It was a dark winter night in 2010 when we were back from a wedding party. Little did we realize that it would turn out to be the darkest one as days went by. Late nights and partying had become a large part of our lives ever since we got married and moved to Mumbai in 2006. My wife, Swetha, loved her night outs and we used to be up till wee hours of the morning, letting our hair down. However this night was a different one. The wedding spread had caused food poisoning and made her feel uneasy. Somehow, she waded through the night and went to see a doctor the next day. The days that followed were painful in the process of discovery that she had a chronic disorder called ulcerative colitis. She was hospitalized for ten days and lost a lot of blood along with her strength. Doctors advised a very strict diet regime while discharging her on Christmas Eve. The entire mood was somber. I remember that for the first time in many years, we slept through the New Year eve.
When such adversity hits one’s life, either the person breaks down or chooses to come back hard. Swe did the latter.
2011 marked a new beginning in Swe’s life as she looked to turn over a new leaf. To begin with, she altered her lifestyle by giving up her late nights, alcohol and outside food. She stuck to a restricted diet of merely boiled vegetables, fruits and curd minus the spice and masala that the Indian taste buds were accustomed to. It takes a lot to resist food especially when people around you consume the same. Yet her will power made her stick to it firmly. She then looked to gain back her strength and began to run on the treadmill. Running, which initially began as an ally to fight this disease ended up becoming an integral part of her life.
This was a turning point in both our lives as we found a new sense of purpose. Keeping the Standard Chartered Mumbai marathon in mind, we soon hit the roads and trained hard. Swe completed her first half marathon in 2012 in 2 hours 3 minutes which was amazing, considering it was her first timed race. Gradually Swe became hooked to long distance running and over time, it became a passion for both of us. We trained for the full marathon the following year and she completed it in 4 hours 56 minutes in the 2013 edition of the Mumbai marathon. Despite going through pregnancy that year, Swe kept her running momentum going and came back strong in 2014, participating in a 10 km race just 2 months after her delivery.
Today, she has about ten half marathons to her credit, along with a full marathon, several 10 km races and 3 podium finishes. She manages our 22 month old daughter Samara, her work as a journalist and running with equal passion and positivity.
Running has given us a new meaning in life, taught us valuable lessons and brought in a lot of new friends. Today, we enjoy our morning training and look forward to a great day ahead!