MRC Veterans: Harsha Akula

Running does not mean racing every time. Ask any running enthusiast how to stay motivated to continue running, and he would definitely say sign up for a race. Yes that is true, but not everyone likes racing. You can just run for the sake of health, and not to compare timings with your run buddies. Yes that’s perfectly normal. Plus not racing also has its perks; you’ll be relieved of the burden of high training mileage and expenses that a race training brings along with it. You don’t need to pin up that bib to prove you run, there are some who run silently indoors, away from the glamours of racing. There are people, who stay away from the racing gossip, running relentlessly, not to beat any personal bests, but still enjoying the runner’s high. Running is something you do for yourself. It relaxes you, relieves you of stress, depression, makes you meet new people and cultures and most importantly, running is the healthiest, cheapest and most rejuvenating form of entertainment. When you run you rule the winds. Whether you run indoors or outdoors, the whole point is you just keep logging in the miles. You keep your feet moving. Whether you run indoors or outdoors, you run slow or fast, you are still a runner.

Our runner this week is someone who has never run outdoors, but is still a fantastic runner. We invited her for first outdoor run just recently. She keeps her motivation high by the quotes on the walls of Marena.

One of her favorite quote is up on one of the walls in Marena
It says:-
“Whether you think you’re gonna finish or not, you’re probably right.”

Meet Harsha Akula, a final year MBBS student at Kasturba Medical College who is a perfect example of an extremely dedicated runner who never misses a run every day despite having a hectic schedule, well you all know the limitless studies of medical students. For her running is what gives her limitless power and energy. So let’s get to know her better and her motivation so that we are encouraged to step out and explore new horizons:

MRC: What got you into running??
HA: I think my first memory of me jogging would be as a seven year old. I was chubby enough to pass off as an overweight kid, and so my dad started taking me to Corniche (A place in Dubai – Can also be called The Marine Drive of Dubai 😉 ) to jog with him.
My dad’s an amazing runner. So in the course of leaving home and getting to the starting point, I’d be tired, trying to catch up with him.
But I’d wobble around, you know, and I think that’s how I still see myself; Wobbling around in Marena.

The jogging track inside Marena.


MRC: You seem pretty serious about running. So when did running become a passion?
HA: Running became a passion solely because of Manipal; more so because of Marena. I was in the middle of first year, and my stress was beginning to get to me.
Academically and socially, I felt lost. And I kept overthinking and stressed more and more over it. It was just a bad loop. But I’d spent half an hour, with myself, on the track and it just made me feel powerful. My body and mind were in unison, my spirits indomitable.
With each run my mind game got stronger. The high was unbeatable.
Suddenly, everything else became secondary. There was no other way I’d want to spend my free time. Be it a mellow day or a success, I’d just want to run.
That very second I knew; that this was my passion.
Nope, running didn’t solve any problem. It just gave me the power and the clarity to face it.

MRC: What has been your major breakthrough in running?

HA: I don’t really think I’ve had a breakthrough yet, still hoping for one.
But I do feel good when I place in the races in Manipal and in Mist. Feels pretty fantastic.

MRC: How do you recover post run?

HA: I think yoga and stretching are essential to any runner.
I spend five minutes before and after (And occasionally in between), stretching.
I was good at karate in school so I do incorporate what I’ve learnt there.
(Frog jumps and duck walk actually help me stretch)
But that’s pretty much it.
MRC: You ran for the first time outdoors recently. How did it feel?

HA: Running outdoors felt fantastic. And the only thing keeping me going was the rains, but it was really refreshing. Definitely gonna be taking it outdoors more from now on.

That’s Harsha, on the extreme left, her joy knows no bound after running outdoor.

MRC: How would you compare running indoors v/s outdoors?

HA: Well, running indoors is special in its own way, because there’s no restriction on time, safety, weather, or traffic. Running indoors saves you from the terrible heat in summer or the unlimited rains in the monsoon providing an ambient atmosphere suitable for runners to work out. Moreover indoor jogging tracks and treadmills help in cross training such as high speed sprints and interval training. But the view outdoors is the icing. Nothing can beat that. I’m still in splits on this one

MRC: Everyone knows how tough the medical studies are, still you find time for runs. That’s seriously great. Any words of advice for fellow medical students who want to take up running, but don’t find time for it?

HA: It’s hard, I won’t deny. But if you put aside an hour of your day every day for a physical activity, it really does add quality to the time you spend studying. I’d say, quit worrying about time and tie your laces.

MRC: What are your future goals in running?

HA: Future goals would be to start outdoor running regularly.
I do intend on coming with MRC for a few runs before the final sem gets the better off me.
My hometown is full of runners. But for me, nothing beats Manipal.

MRC’s take on indoor running:  “If you live in an unpleasant area or in the middle of a big city then it may be that you don’t have anywhere to run that would be safe and scenic. Somehow the prospect of running along a busy road in a rough neighborhood isn’t always the inspiration you need to make you get outside. Do try to run outdoors whenever possible, cause you can’t replicate the conditions indoor. Unless and until the Government imposes an emergency like situation, or the streets are flooded, you are good to go on the road. But nevertheless, wherever you run, the whole point is to keep on going. If outdoor running is not your cup of tea, and running indoor seems peaceful, then be it, stick to it. Just keep those feet moving. Just keep the motivation high.”

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