Excessive Sweating, Cycling and Running a Full Marathon – Tejas Kokate

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Introduction to Cycling

Monsoon 2013. Every morning I would see people cycling or running from my window. Mom would complain incessantly about my laziness and goad me to go out like the others. I didn’t.

My birthday was approaching. Dad decided to gift me a bike. I suggested he gift me a Mountain Bike (MTB) instead. The bike came and I started cycling regularly on the Chandni chowk – Pashan route. Later on I discovered it was the favorite route for runners and cyclists. I began exploring other places and enjoyed it.

I joined a cycling group and would go for long rides on weekends covering 50 to 75 kms. I was now in love with cycling and purchased cycling lights and other gear so that I could cycle in the night too. I joined other cycling groups in Pune and went with them on long rides. I avoided cycling alone because of the scary street dogs.

Next I tried out a few mobile apps. STRAVA worked well for me. STRAVA also helps you connect you with other cyclists on the same route. I once found my school friend through STRAVA! We reconnected and cycled 75-100 km on Sundays. We went to Torna fort, Sinhagad fort, Hadshi Mandir, Bopdev Ghat and other places.
I was hooked to cycling and getting better and better and more and more involved.
After cycling for over a year I took part in the BRM 200km race. I started the race well but was struck by cramps after 80km. It was a struggle from thereon. I stretched, hydrated, took breaks. Nothing helped. Eventually I had to quit the race.
A very disappointing end but with a valuable realization. I perspire more than others so my hydration needs were much higher. I needed to prepare differently.
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Sweat and Run

In late 2014 I met Nikhil Shah from PUNE RUNNING and joined the Bavdhan-Kothrud running group. My first run was 5km from Chandni Chowk to Ambrosia resort. I was completely out of breath after just 2km with my t-shirt soaked in sweat. My running partners were shocked at the sight. They pointed out that it was definitely abnormal and should be investigated.

This triggered a doctor’s appointment. I found out that I was suffering from Hyperhidrosis (a medical term for excessive sweating from body).

I wanted to quit running but my running partners advised me to instead run at a slow pace and carry a water bottle while running. It helped.

I trained regularly with a steady pace and gradually increased the mileage. In December 2014 I ran 10km in 1hr 15 min at the Pune International Marathon. A significant milestone for me.

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There are incidents of distance runners dying due to exhaustion and other factors. This was always at the back of my mind. I had to be careful. I increased my distance gradually from 10km to 15km. Strength training twice a week was added to my schedule. So to was hill run to Oxford Golf Course (OGC) and bike and hike to Sinhagad fort.
I ran the Kundalika River Marathon. A picturesque route alongside the Kundalika river but very deceptive. It was an evening run in summer and at one point I was left dehydrated and cramped lying on the road right in the middle of nowhere. Fellow runners helped me back on my feet and egged me on to the finish line in 3 hours time. Phew!
I learned the importance of practicing in the evenings.

With the dedicated and structured training my fitness and performance improved significantly. I ran 20 half marathons in the year.

Accidental Barefoot Runner

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I ran 21k in PUNE RUNNING’s Last Sunday of the month (LSoM) event.Half way through the run I had extremely painful blisters on my feet. When the pain became unbearable I left my shoes at a water station and completed the run barefoot. It was surprisingly comfortable.

I ran the Hyderabad half marathon. This time time barefoot from the start.. It felt very good.

Every half marathon increased my confidence. I felt ready for a full marathon and registered for the best of them all, the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM).

There were a lot of apprehensions about running a full marathon ranging from inconvenience to threat to life. I put them all aside and focused on my training.

SCMM day weather was good and I completed 21km with relative ease. The roads were barefoot friendly, nice.

Fun started thereafter. At 25km I felt a sharp pain in the knee, ITB problem. I had to slow down significantly and ice the knee at every water station. By the 35km mark, the knee pain had become unbearable, the sun was up, humidity was high and I was sweating profusely. I seriously considered quitting but, thankfully, decided otherwise.

I fought my way through, walking and jogging in pain. The last kilometer was a limp-run-walk exercise. But the best part, I successfully completed my first full marathon at SCMM! A dream come true, an achievement that I will always be proud of.

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Some Wisdom

At 28, I am relatively young but I guess I have now earned the right to advice others. For those who are in IT sector like me or from other areas with a busy schedule, it is important and very much possible to take time out for fitness. You only need the intent to do it. Take up activities that interests you – running, cycling, swimming, walking, whatever.

Sometimes, one may have certain health conditions. Excessive sweating is mine. With the right kind of training and medical advice, that can be overcome too.

Join a good community around your place and go the whole hog. Make new friends, learn new things and bring in freshness to your life. One can’t be forced into this. Only you can do it and once you are in, trust me, there is no looking back. You will be hooked for life! And remember me in your prayers for showing the way :)

Tejas Kokate is a Pune-based IT professional

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