Yashas Mudumbai is one of the people running with Livability in the Virgin London Marathon this April. He shares his reasons for running and what he’s learning about himself through the challenge of training.
The legs say no. The mind says no. More importantly, your surroundings say no. For the last six months, these three answers have been given to me every morning. When signing up to run the London Marathon, I felt an immense amount of excitement as I thought about how the big day in April would turn out to be. What was unknown to me was the months of treacherous training that lie in wait for me.
The darkness of winter mornings were originally the biggest obstacle to getting out of bed, now they are the reason I smile at 5 am. The eerie silence on the streets where I run used to be my biggest fear. Now they are my solace in a world full of noise. The look of the random stranger when struggling through the next mile would be my biggest shame, but now it is pride that I proudly wear on my sleeve.
With four months remaining, there is still a lot of work to do in order for me to not collapse before the finish line. But, in the last six months, the journey I have embarked on has taught me a few things that could help someone in the future.
We hear it every day. Advertisements, products and interviews in a variety of fields speak about its importance. Of course, I am talking about the influence of physical activity on our daily lives. The common feeling among the public is one of embarrassment. We know that it works, but our “busy” lives get in the way of our wish to be healthy.
For a long period of time, I have also felt that my work and commitments get in the way in my attempt to be the next long distance running superstar. However, as I have become more attuned to marathon training and its demands, I have seen a paradox. By running in the morning, I am able to accomplish more of the tasks I plan for the day.
Sometimes, the warmth of the bed beats the chilly winds of the outside, according to my mind. How do I still get out of bed to train in that case? This is where I have discovered the power of mind-set. When trying to form a new habit, consistency is the holy grail and do achieve this, motivation is a very important thing. We can either be trying to push towards something pleasurable or pull away from something horrible. That choice is completely up to you. While it is often said that pushing towards something good is better than pulling away from something bad, both can have the necessary impact.
When embarking on challenges like the London Marathon, you often need heroes to inspire. Certain sayings carry weight unlike any words of motivation we can think ourselves. In this journey of training, I’ve also found a hero’s saying that I think about. Robert Michael Hensel is an American who was born with spina bifida. This is a condition where there is an incomplete closure of the backbone. Despite this huge disadvantage, Hensel has achieved an extraordinary amount. He raised money for wheelchair ramps in his hometown by breaking the world record for the longest wheelie in a wheelchair. Furthermore, he was able to set up a week in Oswego to celebrate the ‘Beyond Limitations’ week. His stunning life can be encapsulated by one saying. “Know me for my abilities, not my disability.”
My motivation for running the marathon, and why I decided to support Livability is ensure that everyone is accepted and welcomed in society. So many times we think about what we don’t have instead of being aware of what we are given. So, love your gifts, they can be your greatest badge of honour.
Four months remain until I will run around the streets of London in aid of Livability. There will be many more challenges along the way, and maybe even blood, sweat and tears. But I can be safe in the knowledge that all this hard work will help us to remove barriers facing disabled people in our society.
For ways to support Livability – visit our join in page.