The excitement to participate and run in my second full marathon started almost two months back, when I realized I was not upto my training. The excitement soon turned to anxiety and with one month remaining for the marathon turned into a scary situation. The training runs were not completed on Sundays. Every Saturday at Nike Run Club, the speed workouts and the core strength workouts were not very fruitful. With just a month away from the big day, I decided to pull up the socks and ensure the runs were completed to the brink. The last long run was supposed to happen just 3 weeks prior to the big day. A week before the 32 km run it was a 28 km run. Everything went well till 22 km in that run, but then I hit the wall and dragged myself till around 24.5 km and then I just had to quit. I spoke about this to my Coach and he said not to worry and go ahead with the 32 km run the next week. I told him I just screwed up my 28 km run and he said not to worry and go ahead with the run. Not to worry about the timing and concentrate on finishing the run. As per his advice I was able to finish the run. The timing was very poor bi then that was the last thing on my mind.
The rest of the runs every Sunday went fine. I had purposely skipped the Run Powai run race as it was only a 10 k race and on that day I was scheduled to run 15 kms. which was part of my tapering plan for the big day. Slowly the race day came nearer and nearer and with that my anxiety and excitement for the big day increased too. I went to the exp a week prior to the race and collected my bib and the goodie bag for the marathon.
There I met and saw Milind Soman, India’s top shot Model and a runner himself. He would be running the full marathon completely barefoot a week later. He was at the expo to launch FlyKnit shoes from the Nike Stable. As the big day neared my eating habits and the sleep pattern changed too. I was sleeping a lot, eating more than I usually eat and running far less than I had run in the past few weeks. The night before the marathon was clouded in the usual excitement. i went to the temple as per my routine on Saturday evening. Ate pasta and had dinner at around 930 pm. Somehow my timex ironman GPS watch was not coordinating with me. I had to transfer all my previous runs on to the system and free up all the memory it had taken. Somehow it was not getting detected. Fortunately it worked fine and was able to transfer the runs. I tried to sleep but there was a song stuck in my mind. I had set the alarm for 3:30 AM the next day and wanted to sleep early so that I get good rest. But as expected I finally went to sleep only at 12:00 AM.
I woke up at the buzz of the alarm and did my morning things and was ready to leave the house at 4:15 am. I went to the station and reached the marathon start line well just before the start of the marathon. There were almost 3000 men and women running the full marathon and it took me about 5 minutes to reach the start line. When I crossed the start line, a huge wave of excitement went through my soul. I was very happy to start my second full marathon and was hoping for a good finish. The start was good. I made sure I picked up the water at every water station. The first couple of kms went by pretty quickly and i was going smoothly keeping a pace of 7 mins/km. At around 7 kms I met two runners who were from my locality and we started speaking with each other. We have always seen each other running during the practice runs, but never cared to speak. I guess it was out of laziness or just plain ignorance. After chatting for a while I asked them to move ahead as I was running a lesser pace than theirs. Soon after that I saw the half marathon coming from the opposite direction. The pace at which the first person was running was just stupendous. He was literally flying. This gave another wave of excitement. At this point I was going smoothly at a predefined pace of 7 mins/km. Soon the sun rose and and the skyline changed. Now all the full marathoners were facing the racers who were doing half marathons. I saw quite a few similar faces in the crowed. Waved to them, gave them good luck. By now I had completed 15 kms and as per the plan I had to take my first break. But I was feeling good and there was not much tiredness. I thought I would continue and see how far I can go without stopping. Earlier during many races I had stopped before I actually got tired which actually went against me later. So I pushed myself. Met few friends on the way. I had asked my wife to station herself at around 23 kms. I took my first stop when I saw her waiting for me with Gatorade and dates. That was the time when the elite runners went past me. The way they run is the most beautiful site a runner can experience. It is full of great pace, smooth strides, perfect stride length. Just watching them gives you a great shot of excitement. After taking the gatorade and the dates, i started my onwards journey to the finish line. Some how after that my pace broke and I was finding it difficult to continue at the same pace. Till my first break I was thinking of finishing the marathon in around 5 hrs, but then I started taking more walk breaks. Soon I got taken over by 5:00 hr bus at around 30th km. I tried to keep to their pace, bu they soon went ahead. I was unhappy that I wont be able to finish the marathon in 5 hrs. I was regularly drinking water and gatorade and also eating dates and whatever were offered by the bystanders. Soon the psychological mark of 32 km went. I was feeling slightly dehydrated and trying to push a little, when I felt a sudden small cramp in my calves. That’s a time I got scared and decided to hold back and recover from the cramp. I was taking more walk breaks and taking it slightly slow. Soon 35 kms went by and we came to the party. The party was of 6 kms dream runners who were having a good time with various display of the organisation they were representing. I saw a lot of people cheering up for the full marathoners and admiring them for attempting to finish the distance. This bought joy and pride to my heart. Soon saw the 40 km mark and felt very nice. At around 41 km mark came the two runners whom I had met at 7 km mark and really cheered for me to finish strong. I did manage to run with them for few hundred meters but then asked them to move ahead and finish strong. I finally finished the marathon in 5:27 hrs. My wife and friends were waiting at the finish line to welcome me and it was great moment of joy to see her. After the mandatory high fives and few pics of finish, I went and did some stretches. Also went to the medical room to use the ice pack on my calves and thighs. Went to collect the medal. It was a great moment for me. I had been practising for the marathon for almost 4 months. On the whole it felt very nice to wear the medal though I was disappointed with the timing which was much more than what I had expected.