Thursday, May 19, 2005

My first half marathon

I wish I could run like no one's timing,
I wish I could let my soul lay bare,
I wish I could just go a prancing,
I wish music's in the air.

Ran my first half marathon on Sunday May 15th. Had started preparing about a month ago. Used to run a max of 2-3 kms before that on the gym's treadmill. Timing improves with practise where you start to understand your limitations and pace yourself properly. The max I had done in practise was abt 15kms in about 1hr 40+ mins. This was 2 weeks back. I remember then that I actually got bored running around in circles and stopped :-) Improved on my timing and could then do abt 10kms in 55mins. Did quite a bit of 5-10 kms runs with a gap of 1-3 days.

I spent the night at Manish's place in Shantinagar since it is about 5-10 mins walking distance from Kantheerva stadium where the marathon starts. On the day of the event I ate few bananas in the morning. Covered likely friction areas of my body with petroleum jelly (vaseline) and stuffed my pockets with some sweets. Decided to run with some wireless music to give me company along the way. Put an iPod (in button locked mode) attached to a bluetooth stereo adaptor in my back pocket. The adaptor is one of the two products I've been working on over the past 4-5 months.

5:53am: Finally armed and dangerous and err... umm... feeling a little bit sticky too, I set out to do something I've never done before. ('Chariots of fire' music in the background).... As I start walking towards the stadium I feel this sudden rush of adrenaline. I've trained hard for this day. I feel I can run at top speed to the stadium and still would have enough energy to run the marathon. Then I finally utter my first words of the day..... "Auto!".

The half marathon started about 30 mins after the full marathon. I started the run with some jazz.... We first went thru Cubbon park, then passed in front of VidhanSoudha. There was a lot of shade till the golf course... Then there were some downhill and uphill sections. I walked the uphill ones.... I was cruising along when the iPod went to some whacko state. I guess running with a 20GB hard disk device jingling in your back pocket could cause it to misbehave. After a little bit of wrestling with the iPod and multiple tries to reboot it did things start to work again... This happened about 2-3 times again along the way. The wireless headphone and wireless adaptor (built by us) worked fine all along and crossed the finish line with dignity :-). A lot of other runners had music to accompany them but none of them had wireless music. I guess I could consider myself as the first half marathon runner (in India atleast) to run with "music in the air" over stereo bluetooth :-) Got a lot of curious/envious looks from ppl along the way.... "GEEK!!" :-) Ok ... I'm sorry for getting into my PR role yet again.... back to the marathon...

There were water stations at a gap of every 2kms. Not too many ppl along the roads initially to cheer us... The view on the Hebbal flyover (halfway mark) was lovely... The lake beside it added to the scenery. A bit after this my weight and age caught up with me as I saw some elderly runners breeze past me.... C'mon I was just being polite and allowed them to pass by!!!! .... Then the front runner, a local bangalorean, of the full marathon passed us on his way back. He was followed by some international runners... They all had so much energy... they just ran and ran and ran and disappeared beyond the horizon....

Lost my energy during the end. Walked half of the last 6kms :-)..... By this time the ppl along the roads increased, cheering us to go on, lying that there was only 3 kms left when there were actually 4-5kms left.... May God bless their souls.... Towards the end the water stations seemed to be far far away.... At one point I was actually eyeing some of the half filled water bottles thrown along the road.... Luckily I had sweets in my pockets. Also felt minor cramps but managed to stretch and then continue. There was also 2 other runners who had my level of stamina..... From the start of the race we kept on overtaking each other, then we would slow down while the other would overtake.... so we kinda maintained the pace for the other person... towards the end we started running together.... started chatting and giving each other encouragement to go on.

As I entered the Kantheerva stadium there were thousands of ppl cheering us on... most of them were the the celebration run (7 kms run) participants which was yet to start. Finally when I entered the stadium and saw the finish line which was abt 20-30 meters away, I tried to run faster... However I got a cramp in my right leg cause of the increase in speed and stopped.... I tried to hop on the left leg but it couldn't support my body... Then the crowd shouted louder :-)... A volunteer even came up to help me but I refused and limped across the finish line while the crowd cheered me on.... I felt a bit guilty as it seemed like a scene out of a hindi movie.... So I kinda completed in style... make that hindi film estyle :-) assisted by some jazz composed by my cousin, some Dil Chahta Hai, Ray Charles and finally Norah Jones enabled by a product with moi inside.....

Plan to run more.... the incentives... tanned skin, blistered feet, aching legs, back and shoulder blades.... and finally the joy of completing... cheered along the way by unknown faces and smiling policemen who stop traffic for you.....

In terms of organising the event I feel that they should have noted the timing for all those who completed. There were about 5-10 officials sitting at the finishing line noting down something when ppl finished.... They gave us blank certificates at the end.... no name .. no timing... This calls for the acceptance speech. Ok here goes, "blah, blah, blah. And finally, Mom and Dad this ones for you!!! [sob, sob]. I mean the blank certificate. Either one of you can write your name out there and put whatever timing you want." Well I completed in about 2 hrs 17 mins types.. but don't know the official timing as I was busy attending to the cramp I got at the end... Luckily the guy who finished just before me checked his timing... I'm sure there are many others who don't know their timing... However I would like to thank them for the wonderful experience. It felt great to participate....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have started blogging, then poetry, and your PRgiri continues. Nice to see this poet-turning heavy-weight.

And nice background for the post. Looks like some very old pages of Vedas.