Ultra-Distance Trail Runners

Nickname: Ajit

Birthday: August 4

Current Location: Santa Clara, California

Her hair flew freely with the wind and there were infinite dreams in her eyes as she tore through the finish line to crowds cheering her. My journey perhaps started subconsciously while looking at my mom’s grainy pictures from her track running days for her school whilst competing in a salwaar kameez. Somehow I want to relive those stories through running; stories about training and winning races while being sick, and running bare feet. It was quite something. Moving to North Carolina I found myself in middle of verdant greens which meant my love for outdoors took a new flight and I began hiking frequently. Fast forward a few years I started running trails in Los Angeles which continued for a while without me knowing that there was something called trail-running, I just remember running down Mt Gorgonio while I raced against sunlight feeling extremely happy for some reason. Over time trail-running and exploring outdoors became a staple of my life, a habit that has brought enormous joy to me and given me the opportunity to spread this happiness in my own way. I hope I can continue running in pursuit of health and happiness over years to come.

Career Highlights

North Face Endurance Challenge 50k Marin -5:59 hrs
Way Too Cool 50k Auburn – 5:14 hrs
Rodeo Valley 50k Sausalito – 5:01 hrs
Berry Creek Falls 25k Big Basin Redwoods – 2:36 hrs

Unived Athlete Ajit Narwal Trail RunnerUp Close, and Personal

To me, sport is…

I’ve had the fortune experience of meeting some incredible people through sports, and I’m thankful that running made that possible for me. Apart from that it’s a microcosm of life itself, training, racing, winning, losing, the camaraderie of the community. Sports indeed don’t build character but they reveal it. They have opened doors to me like volunteering, being a sighted-guide to blind runners, coaching fellow runners, sharing knowledge, pushing own boundaries, spreading joy, passion, and seeking to be a better person by helping others. In time I’m looking at the future with some great opportunities through some work and all play.

On a typical training day, I do

I do: I train about 10-12 miles/day, 6 days a week. These could include tempo, hill repeats, climbing or going at a flower-sniffer pace.

I eat: Lots of ice-cream, hummus, edamame, dates, nuts and did I mention ice-cream?

I wear: SWAP gear is my favourite on training runs and races, followed by previous-race shirts, short shorts, sometimes only short-shorts, some of which are questionably too short. On a longer run, hydration vests and hand-held hydration systems from Salomon are pretty good.

I listen to: I like to enjoy nature and the wind, and my own heartbeat while on the run while alone. With company of my close running friends shutting me up gets tricky.

I recover by: Rrunn post-run recovery drink, coconut water, foam rolling, roll R8 recovery works great and a good night’s sleep is necessary for sufficient.

I cross-train by: Biking, hot-room yoga and hiking. With a full-time job and other projects close to my heart in works, each activity provides respite from the other.

My idea of an effective weight training session is

Staying disciplined, and believing in the process. One must learn to go slow to get faster. This isn’t just something that sounds like an ancient Chinese proverb (which it actually isn’t) but is a scientific fact in running. An effective training session for me encompasses sticking to the plan, being out there enjoying myself and being happy.

The moment when I discovered my athletic potential was

The truth is that there was never a Eureka moment in my life when it dawned to me that I had athletic potential. I’ve enjoyed being active for as long as I can remember; from running after my sisters while they rode a bike to playing with discarded cycle tires, to running around on a cricket field. My coach, David Roche, once said something really powerful that I can never forget… “Work so hard that people think you’re talented”. I think working consistently and staying focused has made me believe in myself and gradually I have felt that I can be a fast runner, get stronger and do awesome things in life.

The three biggest lessons I have learnt so far in my athletic career is

1. Running has taught me the valuable lesson of patience. Anything worth doing is never easy and takes time and patience, this is something close to my heart.

2. Secondly, and I’ve often repeated this to myself while in pain and in training, one must know the reason of one’s suffering.

3. And thirdly, don’t take life seriously; we live for fleeting moment on a flying rock hurtling in vast space, go out there, have fun, thank the volunteers, hug friends and eat everything in sight!! I think these are like 6 or 7 big-fat lessons.

Before a big race, I tell myself

Mostly, I’m trying to find parking at the race venue and telling myself that if I don’t find parking right now what revised pace should I run at. Okay, jk. Mostly, I have butterflies in my stomach like I’m 15 and going on my first date. In this excitement all I can think of is to be happy while running my heart out.

The toughest race of my life was

Way Too Cool, 50k in Auburn was a tough race for me. Goat Hill is a gentle climb of 40% grade which I thought I could take on and ran up instead of being smart about it. Earlier, I started out a bit too fast and bonked around mile 22. I had stomach issues and threw up while runners zoomed past me. Eventually I came out of it and finished the race in 5:15. This was a fantastic lesson in terms of pacing and nutrition and remains a fond memory now.

The most memorable moment of my sporting career so far

Racing with my family around has been the most beautiful memory of my running career. Passing them makes me happy like a puppy, takes my heart rate 10bpm higher accompanied by an ear-to-ear smile. Any race is made super special with them around, be it Punjabi Bagh or Pittsburgh.

My training sanctuary is

Mountains in California are gorgeous. I love the Bay area where I can run on countless trails within 15 min drive. Rancho San Antonio, and Mission Peak are personal favourites right now.

My dream starting line is

Western States 100 miler in Squaw Valley would be a fantastic race to be at.

I nourish my soul with

Being outdoors nourishes my soul.

Unived helps me by…

I use RRUNN Endurance Gels coupled with pre-, during-, and post-run energy mixes in my training runs and races. I’ve been trying these products out for a while now and they’ve been working really well for me, specially the salt and caramel gels taste fantastic! The gels and hydration mixes provide me vital carbs while training and post-run recovery drinks have the right ratio of carbs and proteins allowing my body a faster recovery.

I have chosen to associate with Unived because…

Unived and I have a shared philosophy that nature, through plant-based nutrition, lends amazing dietary options and contain all the vital nutrients for an endurance runner like me to reach their potential. I believe in Unived and their core idea which matters the most to me in this association.

My favorite Unived product is…

RRUNN Endurance Gels.

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