Art Runner Spotlight: Sheela Pai

Photos by  Marques Jackson . 

Photos by Marques Jackson

Name: Sheela Pai

Hometown: New York City

Currently Living: New York City

Favorite Artist:  Keith Haring

What got you into running? 

Many of my friends who have been running since childhood kept insisting that I give it a try, claiming that it was good for the soul and the ultimate healthy high.  They were right.

How did you find Runstreet? 

I found the Runstreet Instagram account and was drawn in by how you use running to explore this colorful, creative artistic scene I didn’t even know existed.  

What do you enjoy about running? 

Along those lines, what I find the most appealing about running is the opportunity to create your own adventure and take in the best of what a place has to offer, whether it be centuries-old cobblestone streets, gorgeous mountain trail views, or breathtaking skyscrapers.

What keeps you motivated to run: 

I want to run a marathon, especially the New York City Marathon.  Every year, I stand on the sidelines of that race and cheer on runners of all different ages and abilities, and am moved by how they fight through mental and physical challenges to try to reach the finish line.  I want to be a part of that.  

What have been some of your biggest challenges? 

Overcoming my mindset that I’m not a runner.  Running has never come easy to me. I get out of breath easily, my legs feel like lead, and when I’m running I get hyperfocused on my stats (my pace, how much distance I have left) and have trouble just enjoying the experience.   

How do you get through these challenges?  

Running with people who help me find the fun in it.  The members of the Runstreet Wolf Pack and, more recently, my New York Road Runners training group, are so infectiously enthusiastic and welcoming and supportive of each other, it made me finally feel at home in the running world.

Favorite Race: The New York Road Runners Midnight Run on New Year’s Eve.  Between the fireworks, the runners celebrating in the corrals and along the course, and the thousands of New Yorkers who come out to root us on, it’s a magical experience.  

Favorites Place To Run: Over the Williamsburg Bridge from Manhattan into Brooklyn.  The views of NYC from both sides of the bridge and all the creative graffiti art and spray painted quotes on it make it a visual treat.

Favorite Quote: “True abundance isn’t based on our net worth, it’s based on our self worth.”  - Gabrielle Bernstein

Favorite distance to race: 5k, because it’s short and sweet.

My proudest running accomplishment: Running a 10k trail race a little over three months after I underwent a surgery that had completely put me out of commission physically for almost two months. Being able to charge up and down those hills and stride across the finish line after months of being frustrated with how weakened my body was felt so empowering.  

What is my next big running goal: Completing the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon

Where can people follow your progress?  On my Instagram account — @ahealthysliceofpai

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