I wanted to do long distance running and decided to start with a half marathon as a natural graduation after completing my 10K in 1 hour and 3 minutes in this sunfeast 2010.
Me and running partner (MJ) chose the KTM. At this time, I had no clue how far is running 21km (i know it is 21km far.. but to know how far is running 21km , one needs to run 21km.. nothing less and nothing more!!) . But we were determined (MJV more than I was)
I was also not aware that this was a trail run and the exact venue where it was happening.
Just two days before the day of the run (sept19, 2010), when I was taking a look at the map, did i realise that the venue is Pakshimavahni, near Ranganthittu, Srirangapatna. I was there on Dec 6, 2009 taking the ashes of my sister....
I firmly do believe and continue to believe... she is with me always.. whatever I do... and I start my serious running there at the same place.. My first ever Half marathon.
The place is an absolute nature trail. Lush green fields, farmlands, nice little stream of river cauvery running by, cattles and farmers up early in the morning beginning to till the land..
The place honestly is a source of energy and reminded me of prosperity.
With very less hungama, the race HM, started 1 minute before the scheduled start. and i came to know, this time, KTM had the timing technologies to help time the run and hence there was no fuss about the sudden urge to rush to the start to not lose time. i do not know wat differnece it makes for a not so serious runner with a 1 minute extra time in the personal record....hmmm..
I intentionally delayed my start by a minute or two.. i had not run more than 14 kms in my practice runs earlier and was very sure, completing the run successfully was my only MOTTO and I was least bothered about the timings. I was not wanting to be blocking the way for the others.
And then as I crossed the line, it really felt good... after many weeks of training, some months of anxiety building up, I was finally there and doing what I had planned to do. it was happening. the Half marathon. wow!
I was only reminding myself that i should not get carried away by fellow runners and increase my pace, because with an increased pace, I was not trained to sustain for over 7-8 kms...
I was doing 7.5 mins per KM and felt good to cross the 2k mark in just under 15 minutes. I did not stop in the aid station as I did not intend to break the rhythm although i was reminded by my fellow runners to keep myself hydrated enough, as the canal by the side, creates a micro climate with high humidity in the trail. I was comfortable to cross the 4k mark and then the 5K mark too. Wow! felt good. Usually I feel trapped at about the 20 minutes mark (around 2.5 - 3k). The climate was very pleasant... at 7 a.m it was slightly nippy and chill.
And then I happened to cling on to my fellow runner .. Mr. Suresh. We had a very nice conversation going till about 8.5kms. I had planned for a break after 8kms and then 15kms just to stretch a bit and to not hit the wall.. and so i slowed down and let Mr. Suresh run by.
I continued to run after eating a couple of small elakki bananas and I was keeping myself hydrated by taking two cups of water in the aid station after the 8k mark. It worked well.
there was a little ascent after the 9k mark bending towards the last lap of the our one way route to 10.5 ... the practice runs in the campus did come handy then (or leggy, should i say;).
I was able to negotiate the uphill with almost no problem and then .. wow... i was there at half of the half marathon.
Till this place I had no problems at all running... no niggles, no pains, no breathlesness... and I was so glad. I just stopped for a minute to take time out to see the beauty of the place.. I felt energised by the sight. and then i started off again... The first half was quite pleasant and i had completed it in 1 hour and 10 minutes.
On my way back, I saw several other runners on the opposite direction and felt very enthusiastic to signal to them that they were running good and to keep myself motivated by talking and waving and keeping my own mind distracted and also stay pepped up. And It did help.
I realised the effect of a running partner who could run comfortably with you and strike a unintense but still an engaging conversation. It was Mr. Rajagopal - the fellow runner who, after seeing the SAP ROADIES, in my t-shirt, asked if I was from SAP.
It turned out that he was also from SAP and then we started our conversation. It was a good 30 minutes of chatting.. from about the 7km mark till well almost near the 1km to the finish line. He was doing a Full marathon. and I was really amused to be accompanying him because he confessed he has not done one before and it was his first FM. we exchanged our opinions about why long distance running has not taken off to be a big sport and my reasons were that In India, we do play together and implicitly team games are encouraged. And cricket wins hands down!
And that we are more social and so we do play team sports and an event like running does not occur to us a sport!!.
I started to feel hungry with 5K left... and so I hogged on some peanut butter sandwich pieces, some more bananas and then lot of water plus tried lucazode for first time...
At this point, my right knee was giving some cranky signals.. i felt my knee cap was about to be thrown out of the ball-socket knee joint.. wierd feeling crept... i continured running, talking and jus bent down to touch and feel if the cap on the knee was still there... really wierd feel.. it was intact... Mr. Raj stopped at the next aid station, he was having some complications in his knee as well. I suggested he stop for a minute and stretch and maybe take some water and bananas... then i was investigating my ball-socket joint.. there was nothing wrong with it, after all... Illusion!
It was then good to see Amol on the other side doing his loop for the FM. And then SAtish (ottakran) and Pappu (the officail cameraman for the ROADIES this event) standing to cheer us up. and satish told me that it was the last 1k left and i bid a bye to Mr. Raj and tried to do wat professionals do... pace up the last 1k. And to myu surprise.... i was able to up my pace... reasonable well and in the last few 100 mts.. i took to taking long strides and felt as though I was gliding by... and as i was approaching the finish line.. the sound of the RFL mate.. "here we have Raghav completing his half marathon taking the long strides" still echoing in my mind and zoom... i went past the finish line....
what a feel.... ohhha! I was greeted by a boy handing me the medal.. FINSIHER KTM 2010.
and of course MJV with sweat dripping was there to give a big Hi-fi... i was proud and happy to see him there.. for all the hardwork perseverance and determination to run.. and to run Faster.
We took some customary fotos next to the podium.. and as i was walking back to the hotel.. we had some very tasty tender coconuts...
The RFL guys had a organised this event very well. Fully stocked up aid stations, nice choice of venue... and the food was good too.
And I wish to thank all my fellow roadies....mainly Amol, Sathish for their constant support and motivation to keep me running....
And this would not have been possible without MJV!!!. Thank you mate....
and walking back to the lodge.....there i passed by the pakshmivahini.. telling to myself.. i did it because of u.. and i will conitnue to do it for you .. Akka...