and start enjoying the journey.

Your love for journey will make you surpass your goals even without you being aware of that!

“Running” gifted me these things

These things I have been able to achieve through running or through the characteristics instilled by it

PS: I am writing this section to emphasize on how legitimately running changed my life. Feel free to skip this section if you want :)

  • A weight loss of 30 Kgs from 102 Kgs to 72 Kgs.
  • Increasing my non-stop running stamina from 200 metres to 7.2 Kilometres.
  • Improving academically from a ruined CGPA.
  • Securing freelancing gigs.
  • Securing an international internship.
  • Securing one of the top cloud certifications.
  • Getting placement offer from a top financial firm.

All of these things for which I am extremely thankful for, having been possible only due to running or due to the habits instilled in me through running.

End note

What I wanted to convey through this article was that just take up a positive habit which requires consistency and feeds in discipline. It can be anything, running, gyming, whatever. And you’ll see your life changing much faster than you think in front of your eyes!

Thank you so much everyone for being a part of my story! Can’t wait to be a part of yours.

Until next time my friends,

Adios!

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Site Reliability Engineer @ Red Hat | ex-Grofers | Contributing to {Cloud, Kubernetes}-native OSS

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Yashvardhan Kukreja

Yashvardhan Kukreja

Site Reliability Engineer @ Red Hat | ex-Grofers | Contributing to {Cloud, Kubernetes}-native OSS

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