Posts Tagged ‘marathon’

26.2 (II)

February 2, 2015

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.





Crash Boom Bang

April 11, 2013

After finishing Mawana half marathon in less than 100 minutes, I had a discussion with my running buddy- Sandeep Srivastava and he suggested me to focus on training and later go for a under 90 minutes half or for a 3:45 full marathon. So I decided to concentrate on training without paying much attention to the events being organized all around.

March had a perfect weather for running – neither too hot nor too cold and I logged more than 90 miles with an average pace of less than 9 miles per hour and a climb of more than 4000 ft. It was also a month when I could hear news about running events being organized all around. To resist participating in running events and concentrating on training is like saying no to your favorite food when hunger pangs are troubling you the most. Few of my other running buddies participated in a HM which I shunned with a heavy heart in order to concentrate on training. And then another event popped up – a night marathon to be organized in Gurgaon. I knew that I was not prepared enough to achieve my HM/FM targets. I saw that there was a 10k run in that event. I decided to take a break from long runs and go for a shorter faster midnight run. I took it as a training run and testing my body for faster runs in major events.

A week before the run I started concentrating more on stretching and went for short runs of 3-5 km. On 6th April which was the race day- I did 3 km in the morning along with good stretching. I finished my office came back home a bit early, had a short power nap of around 30 minutes and got ready for my first timed 10k. I made sure that I keep myself hydrated throughout the day and kept on having water at regular intervals.

When I reached near holding area, there were very few persons. I collected my bib and started observing fellow runners. Some were stretching while some were busy sipping energy gels or getting themselves clicked. Some of them were pestered by their children with all sort of demands. There was some delay in the start and the race started at 10:00pm instead of 9:30pm which was the scheduled time for start.

With all the training that I had done and through my previous running experience I was confident that I can run 10K with a decent speed so I decided to shun the timing device and follow my instincts by trying to run as fast as possible. I got a lead right in the beginning under the street light and then I entered a darker patch where nothing was visible which slowed me a bit. Certain things that were mentioned on the event website were present while others were missing. The race supposed to be on a moon lit night on traffic free gurgaon roads but moon was conspicuous by its absence and thank god there was traffic. Head-light of moving vehicles showed the way to runners on the otherwise darker roads. At around 2 km mark I met Rahul Verghese: Man who has played a catalytic role in popularizing long distance running in India especially NCR region. Never though that I’ll meet him first time on a run in this manner. I slowed down a bit, greeted him and had some chat with him. There were some runners who overtook me during this time. I bade good bye to Rahul and picked up the pace again. I overtook the runners shortly except for one white fellow who if I am not wrong was Shaun Mills. Running in evening was difficult in comparison to running in morning. I could feel some pain in my stomach but that eased out as the race progressed. There were water stations at regular intervals but I generally do not hydrate while running and thus did not took advantage of any of them. At around 5 km mark Arun Kumar (he was winner of 10K run) overtook me asking if there is anyone else ahead of me. At around 6 km there was a u-turn. At the u-turn I looked back and was not able to see anyone which meant that I was much ahead of other fellows. Neither I was able to see Arun. That is one disadvantage of night running- you are not able to see runner moving ahead of you, hook on to them to pick up your pace. So I kept running without trying to change my pace. Time passed by and I reached finish line where my wife hugged me and told me that I was second. I congratulated Arun who took just 37 minutes to finish 10k. I sat down and did a bit of stretching- gulped two three bottles of water, had some bananas. The organizers calculated my time and my wife told me that its 42 minutes.

Just like my first half and full marathon – a 10k become a memorable, unlogged run where I kept guessing my finish time at the finish line. I am still waiting for the timing certificate to make me believe – ‘Yesssss! I did it’.

Pan-demonic Mawana

March 7, 2013

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.