Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Smoker to Runner

I am married man with three young boys aged 12, 7 and 4. I am working in the IT industry for the past 20 years.  After the birth of our third son I quit smoking and boozing. Took me 25 years to realize there is nothing to gain out of these bad habits.  To be a good role model to my kids and family it was the best thing I had done. 

After quitting these bad habits my taste bud returned. I started enjoying cakes, sweets, and all the wrong foods. Result was not very good, an increasing waistline, sad but true it was time to update my wardrobe with comfortable pants. 

I was 39 put on few kilos. Also I do have history of diabetes in my family. Things changed the day I came back home after a big Chinese greasy takeaway lunch.  Made me sick of what I am doing. I weighed myself 66Kg. That day I decided it is time for me to make changes to my lifestyle. 
Started to go for regular walks and eat healthy. Got bored of walking and started to go for slow jogging. Started enjoying my slow jogs and was able to run non-stop for 5k. 

Got over excited and registered for my first running event in Sept 2012 City to Bay 12K run. The longest distance I had ever run was 10k on a treadmill.

I was waiting at the start line with other 49 thousand people. Some were doing some very strange stretching or boasting about some super-duper watch to measure the time and distance. I quietly stood and took in the entire atmosphere. Probably may have gone to the toilet for the 50th time while I was waiting for my turn to start.  I was wondering why some runners are looking at the watch then at the sky, this was going on for sometime until they had the big satisfaction smile on their face. Maybe some kind of prayer before you start running I thought!!! (I later realised it is the fancy GPS watch).

Finally here comes the moment and we start.  Slow and steady try to keep my nerves down; I chug along following other runners. Adrenalin kicks in as I saw some fast runners and tried to keep up with them; oops this is hard slow down I told myself.  I kept a steady pace. Not sure why there was one mum with pram on the course. Here I am trying to dodge her or pass some walkers who are busy talking about their gas and electricity bills.

I crossed the finish line in 1 hour and 3 minutes. Yay I have done it, I am a hero, I have completed my first running event. I got hand towel and a free Sunday Newspaper for completing the race (Sadly no any medal). 

For my wife Sophia, kids and my family I was hero.  And off course thanks to social media (Facebook), all my friends and family found about my running adventure and were proud of my achievement.

This running business was certainly addictive. I started looking around on the internet for any other running events in Adelaide and saw the McLaren Half Marathon event in October 2012, and I registered two days before the event. My wife thought I must be crazy for running 21k !!!

So far the longest distance I had done was City to Bay 12K run previous month. 

Back to the start location for my second running event. I overheard some runners talking about gels, pacing and fancy watch that will measure your heart rate, give you elevation, time, distance blah blah blah.

I thought to myself what you need is good running shoes and stamina mate that’s it!!! 

I crossed the finish line in 2 hours and 3 minutes. My first Half Marathon done completed without any training in October 2012.

Thanks to face book, I am hero again for my wife, kids, family and friends, what an achievement. Well I was hurting, limping in pain for the next few days; never mind bask in glory and enjoy the moment.

After this event I realised it is time for me to join SAARC (South Australian Road runners Club) and invest in one of those fancy watch which will give me stats!!!


  1. Great story of dedication and commitment Vijay. It's amazing how, when we look back at previous habits and behaviours how clearly we see that they were unhelpful, or even destructive yet at the time we couldn't see it. Good to see you've joined so sky worshippers!

  2. VJ, just came across this now. Fantastic effort mate, you are an inspiration for having the strength to make that change in your life. I love a good run, and after i stopped football in 1998 i had a similar issue, Waistline, bad habits, diabetes in the family - so i got my self some runners and just started small distances each day until i went to 15km one day non stop, i was stoked. Next goal is to run a half Marathon, then try my luck for a full one. See how we go! good on you mate, keep running !!

  3. Similar story here mate, and my journey is centred around our workplace! I was always a cyclist, since getting my first set of racing wheels at 13. I'd never run in my life until I was asked to join the Deloitte BRW Triathlon team in 2008. Training was hard - i'd destroy anyone on 2 wheels but found I had 2 left legs whilst running and never really enjoyed it. This continued until a colleague introduced me to Parkrun. A simple, free, timed run at 8am every Saturday morning was where the bug hit me. Suddenly, without the fancy GPS watches, I now had a baseline to improve upon, and a group of like minded people with whom I could run (and in many cases, chase). After 18 months of doing this alone, my 2 eldest boys 12 and 10 joined me this year, and after just 3 runs, were able to run a full 5km without stopping - with my eldest now a serious contender for taking my PB time!! As a proud dad, they kept up the momentum right through a cold Sydney winter, often getting me out of bed to go to Parkrun. Needless to say, I've rewarded them with a registration to run in this years City2Surf 14km fun run in August. Can't wait to share it with them!