Posts Tagged ‘#airtel Delhi Half Marathon’

My first run as pacer for 2:45 finish

December 16, 2013

Pacers for 2:45 Bus: Sanjeev and Vikram

ADHM-2012 was my first half marathon during which I came to know about concept of bus as well as pacing. For those who are still not aware about these let me give you a brief introduction:

A pacer is normally an experienced runner who commits to finish a particular race within a stipulated time while motivating other runners to do the same. So runners who are aiming to finish within that time can join the pacer and this pack of runners running together is known as bus. Just like a normal bus- runners join and leave the bus at different intervals during a race. The driver of the bus (pacer) is given some identification so that runners can spot him/her easily. In my case, it was a flag mentioning ‘2:45’ bus.

Now the next question is

Why did I choose to pace when I could have bettered my own record? 

I was struggling since July from achilles tendon injury and thus was not sure if I should go for ADHM with full throttle. I got an offer to pace the 2:15 bus but I rejected that as I was thinking of improving my own timing in this superb cold weather. On 1 Dec I did an easy long 2 hr+ run in which I completed 22.5 km in 125 minutes. It was my longest run after the injury and i started having pain near ankle. I got the signal that I should avoid stretching my body at this point of time and thus opted for pacing. By that time 2:15 pacing slot was filled and the only option before me was to pace for 2:45 finish time. So I opted for becoming a 2:45 pace.

Deciding the pacing strategy

I had never tried running at this speed before so I was unsure if it is going to be a run-walk or will I be able to run continuously to achieve this finish time. Continuous travelling and busy schedule due to my job related assignments after 3rd Dec left me clueless regarding my pacing strategy. On 9th Dec, I tried running at an average speed of 7:40 minutes /sec and discovered that it is a pretty decent speed at which I can run continuously. So I decided to run continuously at this pace and adjust the spare 3 minutes for breaks. I did 2 more runs to get a feel of this pace and gained confidence.

Race Day and the execution of plans

With a huge crowd in the holding area, it is always difficult to catch hold of appropriate  pacers. Most of the runners who approached me in the holding area were first time runners. Majority of them entered the race even without preparation. There were some experienced runners also who were out of practice for some time. Gun time for the race was 7:40 am and I left the start line at around 8:00 am so that runners from behind can join me. With ‘bhag milkha’ song being played in the stadium and great athlete Milkha Singh ji flagging off the race, there was phenomenal energy in the atmosphere. I felt like I should run like a lion chasing a gazelle but somehow restrained myself. After some time I realized that i am running at a faster pace so slowed down a bit. Since it was beginning of the race and other runners were very fresh so they were able to run with me without any issue. When I slowed down a bit, there were few who overtook the bus to join it at a later stage while there were few who kept on running with me. There were many who asked me about the flag and pacing. There were many who were using me as a reference. There were some funny comments also depicting this. One of the runners said- “I am trying so hard to keep myself ahead of you- why do you keep coming again and again?” There were fewer persons who were running with me while there were many using me as a reference for 2:45 finish. There was a first time runner running with me right from the beginning whose maximum distance before this race was 11 km, I was happy to congratulate him after he passed 11k mark. Near 15k some of them were feeling that their legs were getting heavier so I took a short break and guided them for doing a couple of stretches. Few of them were not able to keep themselves with the bus while others joined in. After 17k I started shouting and encouraged runners to pick up speed. At around 19k mark I asked runners in my bus to speed up as I decided to slow down and encourage others to stop walking and start running and finish the line as quickly as possible. I kept on shouting and encouraging runner till 21 km point.

There was a huge jam near finish line. Although there were separate lanes for great Delhi run participants and half marathon finishers but many of the great Delhi run participants crashed their lanes and entered the other side choking way for half marathon finishers. Even at the finish line runners had stopped to get themselves clicked rather than making efforts for minimizing their timings. My sincere request to such runners is to avoid doing this in future so that people who are serious about their finish timing do not suffer.

I finished with a timing of 2:45:33 (33 more than expected). Splits for the race are depicted in the picture.

Split timings for run

For a person who had started running just one year ago in the same event, pacing was something that was unimaginable a few days ago.  It was an amazing experience undoubtedly to help other runners to better their timing/serve as a reference for finishing faster.

