Meet Smita — a cancer survivor, a super mom, and a runner who takes life in her stride [no pun intended :)]. Although Smita started her fitness journey to lose weight, her love with and for fitness has transformed not only her body, but also her life. Here’s her story, as told by Smita.
My name is Smita Amdekar, I am a mother of two boys, 16 and 13 years old. I love to run, and realised my dream of becoming a full marathoner last year and most importantly a conqueror. That day, May 24th 2018 forever changed the way I looked at life. Yes, I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Adenoma Malignum. Thankfully, it was only stage 1 and post operation I would be fine. The doctors said that I would have to be operated as soon as possible and the surgery took place on June 17th. Prior to the surgery itself I had registered for the Bengaluru full marathon that was scheduled to take place on Oct 16th. This was my dream. I was a half marathoner until then. I am a very regular runner and I was supposed to follow a training plan as I was doing my base training, but June 17th changed everything. After the surgery, I was out of commission for 2 months, and so was my dream of doing my debut full marathon — or so I thought.
Throughout my post-surgery rest phase, I missed exercising terribly, but my body just couldn’t do it. However, after a month I started with one goal: run just one kilometre. I was drained from the start, out of breath, and unable to finish in less than 15 minutes. But even though it felt like it would nearly break me, it served as a mental motivation. I believe a positive attitude and a can-do attitude helps. Medical science played a great part in my recovery but what helped much more was the positive attitude that my family and friends brought to me. My doctor said that I would not just recover but be able to run as well. And I wanted to believe in it and make it happen. I started on a very light running routine and slowly started rebuilding strength and endurance.
The fitness bug got into me when I was in the United States and had an access to the gym of my college. Until then I was on the heavier side. I had my undergrad classes from the morning to the afternoon and then had a 3-hour break after which I had an evening job. In those 3 hours I could not have gone home and come back to class. My college, University of Massachusetts, Boston, had a gym, so my friend and I decided that we should use it instead of just sitting by the harbour and munching on chips. As we started going to the gym 4 times a week, we began to like it and eventually transformation began to happen. Cross training, running on the treadmill, and doing some weights had become a routine for me.
I realised that I had developed a liking for running. It made me forget everything and helped me get into a meditative state. This motivated me to buy a treadmill at home and there was no looking back. I never used to run outside, did not know what outside running was. After graduation, I used to run on the treadmill almost every day for 5 km and this helped me keep my weight under control.
After my 1st pregnancy, I weighed 90 kg and I had to get my back to my 51 kg pre-preg weight. So I joined a gym again and started doing cross training, weights, and cardio, and I can proudly say that it took a year and a half and I got back to 55 kg. Ever since then I have maintained my weight against all odds. When we moved to India, I got introduced to outdoor running by my friends and loved it. I run with this awesome group called Team Miles Ahead who never cease to inspire me to do more!
Running gives me a high, it has shown me how to lead a disciplined life, how to be consistent and how to work hard to achieve a goal and to be happy. Being fit helped me through my recovery after cancer surgery too. As runner, I get up early and go to bed early, this I would say is a discipline in one way. It requires no equipment, just a pair of shoes, so one can just get out there and run. I always had a dream of running a full marathon and would think if I could even run just one full marathon in my lifetime. I followed a training plan, trained hard, and made my dream come true in 2018. My husband is also a full marathoner and I love running with him. He has been my greatest support through my illness and has always motivated me to run more! Health is wealth and I am glad I try to take care of my health to the best of my ability.
If I can, you can too! Being fit is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.Smita Amdekar
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