Thank you for -Not SMOKING

Just a couple of days more and I will have officially gone six months without smoking. For me it is quiet an achievement, after having smoked for over a decade and countless failed attempts to quit- These six months is a great positive to take. I also think it is fair for me to say that at this point I have by far exceeded my own expectation by a country mile and now I feel in the hindsight it really was not that all difficult. And I wonder why I had failed so many times.

Disastrous Way to Quit Smoking

 But I do know that- it has not been so easy especially to begin with. Early July, at the very beginning it was an easy decision – “ I am going to quit smoking” I had said. But keeping up with those words would be a challenge and I knew that. When I did not smoke for the next week I thought I was doing it. But the next four days I was back to smoking. I was not smoking a lot but even one in three days meant I was still smoking. In the first ten days after I said I was done smoking I had smoked four. On a larger scale that still was an insignificant number and I could have told myself –“ Four, in ten days is not bad. Previously I have done ten in a day. So progress.” But instead this other thought came over my head and I felt I was not doing justice to my words. And then on, ten days later after having said I was not going to smoke but had, I decided THIS WAS IT. I was livid with myself for not staying true to my words. And when I purchased that fifth cigarette- the purpose was not to smoke but to crush it into pieces and throw it away. And that is exactly what I did. A bit dramatic but I did it anyway. And ever since the day I crushed that cigarette, I have been able to crush the urge, the desire and the need to smoke. And I can say“ It feels absolutely amazing.”

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My lungs would probably be the first one to admit how great it feels. Now, that I have a strict running schedule my lungs need to be healthy and with no first hand smoke intake my lungs would say that “ Thank you for not smoking.” There are so many advantages to not smoking and I think smokers are well aware of that. I was well aware of the disadvantage of smoking but I smoked nevertheless, back then. Often I would argue when someone said “Smoking kills”. I would say just for the heck of it “ What doesn’t?” But now I think it is more about being able to live so much better when smoke free. And for me it has been an experiment I have conducted on myself. You read it everywhere the benefits of not smoking but you won’t know it unless you quit. I was willing to experiment & challenge myself and I can say the benefits show. For smokers I would like you to take up the experiment, take it up as a challenge and see it for yourself.

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As for me I can’t thank myself enough for having given up smoking. I did not do it for anyone but for myself alone. But I can also say though I did it for myself, I have been able to make people that care about me happy as well. And there isn’t a better feeling than being able to make your loved ones happy by your actions. I am pretty sure given how these six months have gone for me – there is no way I would want to go down the smokers lane again.

From running for life to running for life

On April 25th, 2015 on what looked like a normal Saturday- 7.8 Magnitude earthquake shook Nepal. I was on the top most part of the house where the water tanks were kept. And when the first tremor hit my initial response was to jump to a level below. Which I believe is no less than 8 to 10 feet. If you asked me to do it today – I would definitely hesitate and think twice. But on this day- I jumped and raced out to get mom and we scampered together to the nearest open ground. Small aftershocks followed throughout the day and into the night. The very next day another huge aftershock this was followed by even larger 7.3 Magnitude aftershock about a week later. The aftershocks kept me on my toes almost always. The impact of the earthquake was so mentally traumatizing that even if some stupid yelled out earthquake- I was ready to make a dash for it. I was basically running for life, too scared to get trampled upon, scared because I did not want to die- not now, not like this.

Nepal, a beautiful south Asian nation sandwiched between India and China. This is as close as it gets to defining Nepal in a sentence. And us Nepali’s have had this definition engraved in our minds since the first standard and for some even before. But when I say beautiful Nepal, I am really not exaggerating any of it. It really is a staggering beauty with its mountainous range, epic hills, bio-diversity paradise and so much more. It really is the case of “You have to be here to see and experience it.” But the beauty has a dark side to it. And Nepal is really one of the poorest nations in the world. There is so much to do, in so many fronts: Education, Gender issues, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and the list goes on. Constant political turmoil and bickering has been one reason the country finds itself lagging behind and the earthquake has just added to the plight. According to a post from the Kathmandu Post – Money (2015-10-6) the growth rate has fallen down drastically ever since the earthquake – from 5 to 3.4%.
The land topography of Nepal does not do it much favor either especially in infrastructural development projects. So, roads have not yet been linked to a large portion of the nation. Which means people have to walk huge distance and in an arduous terrain. That I why I think it’s fair to say we Nepali’s are cut out for the tough task. Also i think we were born for endurance sports because we basically walk this terrain. And maybe that’s why i just had a spontaneous thought of running. It was by no means a conscious decision back then though. I just felt growing up in the city- I had lost my appetite to walk and run. And I was so caught up in the buzz of city that I had neglected the physical demands of the body. But in the hindsight maybe going back to the basics was the perfect way to finding a way upfront. And that’s exactly what I have done – gone back to walking, running and cycling. Physically I have never been fitter and mentally i feel i am a lot clear in the head and I don’t plan on stopping running anytime soon. If anything I am going to run more. I don’t know how this will add up in the future or how I will be able to contribute but for now it has been a question of self-investment. And more importantly I just have a gut feeling that it will all add up somewhere, sometime. I have just got to keep at it and keep moving. And this is how I started running for life literally.
(My daily running journal since the day I started http://www.immarunthemarathon.blogspot.com )

The world’s most delicious apple

It was the 26th of December-last Saturday and I was doing my weekend five miler for the third time. The week before that I had just completed my second five miles and the week before that the first.  In the first week I grew hungry when running and even more after completing 5 miles. I was still fair distance away from home and most importantly food. So, in the second week I decided to take an apple with me. I had done around two and half miles and I got hungry. So, I munched on the apple while running. Now, what I did back then was munch the entire apple very fast and as a result- I felt I might throw up. Luckily, I didn’t. But what I figured was that was no way to eat and run.

So, in the third attempt I carried an apple and started my run. Half-way through the run again I got a bit hungry. And so I munched on the apple. This time however, I just took two bites of it and shoved it back in my hoodie pocket and continued to run. As I ran further I took another two bites of the apple and into the pocket it went again. Soon I was done with my five miles and pretty pleased with my days effort. I was hungry and I had the apple with me. It was munching time.

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The most delicious apple (whatever was left) 26/12/2015

And then I tasted it- the most delicious apple in the entire world. I was tired after the run and hungry and this half-eaten apple was fruit divine. I was so into eating that apple – I was literally, in the middle of the road talking to the apple about how delicious it was. “You are one of the most delicious apples I have ever eaten. You are so delicious that if you ate yourself- you’d actually find yourself delicious. Pity! An apple as delicious as you has to be devoured but thank you” I said. Part of this conversation was inspired (Copied) from the apple conversation from the movie “Into the Wild”. But that conversation fit my situation perfectly so I used it – and I had not made any prior plans to actually to use it anyway.

That is the story of the most delicious apple ever eaten. Tomorrow is another Saturday, which means another five or more miles. But I have one more incentive to run now – I might just get to taste the most delicious apple again.