Livingit is not only a platform for people who follow passions but also a statement one makes to the world – “I am Living it” . As a part of our overall vision of bringing a lot of content around different passions to our users, we are starting our #IamLivingit series where we will bring you stories of people who are following their passions and can inspire others to do the same. The very first in this series is an interview with Lakshmi Moorthy, Co-Founder and CEO of Hyderabad based B2B IT services company Nichebees Technosolutions, on his journey in Marathon running.
Often one gets caught up in the corporate race, forgetting to take time out to focus on healthy habits and athletic activities. However, there are some people who are able to strike a balance to perfection and Lakshmi is one of them. Not only does Lakshmi Moorthy run his company efficiently, he is also an active marathon runner. What started as a health activity with a goal to reduce weight, has now become a passion and reducing weight is only a positive side effect. We caught up with Lakshmi for an in-depth interview on his journey in Marathon running. Read away!
Livingit: Tell us a bit more about your background as a marathon runner – when and how did you become runner?
Lakshmi Moorthy: About 2-3 years back I realised, accidentally, that I couldn’t cope with my son’s speed. I was weighing 100 kilos or so and I was panting for my breath. Previously to that I tried going to the gym and dieting, but my weight did not reduce. The moment I realised that I am not able to play with my son and that is not a great situation is when I decided to take up running.
Incidentally, at that point of time I was doing a leadership training program and many classmates were talking about running and fitness; I realised maybe I should give it a chance and try running. I discussed this with my friends who are my classmates and they said in order to start running the first step is to just run, so that’s how it started.
Initially, I couldn’t run even ten seconds, but the good thing about running every day is that you can see progress. You run ten seconds the first day, then 11 seconds the next day, 50 meters then 60 meters the next day and you can see the results immediately, and that kept me motivated. I did not realise I started running 5k. I would initially run, walk, run walk. I realised this is one hobby that did not require an external motivation – when working out in a gym or dieting, I had to push myself, but this did not require any pushing. I had more and more interest in running. I saw there was improvement every day and that gave me a kick, and that was positive – many good feelings and thoughts started coming in.
I have done about six half marathons in the last 1.5 years, and I’ll be doing my first full marathon in Mumbai in January 2017, which I am training for now.
Livingit: From what you’re saying it seems there was a slight struggle initially when you took up running…
Lakshmi Moorthy: That’s right. Initially I had a struggle period, and I found the strength to do it. I believe anyone who wants to run needs a peer group as they are the biggest motivation. I would like to attribute this success to my group of runners called Hyderabad Runners – they motivated me and taught me tips and tricks; they encourage you to run no matter whether you are slow or a pro. Peer encouragement is very contagious, and it helped me come out the struggle phase. For anyone who wants to run, you might be able to alone till a point of time, but if you want to run regularly and faster, a peer group is very important. Running is not an individual sport or hobby, in my experience, i think it is a team play because when you are running, you’re not alone. Last week I was in Bangalore for a half marathon – there were about 15,000 people running together and smiling together; it gives you a blissful moment. It’s teamwork performed by an individual – that’s what I feel running is.
Livingit: Did you have any mentors, besides Hyderabad Runners?
Lakshmi Moorthy: Many mentors, actually. I have a coach I train under, arranged by Hyderabad Runners. I attribute my success to Hyderabad Runners as a group – they are helping me.
Livingit: How frequently are you running nowadays?
Lakshmi Moorthy: I run at least 4-5 days a week, on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. We have a structured training program. I run with a group of runners and a coach who suggests how I train if I have to run a full marathon. I have only been running in half marathons, and the first full marathon is in January, so I have to follow rigorous training. Running was a hobby initially, and the main objective was driven by my son and losing weight happened through running, but now weight reduction is a secondary goal as I enjoy running and weight reduction is a byproduct. I was 100 kilos now I am 89 kilos. I’m able to reduce weight, but the focus is not that. My main goal is not the main goal anymore.
Livingit: You have an IT services company you are the CEO of – has your passion as a runner ever conflicted with it?
Lakshmi Moorthy: In IT services you have a lot of challenges. Running helps me clear my mind – I’m with my own self when running alone early morning and can think through problems. I feel positive and happy. You can handle stress and challenges – running helps me indirectly. It doesn’t clash with my schedule since I run early morning, so there is no conflict. On the contrary, my team and some employees have also taken up running, and we have also run together in some events. This has been big plus as it has helped us bond better as a team.
Livingit: Does your work take you places and what happens to your running schedules during travel?
