Yeah, I admit Bollywood movie “Bhaag milkha bhaag” was indeed inspiring, so I took some inspiration, atleast for the title
Coming to the point, as I did my first half marathon(13.1 mi /21.125 kms), I would love to share my experiences and learning. Of course I need to boast about it, I ran for my life today and might have screwed next few days/weeks for it.
Although I was into sports from my childhood I never could run more than 200 meters in a stretch, the area around my diaphragm used to hurt badly and total distance in a run never exceeded 1 kms. The 1 km ones were were irregular, one in two months or so, that too my 12th standard. Could never run during my B.tech., not even 100 mts race.
My first experience of long distance race was a 50 km walkathon organized by Hyderabad Runners in October’12. I don’t know why I suddenly had a rush to go do a 50 km morning walk without any reason. Or there might be a reason:
“I am a group leader with GHAC for one year and have recently trekked in Ladakh with altitudes ranging from 3500 mt to 6100 mt with freezing rivers, high passes, glaciers, snow, sand everything in the way. I need to prove to myself that I can do it, no matter I had a ligament tear in march”
The event was beautifully organized by Hyderabad runners and the turnover was quite amazing. I did the 50 km in 10 hours 30 mins, was the last guy to finish and some guys did the same 3 hours before me, without a meter of running. I realized my fitness level and my preference for fitness increased.As I had a knee ligament tear my running was always questionable and so I again moved into trekking, travelling and the regular GHAC stuff.
This year when Airtel Hyderabad Marathon was announced, I decided nobody is going to stop me from running in it, hell yeah and I will run the full marathon (#like-a-boss).Yes I would run a 42.25 km run without a single experience of a long distance race, not even 5 kilometers and that too in 3 months of practice, with all my MS work, GHAC treks and all other random things I do. If you think I am one crazy fellow you stand corrected, I am one tough crazy guy.
Okay so everything was decided and it was time to train hard. I went to the physio, got the check-ups done and prescriptions ready. All I need to do then was to run. But that first run I did in early July, no clue why. But these runs were very surprising to me as I used to do 5K runs without stopping or even walking in between. It was my determination and will power that made me those 5K rounds in half an hour easily, all I needed to do was run, no stopping or walking. As you all now that I am a very busy guy and getting time for these run was a big job for me. Although my speed was good, I didn’t gave much time for training. Also it were the golden months July and august for any trekker/traveler of monsoon, almost all of my weekends were spent in trekking, biking or travelling here or there, And I was left with 5 weekdays to train for marathon in which 1 was rest, 1 spent in the trek day, 1 day lost in randomness. adding them up I was left with 2-3 days per week to run and that too maximum of 10K which I did only twice. I was doing a little bit of strength exercises for lower body and core but I hardly did them for 5 days.
When everybody had almost completed there training program by 11th August. I was in one of my most craziest trek till date and I returned injured all over my legs and hands. At this point the marathon dream seemed a bit doubtful, but for me to quit on anything I need bigger reasons. Till 15th August I had no experience of running on a road and slopes as all my practice was on flat college grounds., that gave me a brilliant Idea, “lets run a half marathon 8 days prior to the final marathon and see how am i placed”. As I was my own trainer and even this was my first time for any run, I didn’t bothered a pinch to see the tips on the net ‘coz it seems I know everything :D.
The only homework I did was set the route on Google maps, the prior night. Morning instead of waking up at 7 in the morning I set myself on the run, no breakfast, no water, only me, phone and the earphones. “Hell yeah, here I go, 24 km is nothing at all“. The route was to start from my hostel, run on the ISB road till wipro circle, take a right, run till gopalanpally, take a left, run till outer ring road, run along outer ring road till financial district exit and then run back to IIIT on the same road. The first phase till wipro circle went fine as it was decline and then the whole route back to IIIT made me realize what is meant by 24 kilometers and what not to do on the marathon day, everything I did that day. Surprisingly I had the timing of 2 hours 32 minutes for the whole stretch.
This confirmed my participation in the half marathon and I registered for it. After some time I realized that the ligament tear I had last year has resurfaced in my valiant effort. ”Okay, so now I have one week’s time to recover my injury“, that took 2 months the last year.
And now it was all on my last week’s preparation, that will decide my marathon result. As this became very crucial for me now to prepare as per the experts and not follow my intuition, so I joined the various fb groups, searched for various tips for last weeks tapering for the race. The pre-race interaction over Facebook helped a lot and I realized what preparation means, I asked Ajendra Samal for his expert advice and told him my situation. First thing he told was I should have not run more than 15 km in the last two weeks before the marathon. The points of action were to take a lot of sleep, have a very good diet, and do not do more than 2 runs Tuesday (5 km) and Thursday (sprints 100 mt X 4) . I did the same, did proper stretching. Also doing my knee strengthening exercises side by side. Thursday evening was perfect, did 5 100 mt sprints along with stretches to loosen all the muscles.
