Runners are mysterious creatures. How else would you explain someone endure the all pain during the training, then travel long distance sometimes even to god forsaken places like Antarctica, and finally endure even more pain during the run? And the madness does not stop there. Even if they are injured, even if they feel they are under prepared, even if they do not meet their targets, time and again, they are back on the track, running the loops, chasing another imaginary goal, getting exhausted, getting exhilarated and getting excited about running!
With the above introduction about running madness, it is now not difficult for me to accept the fact that I also travelled out of Hyderabad, for the first time ever, just to run in an event. This was the Shriram Properties Bangalore Marathon, which was held on 16th Oct 2016.
It is true for all marathon runners that as soon as you finish one race, you start itching for the next one. On 28th August, I finished the Airtel Hyderabad half marathon and I started thinking of my next race. On 1st Sep, I registered for the Bangalore Marathon. Friends told me that unlike the Hyderabad Marathon route which has lots of elevation, Bangalore Marathon route was quite flat. I hoped, I would be able to do my PB (personal best). So, that was one of the attraction of going to Bangalore.
My training had tapered a lot after the Hyderabad marathon. I had taken couple of weeks off running and when I started, it was just a maintenance run of 5 kilometers for 3-4 days a week and a longer Sunday run of 10-15 kms. I did not do any strength or cross training at all.
The travel to Bangalore was via train. I started on 14th Oct, Friday evening. My wife and daughter also joined me. During the journey, I was not able to sleep properly in the night. So, by the time I woke up in the morning, my body was quite sore. My cousin came to pick us up from the Bangalore Cantonment station. We went to his home. I took bath and gorged on a sumptuous breakfast. Then, I went to the kanteerava stadium to collect the bib and came back at lunch time. Post a heavy lunch of biriyani, chicken and seer fish fry, I had difficulty keeping my eyes open. So, I took rest for about an hour.
In the afternoon, we went to another cousin’s place at Whitefield. I wanted to take rest. But they insisted to go out somewhere. So, in the evening we went out on a ride. On the way we had street food - panipuri, momos etc. The dinner was again a gigantic affair at a restaurant – Ji Hujoor. It was a buffet dinner and again I could not resist gorging myself on the spread over there.
By the time we came back home, it was midnight. The plan was to wake up at 3:00am, go by a car pool with another runner, Vaibhav who stayed nearby with whom my cousin had connected me.
Started from Whitefield along with Vaibhav around 4:00am and reached the venue around 4:40am. We went to the baggage drop area and found few of the runners from our colony. There were Madhuri, Neeti, Himanshu and Abhishek. We did some warm up and then proceeded to enter the stadium. The crowd was huge!! I was told some 8000-9000 folks registered for the half! Since the run started from inside the stadium, and the entry being quite narrow, it took at least 10 minutes for me to get to the start point. By the time I reached the start point, we were all dispersed and I was alone.
The goal was to try to finish below 2:23. The only strategy was that I will not walk till the first 10 km. Later, if I felt like walking, I will do so only on uphill. The weather was cool and I started running slowly. I thought I will pick up pace after 5k or so. I finished 5k in about 33 minutes. My plan was to increase speed between 5 to 10 k so as to do 10k in 65 minutes. But somehow, I was not able to push myself fast. By around 8k, it was clear that I will not be able to do 10k in 65min. I did that in about 68 minutes. My goal of doing PB of 2:22 seemed difficult.
I pushed along. Somewhere around 12k, I saw a runner lying on the road surrounded by few support folks. Then I saw an ambulance blaring its horns coming along to pick that person up. A little shiver went up my spine. I thought that the sport that I am indulging in could also be fatal. I slowed down a bit.
After about 14k, I saw Venkatraman Pichumani of you too can run. I came up to him, wished good morning and started small talk with him. We ran almost 3-4km together. He is now almost 60 and had undergone a cardiac bypass surgery in 2003 (if I remember right). After that he has been running a marathon every year. He has been a successful entrepreneur and created and sold many BPO enterprises. Now, he focuses on running which is his passion. He has a company, you too can run which organizes running events, seminars and he also coaches other people on running. He has also written a book called “Sofa to 5k”. This is available on his website at a nominal cost of Rs 100. He told me that I should start strength training if I want to increase my speed. My sagging spirit was uplifted with this conversation. But by that time I realized that I was slowing down. I had lost almost 3 minutes in those 4 km. So, I told good bye to him and picked up my pace to see if I could at least beat my Airtel Hyderabad timing.
I could finish the 18th kilometer faster. But again on the 19th kilometer, I could feel the cramp coming in my left leg. Remembering what happened to my legs in Hyderabad marathon, I slowed down. I did not push myself. I finished the run in 2:27:45 seconds. Post run breakfast was very good. I returned back happy and exhilarated.
I could not push myself fast in this run. I think it is because of inadequate rest. The lesson learnt is that it is advisable to take more rest before the run. I would have slept 9 hours in all in the 48 hours prior to the run. I should go to bed by 9:00PM and try to get at least 6 hours of sleep on the night before the run. Also I should limit the errands on the day prior to the run.
This run was my first run outside of Hyderabad. I have a dream now which is to run in a marathon/half marathon event in as many states of India as possible. I do not have a time limit for that. Will take it as it comes. And I will blog about it.
Happy running, happy blogging and happy reading!