Lakshmi Moorthy: I travel to Europe quite frequently to meet clients and for business development. Since these are ten to fifteen day trips, I try to ensure that I am running as much as possible. Definitely on the weekends and even in weekdays in the morning or evening depending on meetings and weather. I used to pack a lot of formals, which I have reduced now and make place for my running gear. I enjoy running outside the country as I find it best to discover the city in a non-touristy way. Some of the cities where I have run are Paris, Milan, Copenhagen, Venice, Amsterdam and Stavanger. I plan a route which covers the highlights of the city and even natural sights of the greens and water bodies. One such example was a run in Paris earlier this summer, where I took a route all around the River Seine, which started from Notre dame cathedral to Louvre Museum, Napolean’s palace, Eiffel tower to Arc de triomphe. It was a great experience seeing these places without getting onto trams or busses with talkative guides.
Livingit: How did you set goals when you start out? And, now you are used to running, so how have the goals changed?
Lakshmi Moorthy: When you start out, the first goal is the ability to run better than you can – if you run ten seconds, then 15 seconds, 5 kms, then 10 kms, then half marathon/21 kms. The number of people who can do a half marathon is in the single percentage, so for me completing it without injury was a huge achievement and the main focus. I was able to do that, and it gave me confidence and I told my coach I want to increase time. I had reduced weight a little bit, so I could run a little faster, so he had given suggestions to increase my performance. Before I completed 21 kms in 3.5 hours. Last week, with training, I completed the same distance in 2 hours 51 minutes. The goal can be just completing it based on kilometres, or half marathon/full marathon, or just finish better than what you finished at the last time.
Livingit: Being able to run without any injury and reducing weight must have been memorable moments in pursuing your passion – what else?
Lakshmi Moorthy: Running is mainly the time when I can be with myself. I have seen places near my house I never noticed before. It is the small things that help me focus when running. Being able to run longer distances and duration excited me. Also, running helps me travel to different places. I was in Bangalore last week, next month Cochin, then Chennai exclusively to participate in Marathons. Running events lets me travel to different cities and meet friends to catch up with them.
Livingit: Where do you see yourself as marathon runner two years from now?
Lakshmi Moorthy: To be able to run a full marathon comfortably and injury-free in Mumbai for the first time – if I can do this after two years, injury free, that is a big achievement for me.
Livingit: Tell us about your gear and brands you use.
Lakshmi Moorthy: I’m not really brand conscious. I use specific shoes as I have very flat feet so I use Skora shoes and I also have been suggested Ultra running shoes, which i need to explore. Dry fit running clothes from Decathalon from Kalenjee. I also use a heart rate monitor Kochs and a Garmin fenix watch. I carry my phone, but don’t use it for tracking my run. I update the data from Garmin watch to the Strava app and share it using the social media features.
Livingit: Is there any other passion you want to start exploring, besides running?
Lakshmi Moorthy: Running is a passion which has motivated me to take up cycling because it serves multiple purposes – it doesn’t cause pressure to leg muscles and it helps in training you to run longer. I do not cycle as regularly – once a week, or 2-3 times in a month, currently. Maybe I’ll take it up more seriously moving forward.
Livingit: What are a few things on your bucket list related to running?
Lakshmi Moorthy: First thing is that I want to complete, injury-free and happily, the Mumbai marathon and Hyderabad Full Marathon, which is one of the toughest marathons in India due to the hilly terrain. Apart from that, I regularly travel to many places in India and outside the country, and I look forward for any running events or I run around the city if there are no events. I’d love to run in Cherrapunji because it is a place that has fascinated me since my childhood, so I am really looking forward to running there at some point; it has a high altitude and it rains crazily there! I’m not sure when I’ll be able to do it, but it is definitely on my bucket list.
Livingit: How are you preparing for the Mumbai Marathon 2017?
Lakshmi Moorthy: I am training under a coach who is part of Hyderabad Runners – there is high intensity training on Tuesdays, strength training on Wednesdays, on Thursdays there is a run, and on Sunday there is a long run for 30 km, 20 km. I cycle on Fridays or Saturdays as cross-training when time permits. We have a progressive weekly plan which culminates in the final week before the Mumbai Marathon.
A lot of training goes into successfully taking on a full Marathon, read more on: “ 5 Things To Keep In Mind Before Your First Run .”
Livingit: So, what comes to your mind when you hear the term #IAmLivingIt?
Lakshmi Moorthy: Well, Livingit reminds me of being in bliss and living now, in the moment, and running gives me that kind of moment every time I do it.
After interviewing Lakshmi Moorthy, we felt that the way he follows his passion for running at the age of 40, while also leading an IT company as its CEO, is hugely inspiring and shows us how it is never too late to start #Livingit! Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.
We are looking to feature people who are following their passions and can be a source of inspiration for others. So if you want to be featured or want to recommend someone – your boss, colleague, friend etc., please fill the details in the Get Featured form and we will get in touch with you or the person being recommended soon.