dreams, running

Go for Your Dreams

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Sivashankar Ambady

I want to take a moment to share something deeply personal with my fellow runners and friends, something that I hope will resonate with each of you. It’s a belief that has become a guiding light in my life: When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” These words from Paulo Coelho hold immense truth and power.

Age Is Just a Number

Let me share a glimpse of my own journey. Running entered my life at the age of 57, back in 2017. It was a turning point that brought me a sense of purpose and fulfillment. In 2018, I joined a wonderful running group called Runway, and the support and camaraderie I found there only deepened my passion for the sport.

When my 60th birthday approached, I felt a burning desire within me. I wanted to challenge myself, push my limits, and run 60 kilometers in celebration of this milestone. It was an audacious goal considering I had never completed a full marathon, let alone such a long distance.

But just as I was about to embark on intense training, fate intervened. The world was hit by the pandemic, and we all found ourselves in lockdown, forced to stay indoors and put our outdoor activities on hold. However, I couldn’t let this deter me.

During those long months of confinement, I would sneak out in the early morning, finding solace in running up and down our lane, or on the terrace of my building. Sometimes, I would engage in strength training, keeping my body and mind connected to the pursuit of my goal.

When the lockdown restrictions eased, and we were allowed to venture outdoors again, I resumed my running routine. I sought motivation and focus by participating in Strava challenges. And then, in a serendipitous moment, in the first week of July my friend Vishal, reached out to me. We used to play badminton together, and Vishal himself is an accomplished runner. It felt like the universe was conspiring to make my dream a reality.

With limited time, just about two months remaining before the event, I shared my wish with Vishal, hesitant but hopeful. To my delight, he readily agreed to guide and support me. It was a profound moment of connection and shared determination. I knew deep down that together, we could make the impossible possible.

I embraced Vishal’s training plans with unwavering dedication. I pushed myself harder than ever before, overcoming physical and mental barriers with each step and each day, training six and even seven days a week as demanded by the plan. And slowly, my dream started to take shape.

Against all Odds

On the day of the event, I set out before dawn, a peaceful and reflective start to an extraordinary journey. I ran the first 21 kilometers on my own before my friend joined me. Then every 5 kilometers we used to take rest for 3-5 minutes. But as fatigue and discomfort set in after 35 kilometers, doubts and insecurities whispered in my ear. Yes, I was forewarned about this moment which all ultra runners go through at some point during their run. Now 60 kilometers seemed too far and simply out of my reach.

At that critical juncture, I shifted my focus from the daunting 60 kilometers and set a new goal in my mind: to complete a full marathon distance of 42 kilometers which is also an achievement, I consoled myself. On completing 42 km I reminded myself that every step forward was an accomplishment in itself. And so, with sheer determination, I pressed on, one kilometer at a time.

There were moments when my body screamed for respite when doubts threatened to derail my progress. But with unwavering resolve, I persisted. When I reached 46 kilometers, I felt a surge of energy and newfound confidence. Suddenly, the seemingly insurmountable distance of 50 kilometers looked well within my grasp. I was filled with an indescribable sense of triumph when I completed 50 kilometers.

And then, the most incredible thing happened. The mental barriers crumbled, confidence came rushing back, and I knew deep within my heart that I would be able to complete the full 60 kilometers, and yes I did it in under 9 hours. Every ache, every pain, every ounce of effort became insignificant compared to the overwhelming sense of accomplishment that surged through me.

Let me admit that my love for staying fit and engaging in sports since my school and college days played a significant role in taking up running, even at a late stage. Although I have only been running for a short period, I have participated in numerous races, including 10K, half marathons, and one full marathon, and even finished on the podium in some of them.

I share this story not to boast about my achievements but to convey a simple truth: Each and every one of us has the capacity to achieve greatness if we truly desire it. It starts with a burning intention, a relentless drive to pursue our dreams. We must believe in ourselves, trust our capabilities, and never compare our journey to others. We are all unique, with our own strengths and challenges.

Dreams are Meant to be Chased

dreams, running, age

Remember, your sense of insufficiency is merely a belief, not a reality. To succeed, we must maintain focus and train diligently. Dedication and discipline are our allies on the path to greatness. We must be patient and persistent, knowing that results won’t happen overnight but trusting that they will come. And most importantly, we must never forget the power of self-belief, for it is the force that propels us forward. Self- appreciation is self-respect, appreciate yourself every day.

You may have a long way to go, but may you never discredit how far you have come. So, my dear friends, I wish for each of you to find your own path to greatness, set audacious goals, and pursue them with unwavering determination. Remember, it is never too late to dream a new dream or set another goal. Believe in yourself, trust the journey, and embrace the challenges along the way. The universe is waiting to conspire in your favor.


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