This story starts on August 30th 2015. It was the last Sunday of August last year and it is the day of annual pilgrimage of runners at Hyderabad - the Airtel Hyderabad marathon. I had registered for the same enthusiastically, but my preparation was not good. However, having completed a half and a full marathon in 2012 and 2013 respectively, I was confident to complete this half. I did. But my time was dismal. It was dismal by my own standards - the standards of a slow runner. I had finished the half in 3 hours and 2 minutes.
While analyzing my run, I found that I was taking a lot of walk breaks in between. I was getting out of breath and was not able to sustain my runs for a longer period. Thinking more about it, it dawned on me that the reason could be my habit of smoking. Smoking impacts the lungs. It destroys the lungs and drastically reduces the capacity of lungs to hold and assimilate the oxygen from our breath to blood. And hence I was feeling breathless and had to walk every 500 meters or so. I still do not understand why I did not face this breathlessness in 2012 and 2013 when I ran the marathon.
As it happens after every run, I set up a few new goals for myself. One of them was to do a respectable time in the 2016 run. This meant that I had to practice regularly. I decided to do a 5k run almost everyday as a practice. Apart from that, I also decided one more big goal for myself which would help me in running well – that was to quit smoking.
On 30th November 2015, I had the last drag of a cigarette and quit after being a smoker for 16 years. My trials and tribulations in quitting will be a story for another day! I was amazed with the results of quitting. In just about 3 days, I could run a loop of 2.5 kilometers without stopping. In 7 days, I was elated when I did a 5k run without a break! In about 3 weeks time, I was running 10k continuously without walking at all!
I kept my running rhythm going. By January, I set some new goals. I told myself, I will run 35 km a week. It will be 5k every day and since I will be taking 1 or 2 days rest in a week, I will do a 10-15k long run on Sundays. It was just what I have done till now. I did not do any other strength training or hill running or tempo runs.
Here is my running chart from Dec 2015 till August 2016:
The year has been a good year of running for me. I have been running quite consistently and clocking 100+ km per month regularly. On August 26th, I completed 1000 km of running in this year and was looking forward to the half marathon on 28th. I had put in the effort, demonstrated progress and was confident on my ability to finish quite well.
In my training runs, I had done a half in 2 hour 30 minutes. So, I was confident that I will be able to better that. Secretly, I was hoping that I will get a PB by going below 2 hour 22 minutes that I achieved in 2012.