It was the 2012 Vasai-Virar marathon, and the first time Vinod Nalumakkal was running a race. At that time, 21km was almost an unthinkable distance for him to run but he managed to pull it off eventually. “The last 500m gave me goosebumps all over my body. That’s how I remember that. It was a completely different time and it changed me from there,” he recalls.
The story of Kandivali-based Vinod (43) turning away from parties to running is truly inspiring. A changed man now, he beams with pride when he says that his early morning running gives him a bigger high than his previous vices ever did. Vinod now wakes up at 5 am to hit the running track. For him, the moment of change took place when a visit to the doctor helped change his perspective.
The moment of change
In 2012, Vinod was overweight at 95kg thanks to his sedentary lifestyle. However, he received a wake-up call when the doctor revealed that his health was not at its peak and required that he keep his weight in check besides staying well hydrated.
Advised to take up physical activity, Vinod began walking. Barely able to run initially, he slowly started getting the hang of it. Hundred meters became 200 and then 500 metres. “It (running) was giving me a completely different high. I got addicted to it. The doctor’s visit kind of scared me at that point. Now my condition is completely normal. If you are fit, it’s like 98 percent of a trained athlete. So that’s the efficiency level that I have achieved,” he enthuses.
Introduction to the half-marathon!
Vinod puts a big emphasis on having positive people around as he feels that your environment and the people surrounding you are conducive to your growth as an athlete and person. Once, while running at the Borivali National Park, a friend suggested that Vinod enroll for a half-marathon. He shrugged it off, thinking it was something only for professionals but his friend persisted and six months after the doctor diagnosed his condition, he went ahead and completed the 2012 Vasai-Virar marathon!
“You need to believe in yourself at whatever stage of life. If you develop passion and work hard towards it, anything is possible. I am thinking of doing a full Ironman in the next two years. Age is not a factor as you need to have that discipline, that focus with the team, and your running buddies,” Vinod shares some valuable advice for aspiring runners.
A pillar of support
It’s been a long road and Vinod has now changed his routine completely. “I don’t party that much now. Maybe thrice a year. I feel that the high that I get out of early morning training is a much bigger high than what I got from alcohol, smoking and all the vices that I used to indulge in.”
But Vinod admits he couldn’t have done all this without his family’s support. “They support me in everything, the nutrition that I need, the kind of training, the routine that I need to maintain, and most importantly the discipline that I have to maintain every morning. I know how putting on the lights at 5 am is disturbing for other people, so I try to be as silent as possible. That’s how supportive they are.”
Dreamer, achiever and believer!
Vinod is now in fantastic shape and has run races across the country. What’s more, he went from not being able to swim to competing in triathlons! He is visibly pleased when he talks about completing a Half-Ironman in Pune. “I feel that I am much fitter than I was at the age of 18. I feel stronger, fitter and my focus is better. My attitude has completely changed. It’s positive. You come across so many people who are highly motivated. That’s the environment that you are in, so you tend to think and be like them. That has helped me a lot and that’s how it is for me,” he concludes.