It was around July when registrations for SCMM started. Though I had no run days (because of injury) in June but at the same time I had done a 28k run on trails sometime back. So whether to register for a full in Jan or not was a decision taken in a dilemma. Mercury dropped with change in season, but I was still conservative about my pace because of fear of intensifying of pain around my heel. I always use to feel that race day has some magic that helps me (and many others) to bring out the best in me. I had a belief that I need not worry about picking up pace as ‘race day magic’ will be able to manage it.
With this faith I ran CRPF half marathon in October 2014 and managed to finish it in less than 1:45 but I never looked stronger during that run. I realized that ‘race magic’ works only if you have slogged and put in efforts. So I decided to push myself and prepare hard for forthcoming runs. That might have resulted in accentuation of my injury but I was fortunate that did not happen. Sound guidance of my coach Gagan also helped a lot. The gamble paid off in the end. I started pushing my limits during practice runs. I also discovered amazing training partner in Naveen. Both of us travailed in training and in the process both improved. Just a week before ADHM life took another U-turn as it become a bit too busy with a little time for running (training became out question). I had a nice run in ADHM and now the next big run was SCMM.
From a regular runner, I became a ‘Sunday only runner’. Almost on all sundays after ADHM, I did more than 25k except on two occasions (when I did 21k and a week before D-day did a 15k). But almost all my runs were at an easy pace. I referred my blog that I wrote after finishing my first marathon and realized that I should have done a longer run at race pace. So I did that two week before SCMM- a 20 miler in less than 2:45 on Gurgaon Faridabad Road that has some good elevations. Experts might say that it was not a wise decision to run so hard (and long) just a fortnight before race but that run helped me in developing the faith that 3:30 is not impossible and may be targeted. Even I miss it, I will still better my marathon timings.
On race day, there were no butterfly in the stomach and no pre-race anxiety. I reached a bit late and when I entered the holding area, entire lot of runners had gone. The CST building was illuminated with multi-colored lights and it was looking beautiful. I arrived at the start line and the r(f)un started. I was bit faster right from the beginning and the only technique that I used for pacing myself was nasal breathing and thus I used signals when I met fellow runner and did not talk. I achieved my PB for 30K (less than 2:30). It was then the actual marathon started. My left calf and right hamstring started cramping. I tried to stretch a bit on the road but that did not improve the situation much. I even lay down on the road divider and did ‘vrajrasana’ and quad stretch. I was worried but determined. Situation improved after 2-3 km and I again picked up. I am happy that I crossed the dreaded Pedar road stretch without walking. Kilometer marker changed to countdown banners and I finished stronger overtaking many half marathoners who were yet to finish. Just after crossing the finish line met fellow runners and became part of runner’s carnival. I got a message from fellow runners that I finished in 3:46 which was satisfactory timing considering all that yoga that I did en route.
Now the future runs will be to chase the wishlist- a 3:30 finish.