A long time ago, in the ancient past, I started a blog with the hope of being disciplined enough to chronicle everything that I did for managing my health. “A stated public goal becomes a part of my self worth” is what I said. Well, today I stand humbled by the sheer strength of my own lethargy. This blog and  the plans surrounding it have been an abysmal failure so far… I have not been tested for my cholesterol in a while, and my exercise regimen hasn’t been all that great either….and I have been running sporadically.  

 I can chose to blame my travelling, or a social life that has been fairly active, or perhaps the fact that people around me are generally good cooks ! But well lets face it… I suck at keeping up with my exercise regime.

 But then as they say, even the worst mistakes, make for good bad examples !

 Earlier this year, I drove from Pune on a Saturday morning to participate in the Standard Chartered Marathon at Mumbai… in the 6 km category… the one where you see people dressed as lobsters running in the race. Trust me, for all the experience of the thirty years of my life, I was terribly nervous. Running a 6 km race is not supposed to be a big deal really. Most people would scoff at the idea of even considering a guy to be a ‘runner’ if all he has is a 6 km race under his belt.

 For me though, it was different.

 I racked my brains during the 3 hour long drive trying to recall the last time I attempted anything to do with sports. I had always been the nerd around. The guy who reads books…. Standing at the starting line of a race longer than a 100 meters with thousands of other sweaty people was never my idea of fun.

 Once I arrived at Mumbai, I collected my runner’s bib at the venue, and a bag of goodies full of god knows what. I have seldom felt so out of place anytime at my life. There were guys registering for running a 21 km, or a 42 km race the next day. I was breaking out in cold sweat at the thought of a mere 6 km run !

 But run I did. The next day, I ran the 6 km. Along with more than 10000 other runners. The old, the young, organizations with a purpose, or those present just for the sheer joy of running.

 I ran without stopping, or walking… and grinned when strangers cheered hoards of us on. Looked up in the sky just to savor the fact that I was running smack in the middle of Marine Drive. When we passed by the Oberoi Trident, their staff was out in full strength waving the Indian flag.  I nearly gave up when they threw in a fly-over bridge at the last kilometer, but nothing still beats the memory of the first glimpse of the finishing line once I was on top of the bridge. It all somehow, seemed worthwhile right then.

 There are some things that you need to do for yourself. Some things, that remind you at the end of it all, nothing really beats running out in the open on a sunny day. That however much you might travel across the globe and marvel at the beautiful cities and parks, running on the streets of your own country is something that you never really found time to do. Running grounds you, makes you one with the earth you walk on, the air that you breath in… makes you respect distances and slopes. You clench your jaws for an uphill climb, and rejoice in the ease of running downhill… And when you see another runner struggling for breath, you pause and run a while with him… because, well  it is the right thing to do.  

 I have registered for the Half Marathon (21 km) at Mumbai scheduled for Jan 2011. Whether or not my registration is confirmed will be known by the end of this month depending on the results of a lucky draw meant for novices like me ! Till then, all I gotta do is run !

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So after that big bang opening of a post… I did what I usually do best. Which is slept late into the morning… till like 8:30 AM… for two days in a row. Which meant no early morning runs at all…

And then I followed it up with two awesome long days at work which meant little time left for exercise at the of the day. In short, my exercise routine sucked big time since I launched this blog….

Not very motivating at all….

So let’s start getting a bit  specific shall we?

From today onwards, I am going to try running 5 kms at least each day. I have done it comfortably in the past and should not be a problem for me  doing so now. What will be a problem is doing it consistently each day, day after day. And being pretty similar to the dogs in Pavlov’s experiment, I have my own set of incentives to motivate me to run…

My mileage each week will determine how many beers/drinks am I allowed to drink over the weekend, or how much of unhealthy and delicious food I am going to be allow myself with a drink in hand.

And how will I make that public? Well I am going to start it off by putting up a weekly running graph each Friday out here. Actually, I have quite a few graphs in mind… not that anyone else will be interested but still. Here are a few I have in mind:

1)      Plot my cholesterol levels each month

2)      Plot my weight

3)      Plot my running distance and durations (as mentioned)

I apologize for being a bit anal about it all but unless you measure something, it really cannot be controlled. And that’s the process consultant in me speaking…

So here are what I plan to do from today…

1)      No fixed time for completing my run. If I don’t run in the morning, I will run in the evening before dinner. Does not sound like too much pain and hopefully it will not be.

2)      I will measure out my 5 km route again today evening… I had charted a route in the past but I don’t really like running down that road too much.

3)      Whatever distance that I run, I will be recording it in a spreadsheet from today….

Hopefully, I will have better news to report the next time I post anything out here…

Right now… i gotta go and do that 5 km run before Radhika comes back home … its her birthday tomorrow people !

I am Ashish.  I will be 31 this July… I weigh 63 kgs and I am 5”4’ tall ( height has never been my greatest asset). I am considered an otherwise fit guy and am reasonably happy with my life. I love music in all its forms and am not a half bad singer.. or so I used to be. I have been married for 5 years now to a girl who is yet to see the light and leave me for better things in life. I love food and am pretty adventurous when it comes to trying out anything thing new. I have some great friends and even if I say so myself, I am usually a pretty lucky bastard when it comes to the things that matter in life…

I also have a very high level of cholesterol flowing through my blood stream. The last test pegged it at 282 mg% when it should not be anything beyond 200…

There is a reason why I wrote out this rather self indulgent introduction to my new blog.

Throughout my life I have been pretty good at setting my sights on a goal and then doing everything in my capacity to attain them. When I was a student, getting good grades or qualifying for competitive exams used to be a matter of pride.

For me, a stated public goal becomes a part of my self-worth.

A cholesterol score as high as mine is something I could do without. Taking statin drugs is the easy way out for helping control it. You live your life a bit more carefully and pop a few pills during the day and things are usually ok. The only problem is, that you may end up being hooked to the drug for the rest of your life. A prospect that I definitely do not like.

My cholesterol levels were detected 6 months back, and since then I have been fighting an oscillating battle to keep them in control. The fact that I travel quite a bit due to my job, also makes my efforts at reducing cholesterol somewhat sporadic.

So here I am, about to embark on a journey where I may decidedly fail. The chances of bringing down very high cholesterol levels without going on medication are pretty slim. But am game for giving it a shot.

Back at my engineering college, I had a quote by Sir Walter Bagehot pasted on the walls of each and every hostel room I stayed in:

“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”

This quotation stood me in good stead as I prepared for examinations no one at my college had cracked before…. And I succeeded. I hope it works again.

I am giving myself the next 120 days to lower my cholesterol naturally.

If I fail completely, I will probably take those statin medications and be happy with what I have… at least I will know that there was nothing I could do to avoid being hooked to the pill.

But if I succeed in controlling this beast, I know I would have won perhaps one of the biggest victories of my life.

Ashishandradhika.com will continue the way it is. My new blog will be a chronicle of what I do as I measure and monitor my progress.  So if you are interested in following what I do and learn as I combat cholesterol… stay tuned.

So here goes… my attempt to be a fitter guy….perhaps this blog will help me be motivated enough to finally execute the elaborate plans I make each day after lunch at work ! And just maybe… maybe help me complete a half marathon before the end of the year 2010… Now THAT, should be fun !