The muscles got loose so well that next morning I woke up to find myself suffering from cold and weakness all over my body, a little fever also, I was not able to get up from my bed till 2 pm in the noon, that too I got up to take the medicines and food and then again on the bed till 7 pm. This was a big setback to me as the race was the day after and I cant even get up from the bed. Everything began to fade in front of me and I could not do anything. I took the medication and decided if by Saturday morning I am able to walk a bit i would surely be running for my life on the marathon day. And I thank Farzaan Merchant for his motivation to Faisal (he was also in my state) which motivated me also, and I quote :
“If u run then so will the fever run away too. Just go n run dont worry keep hydrating. I have given a 10 hour nonstop black belt exam once with a fever of 103 n full body aches. Strengthen your will n ur body will respond.”
Hopefully Saturday morning I felt a bit better, so I went for rappelling event of GHAC for having a good time in the rocks and some hill walking, followed by 4 hours at the ahm expo, all was well and I still had cold and cough and a lot of weakness throughout my body. As I said earlier these reasons were way too less for me to opt out of it. Determination levels were too high to do the 21.1 kms at any cost, only one thought running through my mind.
Will it be easy? Nope!
Will it be worth it? ABSOLUTELY!”
So the race day finally came, like said I woke up three hours before the race had my light breakfast – peanut butter, bread and a banana. Packed up everything and I was all set for the marathon. We reached the start point by 5.20 and it was like a huge festival at peoples plaza with runners all around warming up for the half marathon, the full marathon and relay marathon guys already started. I was so amazed to see this much turn up for the event and again I respect the people of Hyderabad for their fitness levels. So now was the race time, I had to stick to 2:15 pacer “shiv kosagi” in order to complete the race within 2 hours 15 minutes.
As the race was flagged off, it seemed like a heard of sheep is released and they all run in a single direction, My pacer was running in the starting, I caught up with him in first kilometer( the end of khairatabad flyover) and then ran with him till the end of panjagutta flyover, after which I realized “this shit is tough” and i started getting exhausted, people were overtaking me like anything and I felt really miserable at that moment. I looked ahead and there were infinite number of people running in front and maybe double of them behind. I then had a small walk break combined with runs, I had some electrolyte at every water point and kept on running and walking in between, no pacer, no strategy, only one motive run forward and drink Gatorade at every point available, I also took one bottle lying on he road left over by someone and that helped a lot seriously, I also could meet a IIIT aluminus (2008 passout) who approached me seeing IIIT T-shirt I was wearing, We had a nice chat along the run and then I again got tired and reduced my pace and he went ahead. I got to know why “hyderabad marathon” is the toughest city marathon, the whole route is up-down-up down-up-up-up. After reaching madhapur, things eased a bit and the finish was sure for me even if I walked the whole way. So another 40 minutes of running and i was there at the finishing line in gachibowli stadium, finishing it in 2 hours 18 minutes. And that feeling of completing a marathon cant be described by reading/writing this blog. “You got to run at least one marathon in your life”.
I am very grateful to the almighty that nothing serious happened during the run and I did it in decent time, The after effects of the marathon are the same cough, cold, weakness, body pains, leg muscles jammed up, not able to walk/move easily, Lets see what comes over next few days, whatever it may be, it can’t beat the experience I got. I am short of words for describing my feelings and do not know what to write more.
Anyways its about 24 straight hours without sleep for me now, on one side I am afraid of sleeping as the pain will increase tomorrow morning after I get up. But on the other side too tired now that I need some good sleep, hope that it comes and my health doesn’t deteriorate from here.
- Thanks a ton to Hyderabad Runners for organizing such a big event with so much perfection. They had already won my heart for their organizing skills last year and today they just increased my respect towards them. Thanks Prashant Sir, Anirudha, Sarita and all those unknown powerhouses for HR.
- To the IIIT alumni who met me in the race, if you read this someday: I am very sorry sir I didn’t asked your name and left you behind a kilometer or so before the finish, will surely meet sometime on a GHAC meetup.
- For all the marathon aspirants, please do prepare for a marathon under an expert guidance and do not do bullshit things like me, I am one crazy jerk. Proper training does helps and improves your race experience.
- 2:15 pacer “Shiv kosagi” : Sorry I couldn’t keep up the pace with you, next time I ll come with more preparation.
- Anybody please remind me tomorrow (26th august morning) that its my naani’s birthday and I need to wish her. She is the cutest lady on this planet and I love her a lot. Just remind me as its most probable I will forget it in my pains tomorrow