Monday, September 3, 2012

Sponsor Team Asha's Jersey

At Team Asha Cleveland
We are getting our jerseys made for 
The Akron Marathon, Sep 29th

We will have your name/logo on the jersey!
Mention ‘sponsoring Team jersey’ in comments
(conditions apply)

Every small contribution adds up.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Are you out of your head?

As my post title reads .This was my first reaction after few minutes after me signing up for the info session for  the Marathon.I thought to myself Sridu  are you ok? Do you realize what you just did.
When  I told my family and very close friends around me that I had just been to an information session of a marathon and that I have committed myself for a marathon.They also had sort of showed the same mixed  reactions. They did not  understand my behavior they were not discouraging me but were worried and concerned about me.Out of all the reactions the 3 best were one  of my close friend. She was like are you sure sridu? Be careful dear and had this mixed feeling  in her tone.My mom over the phone literally screamed out loud What!!!! chanting to God saying what is wrong with her.Why did she get this crazy idea. My dad was like is everything ok dear? Do you think you can do it are you allowed to do it.

Anyways these were the obvious reactions. Because they were worried about me.After undergoing a surgery and getting treatment for gastric and peptic ulcers why would some one like me sign up for a marathon.who was in such a bad physical shape .But apart from those physical challenges I was  going through a lot of trauma mentally in the form of a divorce. Getting over a divorce was not easy for me.With parents being away and me living by myself in cleveland  every day was becoming a challenge for me.It was this constant gush of emotions inside me I had to overcome.I had all these bottled up emotions in me which I did not know what to do. I had to do something with all my emotions and channelize them the right way to grow up as an individual so while i was trying to do this I  read the email about the marathon and decided to sign up.

I did not even think for a split second about it. I just signed up with a sense that YES this is something  I should be doing.Because the stress of the divorce had taken its toll on  me  both physically and mentally and  I was like yes this is the best thing I can be doing running for a good cause.

And what else do I need its for such a good cause its for education for children back home in India.
The place I belong to. Where I have seen several children around me struggle for getting basic education.Yes it was a struggle a fight with the society for them to get to school .Everyone was not lucky enough to go to school.
My mother retired as a teacher in 2011 from a Zilla parishad school( these school's are run by the state government in every Zilla ( district) and are run free of cost and  the under priveliged children go there to study. My mom would travel every day 70 kms by bus to a district  to teach these kids whose main motto in life was to get basic education all they aimed was at passing 10th grade inorder to work .Some of them had dreams to go to college  but since it was expensive they would hardly voice out their dreams .Some of them would be forced to drop out just because their parents thought that the time spent in school could be better spent in earning money so that the family could eat a meal from the money.My mom did this for 32 yrs overcoming very many hurdles and trying to convince the parents many a times that children needed to study and not work at that stage in life.Growing up  hearing her everyday experiences I know how several children even now in this technology and modern world suffer to get a simple education.

When I  explained both my parents that I am running for getting donations for educating underprivileged  children back home in India .They both said they were extremely happy to hear it and were like OK!! we will try to  travel to USA to come see you run and encourage you on the day of the Marathon and my  dad was like  eat well dear and hung up the phone.

So I guess running and challenging my self both phsycially and mentally for such a good cause will make me feel .Ok Sridevi this is the best I can contribute as of now.
I look forward to the very long journey ahead of me.
Sreedevi Goparaju

Monday, May 14, 2012

Letter from the Doctor, soon-to-be Ultra Marathoner

Hello again friends,
Hope you all had a great weekend, and happy mother's day to all you moms out there! Now that's a whole lot harder of a task, and on a daily basis, than just hitting the trails and belting out a few dozen miles, and no medal either, so this one day of acknowledging all that it takes to carry off this amazing responsibility is so richly deserved!

We have been blessed with a beautiful spring here in Northeast Ohio after a strangely mild and muddy trails winter, and the trails are in excellent shape, beautiful as ever. In spite of now having run a few marathons, it is still always a daunting prospect to undertake another one, I have a healthy respect for that distance, there are so many variables on any given day despite long weeks and months of training, a fact that was brought painfully home to me during my first one, when I was crippled by muscle cramps from mile 18 to 23. And everyone who has ever run one knows that it's almost two different races, the first 20 miles are the relatively easier part, but it's a whole different ball game for the last 6.2, most of which is mental. So to tack on another 5 miles to that is an intimidating thought, and there seems to be no rational way to train for a 50K either, other than just putting in long hours out there on the trails. So after another high mileage week culminating with an insanely long run yesterday, and a shorter one today, I feel slightly relieved at having survived these past few weeks without any serious aches or pains, and a bit more confident.

Thank you so much to those of you who have already stepped up so promptly, your generosity is sincerely appreciated, and here's the best part, my dear friends Ranjit and IlaTamaskar have once again challenged me to come up with $2000 in donations, which they will then match, dollar for dollar! (link to donations page) And I am a quarter of the way there already, so let's rally around again friends, as you all have so kindly in the past, the race is now less than 3 weeks away. As I get ready to begin an eagerly awaited 'taper', which is in some ways an agonizing period, I need not remind you that your donations shall, as in the past, be meaningfully used, the different projects supported by Asha Cleveland are all on their website, and can be visited by those of you who have any interest in doing so on future visits to India.

Thank you again for your support and wishes!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Making the Commitment

Running a marathon started off as something on my bucket list, something I would eventually like to get in the next few years. I think it starts off this way for most people, and I wasn't any different. It was on one of those cold, dreary March days when I was spending (wasting) endless hours on Facebook, that I came across a post announcing Team Asha's information meeting about running the Akron Marathon. It seemed to strike an instant chord with me because I had heard so many things about the marathon runners of last year. Furthermore, the cause of aiding in Indian children's education is a noble one. I attended the first information at Case with the intent of just trying to complete a half marathon; I was extremely leery of even attempting the full because I would consider myself one of those beginner runners. I have always worked out and run on a treadmill, sometimes hitting 3 or 4 miles on an odd day; running a distance wasn't something I did consistently.
A Saturday morning run through the Towpath 

It's been a month into training now, and I have committed myself to running the full marathon. From the coaches who provide invaluable tips and advise, to team Asha members who keep me going during our early morning runs, everybody has been a big help. I do have to give credit to my incredible friends and family who constantly ask about my progress and actually let me sleep on a decent hour on Friday nights:)

In just a month I find myself more disciplined to practice, and looking forward to my weekly runs to see how far I can push myself. I am actually excited to start hill training, see if the steep hill on Little Italy is conquerable.

I ran my first 5 miles yesterday, something that till a month ago was only a hope.

- Swara Vyas

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Your efforts today can shape the future of some children of tomorrow.
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