God, I pray to thee to make us all – ‘Citius Altius Fortius‘.



June 13, 2013

Friday, September 28, 2012

Long back when I was merely 10 yr old, it all started with a kick. I was the goalkeeper and stopped the penalty shoot in a football match during our games period. My fellow team-mates lifted me up. The feeling of exuberance are till fresh in my mind- strong enough to give me goose bumps. And this was the splinter that ignited the passion for soccer in my mind.

I searched for a place where I could get a chance to play this heavenly game in my home town- Hisar. My search ended in Jat College football grounds where I got a chance to get training under a team of Coaches: Sh. Madan Singh Rathore, Sh. Ashwini Kumar, Sh. Jagdeep Sheoran, Sh. Shushil Lega, Sh. Vinay Kumar. I love this sport. To increase my stamina I started going for long runs during morning. In winters, when it was cold and foggy outside, running caused sweating and sweat use to evaporate. I felt excited to see vapours fuming out my body and that encouraged me to run even faster. I use to run hard to experience that phenomenon. I played football making sure that it never interfered with my studies. So whenever there were examinations, I skipped going to grounds and thus missed a couple of opportunities to play certain official sub junior championships. It was in yr 1995 that I played first state level tournament. In yr. 1996 when my classmates were enjoying preparatory leaves for class 10th board exams, I was playing state level tournament in Kurukshetra. My team secured first position in that tournament.Then in August 1996, our team repeated the feat in Pre-subroto cup. In September 1996, I represented Haryana in Subroto cup. Playing in Delhi’s Ambedkar Stadium against teams like Bengal and Nagaland was experience of lifetime. Somehow, due to excessive pressure of studies during my senior secondary days and certain other domestic engagements, I stopped going to ground regularly. But whenever I use to get chance, I made sure that I visit grounds. My craving for workout shifted from sweating in grounds to burning calories in morning jogs. I love the smell of green grass and watching the vast blue skies after getting totally enervated after a good morning work out and that still keeps me ticking.

I got admission into an engineering college, shifted to a new city and football again entered my life but the level of game was much lower than what was there at my home grounds. Besides that soccer games were not regular phenomenon in engineering college. So my focus shifted more to morning work-out. Chandigarh offers a lot of places where you can do that. But nothing beat the experience of watching sunrise on banks of Lake Sukhna while listening to Sitaar. Leisure valley was another very good location for work outs. In second year I met with a road accident and suffered medial meniscus tear in my left leg. Doctor advised me to take rest for sometime and avoid strenuous activities. Jogging was out of question for 3 months till I recovered. After 3 months first run that I did was a 10k run. I was last among 6 people who finished it but I was happy that I can at least run without any problem. Playing soccer was difficult with knee injury but still I managed to play for my college consecutively for 4 yr. I love soccer so much that on every valentine’s day -I use to make sure that I play football.

College got over. I joined job and was lucky enough to get a 5 month paid holiday whom my employers referred as training. It offered a chance to play different sports at a splendid location on the banks of lake Khadagwasla in Pune. My soul still clanged to soccer till the time my knee got injured again and left me limping. I took up squash-another sport that took my breath away. I use to play it all alone in the courts for hours. In few days, I became quite good at it. But the honeymoon period of training ended and I was placed in Pune city where there were no grounds or squash courts. Only badminton courts were available but it never appealed me that much. Thanks to hills of Pashan region- I ended up jogging in evening as well as in morning at that splendid beautiful location listening to the chirping of birds. There were occasional tryst with my first love (Soccer) when I played for my office and then again for west Zone of my department.

Times changed and I again decided to go back to college for post graduation. Got a chance to play soccer. For nearly one year I played without any complication till one day my knee started giving me trouble once again. I tried to play soccer after recovery but discovered that my body is not able to take it any more. Sadly I had to say good bye to my favourite sport.

The passion for soccer got metamorphized into passion for running under the pressure of knee injury. I shifted to a number of locations where I searched for locations for jogging. KBR Garden in Hyderabad, Shanti Stupa in Wardha, Mayawati ashram in Champawat and Lodi garden in New Delhi are few of beautiful discoveries I made in the pursuit of running.

My madness is shaping up in desire for running half marathon these days. Lets see what the future holds?