Running those first \pi miles changed my life forever. I am no longer the chubby out-of-shape couch potato that I used to be.

I always wanted to run. So many times, I had the urge to run and keep myself fit. I would call up Jimish and we would decide upon the time and place our jogging would start the next morning. But no sooner did I begin running than I would give up. It wasn’t much fun. I would puff and pant and gasping for breath, would start walking, sit down on the park bench and decide never to run again. After running for two or three days, the health-conscious side of both of us would again die away and things would soon turn back to usual.

But it was in Chennai last year that Jonathan came to visit IMSc that I became serious about running. He and Sachin were regular runners at their institute – the IISc at Bangalore. Both used to run on the service road outside IMSc and I was again hit by the running bug. During the starting days, I recollect being unable to run even half a kilometer without stopping. I didn’t think I could run half as much as they could. I hadn’t the body of a runner. Turns out, a meticulous running plan, their supportive encouragement and some control over my food habits was all I needed to tap the inner runner in me.

With a steady running schedule, I could run back and forth the distance between the two railway stations there. Just in two months, I lost around 8 kilos. All the stuff they show in those gym ads actually came true for me without pumping any weights, only by running! But the joy was not in seeing myself on the weighing scale every fortnight but the fact that I could actually run so much distance in one stretch. I was amazed that my body could actually endure it.

Back in Mumbai too, I continued to run, increasing distance periodically. When Pushkar visited India, I was surprised to see he too had lost pounds. On questioning, he replied he too started running, and we nodded in total agreement. In Pushi, I found a run-buddy! For the one week he was in India, we ran together on the Eastern Express highway.

When I came to America, I could see people running everywhere in all weather at all times of the day. This inspired me greatly and I expanded my running paraphernalia to include sports tees, a pair of running shoes and a GPS enabled cellphone with a running App (Runkeeper) that tracks your speed, location etc. Its much fun running here on a jogging trail with trees and river around. The air too, seems cleaner.

When Pushkar described his \pi-mile run at Georgia Tech, I was amazed. Being a lover of mathematics, the word “\pi-miles” stuck in my mind. I knew my next mission. Inspired from Pushi, I set out for running \pi miles. I had never completed the trail and my cell App told me that it was 1.5 miles. I continued further until it showed 1.57 miles and then turned back. Pacing steadily, and varying my speed regularly, I ran till I reached the end of the trail, … \pi miles it was! In just above 30 minutes! A couple of months back if anyone would have told me I could run so much, I’d have mocked at him.

There have been many difficulties I faced while running, for example, one day I swallowed a bug and it was real sour. I thought I was going to die for sure! But apparently, it is quite common among regular runners. I saw this blog and realized how crazy people can go.

Winter is setting up and running at near-freezing-point temperatures seems difficult. Tougher the challenge means more the excitement! Geared with woolens now, I am preparing myself for this challenge. “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, they say. Lets see how this goes, I will write a sequel to this post by the end of winter describing my experiences.