Often we wonder when to start and where to start from. The answer is now and here. Let’s look into how our guest author Ganesh Kuduva used this realization to transform, learn and ultimately help others find their way.
It was the end of year 2008 and I was around 34 years old. Well, 34 years is not a number that needs to be followed by the word, “old”
What was I, and how I felt about myself?
I weighed about 78 kg.
I was sleeping for too many hours per day.
I was, to some extent, over-eating.
I was feeling too lazy most of the time.
I felt it difficult to be active throughout the day.
To top it all I was also dealing with stress which I myself couldn’t recognize.
Somehow, I felt, I should do a full medical checkup and see what the reports said.
My cholesterol numbers were higher than normal. Everything else was in place. My Doctor advised to go for a walk daily and simultaneously control my diet.
Upon returning home I reflected over how my life had changed over the years, w.r.t my health. I felt so, probably, because I had done the following things in the past. To name a few:
- I used to gym during my school and college days.
- I walked to my school up and down (about 4 km) on a daily basis, mostly barefoot!
- I cycled to my college for almost a year (about 14 km up and down)
- I ran as well to some extent, here and there.
Frankly, these are not extraordinary things when compared to the effort and physical activity people in the rural areas undergo.
Once I had started my professional life I hardly did a thing, be it playing any sport or following a fitness regime. I started working in 1997 and for 11 years I had not done anything, absolutely nothing!
This was the first step towards my health and fitness transformation journey. It started off with the realization that, I was not doing anything to keep up with my health as a part of my lifestyle.
One fine morning, in the beginning of 2009 I woke up early to go for a walk outside. For quite some time I had realized, I had not felt that fresh air in the morning, the beauty in walking alone and introspecting. I, in fact felt strange or perhaps shy to be walking alone in a residential area. I must have walked for about 30 min that day. I returned home and continued my day. I felt refreshed and positive.
Throughout the year I continued to walk.
There had been several breaks in between, however every one of those times I ensured that I build the motivation to bounce back and become consistent.
My father, my inspiration
The key person in me being able to find that motivation forever was, my father. He always lived an active life. Till he passed away in Dec 2014, he lived by himself. I’ve always seen him moving to every single place on his own, driving his scooter, walking and laughing along with taking care of most domestic chores. He never felt he was aging. Even when I told him, “you are aging and you should not do all this”, he used to say, “age is just a number and I don’t feel I am aging as much as you are saying or thinking”. He worked as a tinker in TVS bus body building till he retired in the year 1998.
I consider living a healthy life independently to be a reward in itself. In order to live like my father, I realized I had to start immediately.
In 2010 my colleagues were talking about a 10 km race (known as TCS 10K) and I immediately jumped in and signed up. As a part of my training, I had just done a few runs now and then. I did manage to finish the race in 78 min but I struggled by running and walking.
I also witnessed during the race that, many elderly people were over-taking me and they looked much fitter for their age. It is then that I decided to train well, so I could run the entire 10K distance without walking.
The following year I signed up for TCS 10K. And this time I could do it in about 67 min completely by running.
By 2012 I had become a regular runner. The beauty was that, I was comfortable running without any company. I ran at least 3 to 4 days in a week. It had become a part of my life style. This time around, my goal was to finish it in an improved time span. I did it in 62 min and was awarded the runners up by my company.
After almost running for 2.5 years, I felt, maybe it was time to do something bigger. I signed up for a half marathon.
I took yet another step in my running journey. Slowly I was adding more miles to my runs in order to cover the entire 21.1 km without walking. Nothing could match the exhilarating feeling when I finished the entire half marathon just by running!
An eye- opener
Running a half marathon, was definitely, an eye-opener.
More than the physical ability and training, it was the mind block that I overcame along with the fear that once haunted me .During my initial running days , I had a certain fear running in my mind the minute I heard about such long distances.
This was a second step towards my transformation.
In 2013, I was fortunate to come in touch with my friends Subbu, KK(Krishna) and Pratyush and all four of us, strongly felt, we should start a running group in Whitefield, Bangalore to help people in the community, with running and fitness. We started a running group called “Team Miles Ahead” and I am proud to say that, I have been one of the co-founders. Today, our group has 100+ runners and we have people who have graduated from 10k runs to half marathons and ultra marathons as well. My running transformed over 2013 and 2014 and finally I could do a full marathon in Feb 2014.
This was, the third step and the most important one in my transformation.
Year 2015, arrived. After running a few full marathons, the thirst to run longer distances, only increased. I dared to sign up for a 75 km distance which was in Nov 2015. The way I trained for this race, was very remarkable. I spoke to many legends who had made their mark in the running fraternity. I understood the ideology behind running such long distances. As a part of my training for a 75 km run, I ran a 50 km and a full marathon.
I must say, running ultramarathons was the fourth key step in my transformation. I feel proud to have done a dozen of full marathons and half a dozen ultramarathons till date.
What started off as a walk back in 2009, took me to several sports (cycling, swimming, gymming) including yoga. In order to complement my running, I pursued all of these. I am fortunate to have completed a course in yoga as well. I am a Certified Yoga Instructor. I see this as my sixth step of my personal transformation.
Few of my friends used to tell me, why don’t you make running and fitness a full-time profession?. Frankly, I had never thought about my fitness and transformation journey that way. The idea was always to stay healthier, fitter, younger and happier. Starting a running group was very rewarding in the sense that, we, as a team, could transform so many lives.
The fulfillment in giving back
At the end of 2016, in retrospect, I thought about my transformation and I set one of my goals in 2017 – to help more people through more platforms.
I was fortunate to get the Pinkathon platform, in being able to train women in Whitefield, towards, health, fitness and running. I thank Vasu and Smita in providing me with this opportunity.
Being a runner for several years, I never really took steps to pace anyone for any race. One such opportunity came in Feb 2018. I could help a woman from Pinkathon to reach her half marathon goal in a systematic way. The real happiness lies in the fact that we can make others happy by contributing in whichever way possible.
There is so much of fulfillment in training, coaching and helping others. When one feels satisfied and content in life, the next step naturally becomes contributing towards people around him/her. I see, my coaching/training in that light. A part of me feels that, it is too early to think in these terms, but then every journey starts with a clarity about what one wants to do next in life.
What fuels me in this journey is that, there is learning that helps me to evolve as a person. It is this very thought that inspires me daily.
The journey might have started with getting my personal health in shape. But over the years, what I see is that, the goals continue to improve and change. We are getting opportunities in our lives, to see beyond ourselves and to live beyond ourselves.
My goal is to live a life all by myself without depending on anyone, through a healthier lifestyle.
My personal transformation will continue to grow and that will help me in helping more people.
As I stand here, my sixth step of the transformation is being a coach. And I am certain that, there is more to uncover in life and I am looking forward to it.
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