My journey from hating running to running a full – by Sarika Padwalkar

by Sarika Padwalkar

I was not much active during my school and college days. It’s when I met my husband, around 14 years ago, that I started going to the gym and since then I have tried to be regular with my weight training.

I used to despise cardio and never thought of road running. I still remember when my husband and I use to go on a morning walk, he insisted me to run but it was always a big NO from me.

One day, at the behest of a friend I ran my first 3km (with just 2 days of practice) in one of the LSOM events. I completed the run in 21 min. More than the run I enjoyed the atmosphere and the crowd. I enjoyed it so much that I started registering almost all 3km & 5 km events that I came across. By the time I realized that registering these events was digging a hole in my pocket it was too late!

I had started to enjoy running as a sport and started dreaming about running 10k, 15k and 21km. That’s when I decided that I should train regularly and register only for specific events :). Training regularly was not easy for me as I am a working mother of a five-year-old, my parents and in-laws live in Mumbai, which meant no family support and my husband also trains in the morning.

With all these hurdles I had to manage my time very efficiently. My day would start at 4 -4:30 AM and end at 9:30 PM. I started to run regularly and completed my first Half Marathon in 2018 at TMM and again did 2019.

After my 2 Half Marathons I dreamt of running a Full Marathon but I knew that self-training will not be sufficient. In Feb 2019 I decided to run a marathon in TMM 2020. That’s when I connected with coach Atul. I knew nothing about the Motiv8 except seeing runners wearing the T-shirt. I am still waiting to get for a T-shirt my though 

Initially, I was a little apprehensive as I knew that it would not be possible for me to join the regular group runs. But after learning from Atul that group sessions were not needed as long as the workouts were done.

With this hurdle out of my way, I started focusing on my training plan. I remember, during my self-training days with no moderation, I used to walk for a few seconds whenever I felt tired and I use to get tired frequently :). But during my training days, checking my time difference, one comment from the coach (“It seems that you are having a nice little picnic every now and then” 🙂 ) changed everything. That day I decided not to stop even if I am tired. This helped me a lot.

Along with regular training, I added leg and core workout twice a week in my schedule. All my weekday runs were in my township and weekend run At Pashan/University. Around 90-95% of my runs, I ran alone, It felt boring at times but my dream of completing a full marathon and weekly tracking by the coach kept me going (added pressure of getting a perfect 5 score does help :)).

At the end of the training below were my stats.
Total Km Planned: 1571 KM
Total km Completed: 1553 KM.

1 week before the race

Everything was going as per the plan. My last long runs too went well. In-fact as I am from Mumbai I ran both my long runs (32km) in Mumbai on 50 % of the same route as TMM, in the hope to get a feel of the Mumbai weather but on both long runs, it was as pleasant as it was in Pune. But as always with me, the ride is never smooth. Suddenly there was niggling pain in my left foot and I felt it during all of my tapered runs. Worried, I kept icing it regularly and praying that it doesn’t kill my race. As per the tips from Atul, I kept a check on my nutrition and hydration and stopped my weight training completely.

Race day

I was very anxious on the race day as my feet had not fully recovered. I kept on talking to myself that I should believe in my training stick to the hydration plan. The race started I somehow settled my nerves and tried to get into my rhythm. The pain was there but wasn’t a show stopper, I ignored it completely.

I was more focused on sticking to my hydration plan and did exactly what was needed until 30 km when it started to get a bit warm. I had to improvise a bit, took an additional gel and salt tabs and started pouring water on myself. This did helped me a lot. And then came the dreaded Peddar road climb, I felt I was up for this challenge, I climbed it in one go. This boosted my confidence, that’s when I thought I should be able to complete easily!

5km before the finish I tried to increase my pace but soon realized that there was no point in getting too confident :). I stuck to my feel-good pace and did a short sprint, around 500m to the finish line. Crossing the finishing line was an amazing feeling which I may not be able to express in words. I thanked God for the success. All that anxiety and pressure before the race had vanished and it was just a pure feeling of Joy!
Finish time for my First Marathon was 4:50:54.

Find me!

I was so happy that I desperately wanted to meet and thank Atul so me, my husband and a friend walked another 3km after the race to meet him.

Running has helped me to make fitness a lifestyle. When some people ask me how I manage work, home, kid’s along with all the training. I tell them, I just try to take out some time off for myself. My weekends are only about running, grocery shopping and spending time with my family.

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