“Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” - Golda Meir
I recently came across a spark on Facebook! A shining one - Kavitha Reddy!
Recently, Kavitha cracked the Boston Marathon 2018 with a timing of 03:34:26. Inspirational and envious timings for sure.
But there is always more.
More - because Boston Marathon 2018 asked for more. Read here - Why. This international report on what made Boston Marathon 2018 a harsh one for its runners was enough for me to understand a little more about Kavitha. And she definitely is - a steely spark!
This blog will be hugely beneficial for runners who carry a flame for Boston in their hopes and hearts!
But really what is the takeaway from this piece - That's on you!!!!!
Who is Kavitha ?
Am a 43 year old graduated in BA ( maths ) , married with two sons Chaithanya , Adithya of 19 & 17 years respectively . My husband's work took us to many places in the first 12 years of our married life, moved to Pune in 2008 . As kids grew up felt I had lots of time in hand and should be doing something for myself and also keep me fit and healthy .
Born and brought up in a small town called Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh . Raised by humble parents who stayed in the town for our studies and father travelled every day for work to near by Village . He worked as a teacher in Zilla parishad school and retired as head master. Gave us ( me and my elder brother ) the best of all they could to be a better individuals .
I was an average student and never showed any inclination towards any game or sport other than the free play with school and neighbour hood friends. Father was very particular about our routine and encouraged us to stay active . He rode his bicycle to work every day till he retired. I can only say now , the genes of my parents is what I could manage to be what I am today . The active lifestyle of theirs is what made us learn to follow to an extent.
How did it all start: The Road to Boston
The diagnosis of hypo thyroid in the year 2009 alaramed me to take care of my body ( around the same age of mine , I have seen my mother struggled with thyroid , severe arthiritis and bedridden for almost an year before she fought and pulled herself out with great determination and will power ). This made me start regular gyming thrice a week untill I heard from a close friend about the long distance running . Googled about running groups and became a member of Meetup and found the running group The Pune Marathoners club (now The Pune RoadRunners ) trains at Pune Racecourse. On September 19th 2013 , I laced up my shoes and went out to join the group to run and never looked back till date.
Couple of months went in figuring out my time and handling the kids and their school time and slowly found to balance them all (there were few hurdles . when you enjoy doing something , you find the way to handle it too) .
When I start doing something , I am very consistent in continuing the same . This was the key point for my Boston qualification, but there are other things I need to list down too.
- Aimed it , focused on it completely .
- Trusted the coach and his training completely.
- Regular and consistent with my training.
- Regular with strength training
- Compete with yourself and your performance .
- Trusted myself and the hard work I had put in .
- Keep the positivity around stay focused.
My weekly routine included 5 days of running, one day of CrossFit (I do it on a running day after my short run), 3 days of body weight training (usually after my runs) and one weekly strength training session .
- Include different types of workouts in the training .
- Hill repeats / intervals / speed workouts / tempo runs to name some .
- Be consistent in doing the same .
- To avoid injuries , strengthen your core . Do strength training exercises , cross training and good streching post run.
- Foam rolling after long runs help speedy recovery .
These help you in aiming for a better timing , if done carefully and consistently .
Diet and Nutrition
Diet and Nutrition play a big role in the performance . Through the journey, I learnt how to balance the right amount of everything you take in . Did use dietary help for couple of months and managing to continue it. Eat clean and healthy is what I learnt and follow.
There were no major changes in my diet for Boston preparation. I continue a balanced diet always. Eating 6-7 small meals a day at regular intervals . Carry a fruit / vegetables juice / fruit juice concentrate with out diluting and no added sugar when I step out of home on any work .
- A banana or few dates before my run or workout
- Protein drink after workout
- Breakfast - eggs / toast / oats / juice
- veggie juice - around 10:30 - 11 am
- Lunch - bakri / sabji / daal / salad / curds
- fruit - 2:30pm
- 3: 30 tea with a small cup of bhel / sporuts / biscuit -
- A bowl of soup - 5pm
- dinner - stir fry veggies with a piece of protein ( chicken / fish ) - 6:30-7 pm
- A green tea before going to bed.
Try to eat my dinner the earliest and give enough time to digest before I get to bed . My day ends very early too .. I sleep by 9-9:30 pm almost every day … few days are an exception .
Eat everything in moderate there is nothing that we should avoid . I don't have sweet tooth and I don't crave for sugar so , avoiding sugar comes easy to me . But for the ones who have sweet tooth , just be watchful on the quantity and try to alternate with jagery and natural sweetness like fruits / dates / nuts .
I didn't make too many or major lifestyle changes for Boston . But yes few changes automatically comes along with the schedule . Day used to start early before too , now it's even earlier to accommodate the lunch boxes and then leave for the training . Your Saturday nights moved to other easy days or reduced . Your social life has more of running friends . The lifestyle has changed for good and better .
- I decided to run the majors ( World Marathon Majors – a circuit of 6 iconic races from around the world – New York Marathon, Chicago Marathon, Boston Marathon, London Marathon, Berlin Marathon and Tokyo Marathon) only after my BQ. Luckily, my husband Deepak’s office recommended my entry via TCS to New York City Marathon 2017 ( TCS is the title sponsor for NYC Marathon) and it got accepted .
- Then came the Boston as I had to wait almost an year an half since my BQ .
- I am doing the Berlin in September 2018 and eventually plan to complete all 6 majors in a fixed time limit .
- These are my short term goal and once I complete these maybe I will aim for my further goals.
My motivation behind the Boston qualification is that not many women so far from India have done it and the challenge to qualify to run this made me more determined to achieve this.
(Usually, due to large number of qualifiers from all over the world, the actual cut-off time to get an entry is 2-4 minutes below the qualification time, so my timing at Amsterdam marathon of 3:38 gave me more than enough margin to easily get an actual entry).
Make your kids a part of your journey:
- My day starts as early as 3:45 - 4 am in the morning . Pack my son's, husband lunch , lay the breakfast table before I leave the house for my run around 5:15 am . And kids supported this , by waking up on their own , getting ready and go to school . Yes , I do miss being at home while they leave for work or school .. but it's all about how you deal with these.
- We can make kids part of your journey .. my son supports me in my long runs . He cycles along with me and be an escort during early runs . He enjoys being with me and he too participated in few 10k s and is known well in my running group .
Kavitha rubbishes some mental blocks:
These are the following mental blocks I heard from many women around when I began running and my training:
- Are you not affecting your knees .
- Are you not affected by hormonal changes
- How do you run during menstrual cycle
- Is it safe to run on the roads
- How safe are you running alone
- How to take time out of kids schedule
- How do you balance both home and passion .
All these matter until you make a beginning
My personal experience - everything falls in place if you enjoy doing it and learn how to balance . The family supports you when you show your commitment towards everything you do .Personally , I am blessed to have a very supportive kids and spouse for letting me perceive my passion . At the same time I take care of my responsibilities well to keep that balance.
Being a mother of two boys and starting running late in my 30’s definitely was an advantage for me as a woman . But that's not all .. every woman has her responsibilities and me being a home maker had my set of responsibilities to take care of before I step out for my run .
Age is just a number , you can set goals at any age and achieve it if you are determined. Aim big , focus and train harder and the best comes sooner or later . After running the Boston this year , just want to say .. keep yourself ready for any kind of situation on the D day and don't let anything overpower your mental strength .