She ran her way to recovery after a paralytic attack
New Delhi, August 19, 2021
Running is a form of expression, of endurance, resilience, emotions, and a way to attain high levels of fitness. There is recreational running and then competitive running -- the long distance and marathon runners, punishing their bodies as they look to establish glory with some amazing lung power.
Celebrated writer Haruki Murakami has dedicated a book to running -- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running -- where he takes us on a journey that began when he was 33, accomplishing six miles a day, six times a week. He evolved to complete marathons, triathlons and even an ultramarathon. That book was about the power of running.
For Rachana Vijay, a writer based in Jaipur, running became a critical part of her life after suffering a paralytic attack five years ago. "The entire left side of my body was paralyzed,” she says. Amazingly, she was up and about in two months and was back on the track in a mere three months from the dreadful attack.
“I ensured that I was moving forward. And since I started running after the paralytic attack, I haven't stopped. I have taken part in a number of half- marathons. I have been cycling as well," said Rachana, who is an interior designer by profession. She has not read Murakami but she might well pen her own “life lessons.”
It was an arduous recovery for Rachana, who keeps herself busy writing poems and on current affairs. “I have grown up being ridiculed for my obesity (100 kg). When I had this attack, the doctors gave my husband (Shyam Vijay) half an hour to reach the hospital,” she said. He drove 55 km in half an hour and that saved her life.
Rachana remembers coming to senses with her face distorted. “It was heartbreaking. My lips were touching my left ear. So many tubes were inserted into my body. It was scary.”
But she shocked everyone by insisting on taking a selfie. “I wanted that as a reminder image,” she said.
For someone who took to running by participating in the Jaipur Glow Run (2 km) in 2016, it was fascinating to be nominated the brand ambassador of the event in 2017. She credits her “love” for running to Mukesh Mishra, founder of the Jaipur Runners Club.
Rachana has motivated others to take to running. "I have been motivating a group of 20-25 people to run and take care of their health. Some people think that they cannot run or exercise regularly, but I know that it's a psychological thing and hence I try to motivate them to start running every day. I have been motivating everyone to run five kilometers every day,” says Rachana as she prepares for the Sunfeast India Move As One event.
"My main aim is to motivate people to exercise every day. If someone says that they cannot exercise, I give them my example about how I came back from the paralytic attack. I didn't exercise regularly before the paralytic attack. I used to find excuses to not exercise; however, after the paralytic attack, I don't have any excuse to not exercise," she says.
She confessed to having “25 tablets a day” at one time to now living a healthy life without any medicine for her diabetic condition. Mother of a two-year old daughter, Rachana lives a “happy” life thanks to her cycling and running. “And my lovely family.”
At Rs 149, the first-of-its-kind citizen-led Sunfeast India Move As One movement encourages participants to run, walk, jog, cycle, use a wheelchair, treadmill, or stationary bike. Rs 50 from every registration will go directly towards NGOs supporting children's causes.
Registrations for the Sunfeast India Move As One will continue till September 2021. Participants will have the opportunity to fundraise until 30th Sep 2021.