Pan-demonic Mawana

I was totally deluged in feel-good factor after finishing SCMM-13. Although my heart was jubilant but body was in a different state altogether. It seemed as if a demon has sucked all my energy. Some tough unavoidable long journeys immediately after the race made things even worse off.

After coming to my base location (Delhi) I tried to get ready for my next run which was Mawana Sugars Indian Open Marathon. I had registered for a full marathon. Preparation started with recovery walk adjactly after one week of SCMM. Next day I tried to go for a short run. I was able to do just over 2 miles in more than 22 minutes. I tried hard to regain my speed I lost at the 25km mark in SCMM but was never able to run below 9 minutes/mile till 9th Feb. One thing was pretty clear that I was not in a shape to run a full Marathon. So on advice of my ‘Gurudev’ Sandeep Srivastava I registered for a half. Although I was thinking about a sub 1:40 finish when I registered but later had no hopes and just aimed at finishing it without any expectations. I was not running much and running faster during those sporadic runs was out of question.

The D-day was approaching much faster almost inversely proportional to my running speed.  Even the valentine’s day passed without any run. In good old days, I was so much in love with soccer that I use to ensure playing soccer on that V-day. Rains in February even made the situation worse since I don’t run on treadmills.

Finally on 16th of Feb, day arrived for bib collection. With aim of collecting the bib early in the morning I reached Major DyanChand stadium at India Gate. There was a large space with number of stalls distributing bibs for different series. On a couple of them there were few big queues. I went to the stall where my chest number was supposedly available. I came to know that I have to initially deposit the fee and then only I can collect my bib. Those big queues were for depositing cash. With the kind of chaos in there, I was seeming almost impossible to deposit the money. Organizers were never expecting such a huge turnout because of their previous experiences. Somehow few new ad hoc money collection points were created but line crashers made the things even worse. Drizzling was icing on the cake in that open space. Collection of bib was another marathon in my half marathon. Somehow after a struggle of a little more than 2 hours I was able to get my Chest number- 3560.

The next morning I boarded a metro and reached catchment arena in time. There was a sea of people. All sort of people in all sort of attires. I even saw something I have never seen before- ‘a person in formals and aviators donning a bib number at the start line’. The moment arrived and the race started. The track was familiar but was full of people. Normally I am able to overtake crowd after 5kms of run but the case was different in this race. I was running a long distance almost after SCMM. During first 3 miles I was having all  sort of twisting and churning in my stomach but the situation ameliorated after 5 miles mark. I noticed that I was running at a decent pace- may be there was some diffusion of energy from those young tall boys on the track which I was able to capture. Somehow I was able to finish one loop comfortably and was going strong in the second loop. I thought about finishing the race in the time I target earlier- a sub 1:40 which seemed quite possible. This time I was running with GPS device so that I can take care about timings and distance. I arrived at Rajpath. I was able to see India gate which assured me that I will be able to do it. But later I realized that I am having a sort of mirage effect with India gate drifting farther and farther. Time was running short. I gathered all my energies and went for a sprint in the last 100 mtr (at least it seem so to me at that moment of time). I crossed the finish line and noticed my timing. My device was showing 1:39:53. So I was almost on the edge. It was a great feeling to achieve a target which I was not expecting. I later noticed from my running log that I was running at a pace of 5.38 minutes/mile near finish line.

Although I had good idea about my finish timing but still wanted to endorse it with official results. After a long gap of 15 days they were declared and I bettered my finish timings by 4 second.

Unlike SCMM or ADHM it was a different sort of run. I was dominated by youngsters and faster runners. People run this race for getting jobs also- so for some people it was a race for bread and butter. Considering the importance associated with the event the organizers should consider doing away with loop on loop track or else consider placing mats at all U-turns.

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