just before the finish line
Thanks to your support (over Rs.40000 pledged so far) and motivation, my long training finally paid off. I completed the half marathon [21.097 kms] in 1hr59m [update chip data reads 2hr00m36s]. The timings were well within target of 2 hours, though I could have still performed better.
I stopped my training 4-5 days before the event, shifted to carbo-loading strategy to increase the glycogen stored in the body muscles. Train travel to Mumbai was tiring but gave the necessary sleep. A day before the race, I stayed in hotel close to the race venue to avoid exertion and get necessary sleep.
Mumbai was very different on the race day. The race started from CST, whole roads were closed for traffic and heavily guarded. At 0545 in morning, Azad Maidan was filled with runners. Over 36000 people had registered for the race, 4000 for full marathon (42 km) and 7000 in half marathon category. We lined up at the start line few minutesbefore the race; I managed to be in front with some elite runners and other celibrity runners including Milind Soman and Gul Panag. The atmosphere charged up few minutes before the race, with loud music and commentary by Radio Mirchi. Finally the countdown began..5…4..3..2..1.. and the race begins at 0645hrs.
Managed to start at a comfortable and steady pace. The weather was pleasant in morning. I had decided to maintain a steady slow pace till Marine Drive and allow my body to warm up. Only after reaching Marine Drive I gathered pace. Found couple of runners who were running at a steady pace which suited me, kept them as pacers ahead and followed them till half way. Cheering by Mumbaikars was really worth seeing. There were rock band performing on the road, young-old everyone on road cheering us, helping us with water and lime juice.
I underestimated the gradient on the route. Though Marine Drive was flat, road from Kemp’s Corner towards Worli had a steep gradient and over long distance. This took toll of many runners including me. I dont remember, but I would have managed the 12.5 km mark (where we tookU turn) within a hour. However return journey was tiring, gradient didnt help at all. With just 5 kms remaining I was totally exhausted. Somehow managed to push myself a little ahead each time. The most difficult was the last kilometer. One could see the finish line so close, but had to fight mentally and physically to keep body moving. Finally I crossed the finish line. I looked at the digital clock, it read 0844. I had managed to finish the race in 119 minutes! Amazed at myself, down by fatigue I took some time to regain my breath for my return journey back home.
The whole experience had been absolutely exciting. Found many people who had been running for a cause similar to mine. This had been my first marathon experience, and definitely moments to remember. Now looking forward for next half marathon – may be Delhi Half Marathon in November. It would take somewhile before I take the next challenge ofFull Marathon.
In case you have already pledged support http://kaushal.info/2008/12/28/cause-for-the-run/ I would be contacting you soon. If you havent and want to contribute, contact me for details.