Meet one of the most inspiring mums who has managed to gain a title of being the first Indian woman to do so and the first mum to complete the Everest ultra-marathon of 60K ultra race beginning from May 29th from 6am to May 30th ending at 1am. She finished the entire circuit in 19 hours 15 minutes including two breaks of 2.5 hours. She finished this along with another achiever and we are here to share this story an incredible mum.
Mums and Stories caught up with this mum to know more on her achievements, her way of life and to understand what does it take for a mum who by her own admission was overweight, had PCOD issues and really didn’t think she could run for more than one kilometer in one go.
“Marathon running began accidentally rather than a planned move in life. A friend of mine signed up for himself and my name for a popular race in the city, six years ago. Incidentally he dropped out and I had two weeks in front of me to train, practice and participate. When I was practicing in my apartment complex for 600 meters and do four rounds of it, I would be exhausted. I was this regular woman who juggled work, home, kids and did mundane things in life. But just participating and completing the very first race gave me this adrenaline high which nothing else had offered.
(Deepa Bhat during her trek and run for Everest Ultra Marathon)
Today too I am the regular person, but running has given me stamina, resilience and made me understand about life in a positive way. In the last six years, I have done 50 races; however the Everest ultra-marathon has put me on a pedestal that I am surely happy about. The new attention due to this one single achievement which I agree is commendable is a bit overwhelming.
I did train of course well enough in advance. From three meals a day, I moved to five small meals that included millets, vegetables and lots of fruits. I enjoyed the home cooked seafood too. I would snack on almonds, raisins and walnuts. I managed to stay away from bakery products or fried foods. Eating clean and cooking from scratch was the mantra.
I do feel women don’t really have the time for reflection and they need to discover something which gives them the complete ‘me time’.
My mom has been a huge support system for me practically though I have to say my boys, my husband have encouraged me to do what I wanted, as long as I knew what I was getting into in life. ‘Amma’ has always pitched in and taken care of the boys in my absence.
(The circuit which Deepa Bhat completed in May 2018).
This trek was luxurious than other treks done earlier in my running tenure; yet it had its challenges. We were supposed to walk all the way for 11 days to reach the base camp. Obviously the mission was higher than just achieving this feat. Being surrounded by snowcapped peaks, with frequent rumbling of a small avalanche was almost an everyday affair.”
Talking about whether she thinks she will complete a race or not,
Deepa shares with Mums and Stories, “I never question myself if I will be able to complete it or not. Perhaps my initial running feats were of those kind but now I do believe I can. If I cannot, even that is acceptable to me.
(Video story when we met Deepa to know more on her journey, the title and what running and being a mom means to her).
Running has taught me to slow down when required like how it is required in life. One must have a strong sense of discipline to begin with, like you have to eat clean, eat healthy, do your work outs, train well, get your health check-ups done before a race and so on. But critically, I have also learnt to accept failures and enjoy the current moment. For the Everest ultra-marathon, I was sure I didn’t want to be on network. So I refrained from being accessible, posting any pictures or getting into things which were unimportant. The goal was to complete and I am glad I could manage do just that.”
Deepa shares “Running in the city is like a honeymoon phase though it is tough in its on ways but running in the mountains is way too different where you don’t even have the option to quit.”
This fitness enthusiast had even a scary phase during the race. She shares,“ I remember on 28th May 2018 morning I woke up early to feel the chill air, brushed my teeth with warm water, but suddenly started feeling super cold. I rushed into the tent to put into my gloves. However minutes later, outside my tent, I came out with intent to feel the warmth of the sun but all I could see was darkness.
(The proud moment when Deepa Bhat could hold up the Indian National flag high with pride).
Everything around me had turned black. Before I knew, I was unconscious. Although I could hear everyone around me, calling for help, talking to me, I was in not be able to respond. My oxygen had dropped to 37 and blood pressure was low as well. Will I be airlifted, does my marathon end here? These were the only thoughts. I had suffered from hypothermia.
Thanks to my team mates, emergency care doctors I was back on my feet and soon I was geared up for the mock race in a saree. There were participants from 30 countries and 150 runners, the atmosphere was surreal.
Back home, Amma, had tears of joy as she held me in her arms.”
(Photograph by Mums and Stories getting this incredible mum to talk in a more relaxed moment).
Deepa wraps us saying “You must go on adventures to know where you truly belong.”
Mums and Stories truly loved talking to this inspiring mother and we do hope she achieves many more accolades and continues to enjoy what she does doing best in juggling motherhood, her passion for running, cooking from scratch at home and working as a VP for a company.
(All photographs are by Deepa, unless otherwise mentioned. Pictures are subject to copyright).