Wednesday, January 14, 2009

An Experience!!!

The night was cold and the wind chilly. But the atmosphere was electrifying. There were hordes of people each having their own reason to be there. Usually when people turn up in such large numbers there is added confusion and suffocation but not that night. It was quite orderly and pleasant. People were indeed in high spirits (Nope!! not due to Alcohol..:)). 

I was at the TOImidnight marathon this weekend and what an enriching experience it was!! Finished the half marathon (21.1Kms), achieving the feat in 2 hours 20 min...The feeling was really awesome…What was even better was the circumstance under which I was able to achieve it!! Running in midnight is a different experience altogether...Developed knee cap problems mid way but still managed a decent time…It took a lot of determination and a lot of support from my friends (friends I made while running), co-runners and also an aunty (more on her later in the post)!!

I went alone as none of my friends wanted to run a half marathon. It was an hours drive to Whitefield (the venue of the event)…The place was already swarming with people, most running the “city run”…Was very surprised to see so many people away from their cozy beds…People from all walks of life and from all age groups had come…All wanting to be part of this midnight event…

I could see the road ahead. It was fully lit and I could see lights as far as my eyesight could reach. It was inviting everyone to just start and I just couldn’t wait. 

The clock struck 12 midnight and there I was living one of my dreams…

I wanted to avoid the elbowing and pushing that usually happens at the beginning and hence I ran right at the start of the marathon. Not a very good idea!! But who cares? I ran like a maniac and there were hardly anyone in front of me…Then I started slowing down…Though many overtook me later, the plan worked…:)

The target was to do a sub 2 hour marathon but as it turned out I took 20 extra minutes…

I had hardly prepared for this event except for couple of previous runs…I knew I could make it, but the lack of training showed. It turned out to be more challenging than I had imagined…Though in terms of experience it exceeded my expectations hands down…

The run was supposed to be two laps (11 km each) and almost at the end of the first lap I felt severe pain in my knee cap. This was something that I had faced for almost a month and I suspected it to trouble me during the run. The pain was severe and thoughts of giving up started to germinate…I started to walk back towards the start/finish line where we were supposed to take a U turn for our second lap. Just when I was about to reach the start/finish line I heard a huge roar from the spectators and I turned around to see who they were cheering for, but I saw no one…I thought they were cheering some winner (Relay, half and full marathons were happening almost at the same time)…To my pleasant surprise I realized the LOUD cheer was for ME..I couldn’t believe it..It was as if I had won a medal at the Olympics. All thoughts of giving up vaporized. I completed the U turn and continued…I had taken 58 min to complete the first lap…

The second half was too much to bear…The pain was excruciating…But everytime I stopped I would get a tap/pat on my back by fellow runners nudging me to carry on… The best support came from my first lap co-runners..They saw that I was struggling with my knees and they would encourage me as if their run also depended on me finishing. I made quite a few friends that night and we were really supporting each other as if we knew one another for years!! The feeling was something out of this world..

The second lap went pretty slow...Had a lot of water in between (There were stalls with volunteers every 200 mts with water and glucose. They not only give you water but also encouraging words)…I made up mind to finish this no matter what. Every second I imagined myself completing the marathon and feeling great about it…It made sure I carried on in spite of the pain…It was during the second lap that I really observed this stout lady sitting on the compound of her house with a  shawl and shouting at the top of her voice..She was there all through the night shouting encouraging words for every single runner that passed her home…I was literally crawling when I reached her place, as if about to pass out. Seeing this, she got down from her compound braving the cold and the security, reached me and told me “Son, there is only 3 kms left. You can do it!!”. All I could do was stare at her and smile..I was totally taken back by her reaction and I started jogging again…The second lap took me 1 hr 20 min…

I finally completed the run in over 2 hr 20 min and was received at the finish line with a loud cheer. The timing stewards noted the time and I sat for the first time relishing the moment…

I sat with a bottle in my hand and watched others finish the run…The atmosphere was so contagious that I too joined the cheering sessions…I couldn’t stand and the Manipal hospital authorities applied some pain reliever spray to assuage the pain…It was really cold and I could see mist coming out of my mouth every time I breathed out… I was pretty much shivering…I never realized Bangalore could get so cold…I finally got up at 3.00 AM and bought a hot cup of tea for 3 bucks and a biscuit packet for 5 bucks.. Entrepreneurs in India!! That guy realized there was a demand and suddenly a make shift shop had cropped up with coffee, tea and biscuits!! Anyway I was quite relieved to have something to eat…People were still running but I slowly started my walk back to the parking lot..Took me about 40 min to reach the car…The car was fully drenched with moisture…The drive was pretty smooth and was back home by 5.00 AM…

Now when I think of it, it makes me wonder…What a marathon it was!!! It was a run to remember!!! It showed me what sportsmanship was all about, made me realize with great determination you could achieve anything against all odds, the importance of making and having friends, the thrust to experience new things without which you will always see the world the way you have always been seeing…Something else that I was surprised to see was the number of middle aged people running half marathons…That showed that you don't need to be fit and thin to run. As long as the intent is there and you have the passion for what you are doing then, you will be what you want to be and achieve what you want to achieve!!!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year! May all your wishes come true!!!

A new year beckons,

Welcoming with new resolutions,

Zestfully chasing our ambitions,

Hope and vigor, aiding to meet the aspirations.

I see ‘one’ on the other side,

So beautiful that ‘it’ makes me pine,

A river separating us, vast and furious,

Crossing it always arduous.

‘It’ gives me an inviting smile,

Making the world around shine,

Drawing me to build a trestle,

Making me resolve, to complete it in a hustle.

Hope this year may be ‘the’ year,

Accomplishing our goals without any fear,

Njoying life with our near and dear,

Making it a year worth to remember.

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous new year…May 2009 be a stupendous year bringing in happiness and success…Njoy!!!