Tête-à-tête with Spoorthi Seethamma
Spoorthi Seethamma is an ultra-marathon runner from Coorg, presently living and working in Bangalore. She is also a Pinkathon Ambassador who has been running for quite a few years now. You can almost always catch her at the major running events in and around Bangalore. Here’s what she had to share with us:
When did you start running?
That would be about a few years back, in May 2014 that I started running. I progressed up to running in ultra runs after about a year, in December 2015.
What inspired you to run?
It wasn’t a fairy tale moment when I decided to take up running. I was overweight and as my first step towards fitness, I started running. I say there was nobody or nothing that inspired me to start; but once I started, there was inspiration all around. Young people, old, people, their energy, everything was so inspiring. I felt like I was in a different world, and I haven’t looked back ever since.
It has truly changed my life, and I’d like to believe that I too inspire many around me, for there is no greater joy than the joy I feel when strangers walk up to me and say that I have brought a positive change in their lives.
How often do you run?
Well, about 4 or 5 times in a week.
What’s your favorite running story?
Till date, my best run was the one from Bangalore to Hyderabad. It was one of the toughest things I had done back then, covering 600 km in 11 days. There were a lot of challenges which I have jotted down in my blog as well; challenges that required great mental stability. Though it was tough, I would always like to say I was TOUGHER!
What is more important mental of physical preparation?
Though everyone might give you different answers, but for me it is all a mind game. Yes, physical fitness is necessary; your diet, your sleep, everything matters. But if you are not strong mentally, it’s not your game, specially an Ultra run.
How do you prepare mentally, for an ultra-run?
I just talk to myself. I ask if a particular run is necessary for me. If the answer is ‘Yes’, then there are no more questions asked. I believe I am blessed with some insanity that pushes me to test and challenge myself. And there are so many people supporting and sending their prayers during my long runs, and knowing that also plays a big role.
Does music help?
Yes, of course it does. There is a different level of energy that you feel when you listen to music. Like time, music too is a healer. I personally like playing fast tracks during my runs. Nevertheless, it’s always good to be prepared to run in any situation.
How has running changed your life?
Running has changed my life completely. It’s helped me maintain my fitness and I see a lot of positive changes in my stamina. My metabolism has improved over the past few years as well. And it’s not just about the physical changes; running has also helped me in many other ways. My level of confidence is much higher than what it used to be, before I started running. It has made me a happy and strong person. It has taught me patience; especially after I started running my ultras. I do a lot of self-analysis and self-talking during my long runs. I laugh, I cry, I think, I vent my anger; I do everything that a normal human being would do emotionally. It helps me connect to my inner self; and at the end of each run, I feel I have become a better person. A non-runner or a non-ultra-runner would probably not even understand this and would probably think of me as lame :P
What difference does running gear make?
Running gear can make a lot of difference. I personally like dry fit. Certain materials give a lot of bruises because of heat and friction, and the release of body salt. Dry fit clothes help minimize these. Also the weather (hot or cold) adds to the challenges.
These days, you get running gear that is suitable for different weather. For Example: For the Last Long Run I sported my CVOX jacket, which doesn’t make you feel hot, as it’s a pretty breathable jacket; quite light and comfortable. It also has a pouch behind it, in which I could fold and stuff the whole jacket, which makes packing carrying it pretty easy. The best part of this jacket however, has to be the embedded earphones which provide a snug fit since there are no dangling wires, and are washable as well.
So, it makes a lot of difference what you choose to wear when you are about to set off for an ultra-run.
What is your running goal?
My running goal is to ‘Never Stop Running’. But on a personal note, I would love to be able to set a record, doing something that none have done till now. Let’s see when this would come true, but I know it definitely will.
What was your first experience at an ultra-run?
My first Ultra run was from Bangalore Palace to Mysore Palace in 2 days, covering 150kms on 30th and 31st of Dec, 2015. I was very nervous and scared, more so because I was the only girl our group of 6, and the others were all experienced runners. Milind Soman and Giridhar Kamath encouraged me a lot, and in fact their confidence in me boosted mine as well. In just one year of running, I was attempting this run, and I had butterflies in my stomach. But at the same time, I was confident too, and something in me always kept saying that I would finish this strong and I did.
After that I ran from Bangalore to Hyderabad in 11 days, covering 600kms; Bangalore to Chennai in 6 days, covering 350kms; a 24hrs stadium run, covering 118.6kms; Jaipur to Delhi in 66 hours, nonstop, 3 days and 2 nights, covering 260kms; and Goa to Gokarna in 2 days, covering 145 km. I have participated in 6 ultra-runs till now, and am already eagerly waiting for the next one. I hope there is something coming up very soon. It’s almost like a drug, and I can say that I am addicted.
Do you have any advice for new runners and non-runners?
For New runners – Don’t stop running
For non-runners – Start running
People might try to scare you, talking about things that are not true; don’t listen to them. Just run. Running will make you strong, physically and mentally; and remember to eat right and sleep well.