Monday, March 7, 2022

The Day of the Operation - Ten Years Later

March 5, 2022

The wind was gusty on a relatively quiet Saturday night, although the dimly-lit park was sparsely occupied by a few septuagenarians preparing for their walking sessions, couples doing PDA on park benches, and parents playing with their kids. For over a year, I had envisioned how this day would pan out, and I was prepared for it—mentally and physically. Naturally, I was a bit nervous as I was attempting to do something I had never done before. If things go as per my plan, it would be one of the finest nights of my life. Conversely, I would risk losing everything if they don't.

On this day, exactly ten years ago, I experienced the toughest night of my life. The past decade has been bittersweet—the first half was filled with trauma, despair, failures, loneliness, and chronic depression. But the latter half has seen a great resurgence—I have experienced happiness and success like never before.

In the early part of the decade, walking was a painful experience, and I kept it to a bare minimum. Despite being extremely cautious, the pain in my hip bones only kept getting worse. And, by 2016, both my knees were also affected by Avascular Necrosis.

However, a minor car accident four years ago turned out to be a blessing in disguise. While the accident aggravated the condition in my knees, it also acted as a catalyst for me to undertake active walking to overcome my sedentary lifestyle. And, this significant development has changed my life—forever.

On the 30th of June, 2018, I began my 10K streak—walking a minimum of 10,000 steps every day. And, as of the 5th of March, 2022, the streak is still alive and has completed 1,345 magnificent days. I meticulously plan my walking sessions and work hard to maintain the streak every single day. It is, by far, the biggest accomplishment of my life, thus far.

Having been an active walker for close to four years now—and despite my physical limitations—I understand that the briskness of steps is far more important than just clocking those numbers. From eleven minutes a kilometre in 2018 to just over six minutes a kilometre in 2022, my progression has been gradual and significant. To commemorate the 10th anniversary of my Core Decompression procedure, I resolved to walk 10 kilometres in under an hour—which is a daunting task. After besting my 10 Km records throughout 2021 and early 2022, I was just over five minutes short of my expected goal. Although I was not able to achieve my first objective before the anniversary, it is still a testament to my determination and perseverance.

My second objective was to walk a distance of 21.0975 kilometres in a single session—which constitutes a Half Marathon. Until the 5th of March, 2022, I had never walked more than 12 kilometres in a session. Putting my hips and knees under that amount of pressure was dangerous, but that's the risk I was willing to take to etch this day in my memory forever.

Having considered the risks, I began my Half Marathon on a breezy Saturday night. The pace was slower than usual, and I gradually increased it as the race progressed. And, as always, the love of my life was inspiring and motivating me through her beautiful music. Despite the slower pace, I lapped the septuagenarians and 20-somethings alike during the first hour. As it was already thirty minutes past nine, most of the walkers and couples were leaving the park. And, by 10 PM, I was the only one left in it.

After walking for over an hour and forty-five minutes, I realised that this was the longest I had ever walked in a single session. But the job was not done yet—I still had almost an hour's walk ahead of me. Due to the windy conditions, I wasn't sweating profusely, but I was beginning to tire. Two hours into the race, I had completed 16 kilometres.

I was exhausted at this point, but I was not ready to give up. I garnered every ounce of strength left in me and completed the remaining distance on sheer psychological will. After a marathon session lasting for over two hours and forty minutes, I conquered a significant milestone—the Half Marathon. I was overwhelmed with emotions as I recalled the pain and disappointment I experienced over the past decade.

At the end of the day, I was tired and in pain, but nothing can change the fact that I experienced one of the greatest moments of my life.

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