I first spoke heard about Team AID Asha from Ajit Sabnis at an event for Marathi Mandal and the idea of training and running a half marathon sounded very attractive to me. Despite having no background in any sports, let alone having run before I realized that approaching middle age, this was my best chance to achieve this goal. Attending the opening session appealed to me since Team AID Asha is very welcoming to all 1st time runners.
However I did have to overcome some issues before I could begin. The team group runs are on Saturday and that is usually a working day for my job working for a bank. This presented a significant hurdle since that meant I had to complete all the long runs by myself. However, everyone at Team AID Asha, beginning with Coach Jonathan & team coordinator Biju was extremely supportive in encouraging me to start training. Any queries I had about training were addressed by communicating regularly over the phone.
Physically too, I had various issues and I had to miss a significant period of training due to back pain which had many people recommend that maybe this was not for me. At this point the biggest challenge was to focus on my recovery, I was helped by doctor who suggested stretches to stay strong even during the time when it was difficult to walk. Ultimately, I realized it was best to listen to your own body and I felt that despite my setback, I could push myself and continue with the training after I had recovered.
I constantly reminded myself that during my 1st run, I had barely completed 400M before I was out of breath. However over time, I was able to build up my endurance and after a few runs I was confident of increasing my distance. This same attitude also helped me get back to training.
I was amazed at how many people contributed when I made appeals to people to help raise funds for the team. To begin asking people for money did not come naturally to me, so I reminded myself that it was for a good cause. Using e-mail, WhatsApp messaging and verbal follow-ups I was able to let people know about my commitment for the cause and I was genuinely surprised to end up raising as many dollars as I did.
Race day was a nervous affair, but once I began to run all the nerves faded away as the run itself seemed like the usual long run. Finishing the race, I looked back happily to all the challenges I faced and even though they appear significant I was never unsure about completing. I hope to stay in touch with the program and help spread the word to as many people as I can.