What I learnt from 2016

On this extremely cold morning on the last day of 2016, I decided (after a long time) to write down my thoughts. Sort of a look back, on the year that changed a lot of things in my life.

January to March:

I've been through some tough times in my life but none were worse than these 3 months. After rolling on tide after tide of success, my uncanny training methods were refused by my body.

My knee gave out, but nonetheless I showed up to SCMM 2016 hoping to run a sub-3 hour marathon riding on the back of a roller coaster season. Well, 6 kms later I was walking back through the dark streets of Mumbai, having had my 2nd DNF and contemplating where my life really was headed. (Wrote about it here)

Far from a Sub-3, I looked like a shadow of my old self, weighing more than I did before I started running.  Having forgotten the years before I started running, I searched for outlets to get the frustrations out but to no avail.

They say nothing succeeds like success and I guess, even I got used to succeeding to such a extent that a minor setback put me on a path of self destructive behavior. I was mean and sarcastic and snappy to anyone who tried to talk to me. Trying to rebuild myself in the gym wasn't really the outlet I needed. I am an outdoors dog and when I was confined indoors, i just scratched the panels on the door petrified at my captivity.

Another adage came true when I saw who surrounded me when I was down. Not the start to the year you would want when you know what was coming your way in the next couple of months.  I learnt who my true friends are and the people who really cared about me for being me and not my "CV". 

Fast and Up India(Vijayraghvan Venugopal, Pavithra Vijay), you were there when I needed you. You might not be the world's biggest sports nutrition brand but you are the ones with the biggest heart.

Garmin India(Siddarth Soni, Manish Kocchar, Satinder Singh, Lalit Semwal), you guys kept your faith in me when I was down and that's what kept me going. No wonder your brand is the world leader in what it does. You guys represent a great brand but are greater human beings.

Zarir Balliwala: If I owe my life to anyone, it is you sir. I never have respected anyone more than I have respected you. If there is anyone I would strive to be, it is you and I would give my all to you if you need me.You have my word on that.

By March my strength was returning. I was cutting into the time I didn't have in the 1st place, to prepare for the greatest challenge of my life: Ultraman Australia

March to May :

Base miles aside, I had nothing in my tank in March and I had 2 months to prepare for a 10 km swim, 421.1 km bike. 84.3 km run to be done under 36 hours.

As an added bonus(read pressure), I was the 1st Indian Male and the youngest Indian to take up the challenge. So much for getting fat in 3 months.

I trained, the best I could. I slogged 9 hours in 1 go on the trainer because riding outside would see my fat corpse on the road(when I die I want to die with 6 pack abs so, I was unwilling to ride outside),
I ran and let the pain take the backseat. I ran and I ran a lot, in the heat with this resilient kid Manav Agarwal, Almost 10 years younger to me, he kept the energy so up, all the time.

But what I forgot to do was swim. Just 11k(in 3 swims). To prepare for a 10k swim. BAD idea,

And I don't if it was stress, or the fact that my body fell in love with the fat in my stomach but not my biceps, but I was still pretty fat when I showed up in Australia.

And then a lot of stuff happened(I spent 22,000 INR on a Taxi, met some legends, made some great friends, all here and here). 32 hours 16 minutes and 57 seconds (along with countless preparation hours) was what it took for me to become the 1st Indian Male to finish Ultraman.

That was quite a step up from even struggling to walk in January.

And okay, I will not lie(its the end of the year), boy what would I not give to see the expression on the faces of those who doubted me.

Don't get me wrong, there were plenty who were backing me up to succeed( RunXtreme Group, Tarun Walecha, Hemant Sindhi and the gang and my wellwishers).

But there is a certain joy that comes from doing something that others think you can't.

I won't waste time on people who thought I would fail. I've just 1 line for them. "Bye bye, I got there 1st, now play catch up" :P

Suck on this haters! :P


These were the months, basking in the glory of what I had achieved, getting fitter(finally I could stop calling myself FAT), travelling(a LOT), messing around with my corporate bosses(SO MUCH FUN) and well, preparing myself for a new adventure.

In June I finally realized another dream, I made it to AISTS. I finally could change my field from IT to Sports!(well I am the IT guy of the class still, but hey I am studying sports!)

And then dream of all dreams, I got to resign from a corporate job! And I got a chance to send a vicious farewell mail! (By now you must have realized I am a very vindictive person :P)

In September, I, Arunaabh Shah, who for 26 years, lived his life from Rohini, finally moved out. To Switzerland.

No more Mom and Dad to pick up after me. Time to grow my own wings had finally come.

Mid September -December:

 Bloody eventful if I must say. I'll condense this into bullet points:

1, My girlfriend ran her 1st 10k(Yay!). Yes she groaned and whined through the way, but she finished. And I because I ran with her phone and had to take a detour because I was doing the 10k as a bandit runner, she got a couple of Strava KOMs on some hills in the city. :P

2 idiots

2. I started studying again! Which is a lot of fun. The inner nerd in me was dying to hit the books again and I got a chance to do so.

Plus the college is as awesome as it was promised. I got to ride in the Velodrome at UCI, got to play Legolas at the World Archery Center and even did Curling! The lectures are awesome.

Coming from a BAD engineering college, quality education and being in a classroom with really smart people makes my life better :)

AISTS MSA Class of 2017

3. I got to see Switzerland(Matterhorn, Zermatt, Engleberg, Mount Titlis, Lausanne, Geneva, Basel, Vevey, Montreux, Aigle) and France(Lyon, Grenoble, Strasbourg) {the later courtesy my lady}, got to run, bike, hike, swim, climb in some amazing places.


4. I ran a Marathon again. And after running the 1st half in 1:26 and with no one else to talk to, I called my mom and asked her if I could quit. When she said no, I literally walked back helping others out, picking up the trash and giving people foot massages. Still finished in 3:27. Not too bad eh?

Lausanne Marathon

5. I "mastered" the art of cooking.I won't boast here. because I prefer my actions do the talking.
So if anyone wants to try something I have cooked, they are most welcome to do so.

But they'll have to leave an honest feedback.

Shahi Paneer, with Raita, Rotis and Jaljeera 

6. And finally, I found myself being thin again!

All the running and biking in the Swiss air is doing a world of good to me.

Got to go for a run now(it's -1 outside, yay!). And then make breakfast. And lunch. And think about what to make for dinner. And catch some Pokemons!

Wish all of you(who took the time and effort to read it to the end) a very Happy New Year! May 2017 not suck as bad for you as early 2016 did for me!

PS: My year end stats :

Close to 10,000 kms covered while doing Swim(162 kms), Bike(7500 kms) and Run(2437 kms).

Yeah, the numbers are little down, BUT I DIDN'T TRAIN FOR THE 1st 3 MONTHS OF THIS YEAR.

So yes, those numbers are for 9 months.

Happy 2017 to y'all!

PPS : My goals for 2017?

Find a good internship and a good job!

Oh you meant, athletics wise?

You think I'll tell? :P


  1. Nice Blog, well described for commitments/achievements /Your learning/and future plans..

    God bless you and fulfill all your dreams this year and all coming years


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