Wellness & Fitness

I’ve Run 500km Since Covid Lockdown


Dr Jyotee Trivedy, 50, has never believed in paying to lose weight or keep fit. PHOTO | COURTESY

Dr Jyotee Trivedy, 50, has never believed in paying to lose weight or keep fit. For years, her daily routine involved walking in the evenings before a friend suggested running.

“I wondered whether I could do it,” she says.

On June 7, 2011, she laced up her first running shoes and to her surprise, she only covered a distance of 400 metres.

“That’s when I realised that I wasn’t fit,” says the ophthalmologist.

Nine years down the trail, 17 marathons later, her quickened steps on muddy terrains, forests, tarmacked roads to pavements in Nairobi, have transformed her body and mind.

When the government rolled out restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19, she kept running, safely within the new constraints, even after her track closed down.

“I was disappointed that my running ground closed. But I am used to running outside, hence it did not take me a day to decide to run on the road which was my only option,” she says.

Before Covid-19, she sought out new routes in parks and serene beautiful green spaces.

“I used to change my venue of running often which includes Jaffrey’s Club, Nairobi Gymkhana, SSD Temple, Oshwal ground, Rhapta Road, and Karura forest,” she says.

Jyotee runs every day.

“I used to take Sunday off but since the Covid-19 restrictions, I run every day. I complete approximately 2.5 km to 4kms a day, depending on how tired I am after work,” she says. About 100 days after the stay-at-home and cessation of movement orders, the ophthalmologist has run over 500kms.

Would she have achieved this in a normal routine?

“Hitting over 500kms feels like I have set my mind free. We women have more endurance, we are strong and resilient but we just don’t realise our potential. It’s all about pushing boundaries, we are limitless, the boundaries are in the mind,” she says, adding the Covid-19 measures afforded her more time to enjoy the thrill of running on the roads.

Over the years, she counts the gains of her running. Small, daily changes have emerged. She has maintained a lean body, strengthened her bones and immune system, slowed the aging process, enjoyed nature, lowered her stress and anxiety levels, she sleeps better sleep, she is more mentally alert and energetic.

Her running ritual?

“Running on the last day of the year and the first day of the new year. On January 1, 2020, I ran 50 km in six hours 19 minutes at my favourite Saint Mary’s school ground,” she says.

Her longest run was when she reached 50 years last December.

A decade into running, Jyotee has added other exercises to her fitness regime.

“I also continue doing other exercises like skipping a rope, doing stretches, crunches, squats, surya namaskar [which is a yoga exercise incorporating 12 poses [but running is my passion,” she says.

Her indulgence is shoes and fitness watches.

“I have had 13 pairs of shoes. I have used many brands but Skechers gave me the best experience. They last longer and they are light. But at the moment, I am using Nike which is lighter and comfortable. But preferences are always different, depending on the foot type,” she says.

Running mask

For fitness gadgets, she started by buying a step counter, then moved to a Garmin watch, smartwatch, smartphone, sweatshirts, running tights, knee caps, sweat belt, then one-kilogramme weights.

“I gathered all these as I got experience in running...tracksuit and step counter can suffice for starters and no need to invest more,” she adds.

For inspiration, she advises career women on how to make running a way of life and a gateway of happiness,instead of viewing it as a one-off exercise.

“Get started and establish a habit, go for distance rather than time, run with someone who can encourage you. Once it becomes a habit, you start enjoying your run,” she says.

Juggling work, family, and exercises is not easy, but Jyotee has figured it out.

“You need to do something for yourself each day, hence as soon as I reach home I change into my attire and start running. The passion you bring from your runs will spill over into the rest of your life,” says the ophthalmologist.

Some people are still skeptical about running outdoors due to coronavirus fears, so how does she ensure she is safe?

“Outdoors may not be safe at all, someone can rob you or you may be hit by a vehicle. I was not at all worried about coronavirus because fresh air and wind allow the virus to move fast and I’m running alone and with a mask. I have tried all types of masks but N95 suits me the best as it has a respirator and it is comfortable,” says Jyotee.