Monday, December 6, 2010

The Superman and the Half marathon

The 5AM alarm woke me up. The beer did not have so much of an effect. I hoped it would help me with the run on 5th Dec. 25 years of Pune International Marathon. I remembered my Vow to finish 21 km of run.

Nitin picked me up at 6.45AM and we left the car parked at Dorabjee’s. He was committed to do his 10 km run, despite being on Antibiotics for a week. We met the other PTCites at Peter England showroom and went for a photography session. Then we walked to the Sambhaji bridge. The crowd was not the same as last marathon, I guess it had something to do with the high fees.

I registered for half marathon. There was some announcement going on and everyone was eager to make a start. The presenters were making a late start with the traditional Indian mumbo jumbo. The participants were on the verge of outrage.

The half marathon was flagged off at around 8.50AM. As I passed the Laxmi road, I saw couple of participants disappear into a public loo for a long awaited leak. I joined in as well, wondering the fate of female participants.

The first km I felt my limbs rebel from lethargy, to the sudden pace I subjected them to.

They felt heavy and cramped. I wondered about their fate after 10 kms, but kept going. At 3 kms the body was warmed up and the heaviness disappeared. Good motivation was ahead of me, as females raced by, along with veterans. I decided to maintain my pace unruffled by the overtaking crowd.

At timber market junction I grasped a bottle from the cheering crowd and emptied it over my head. Wow! This felt real good! The slow climb after the 5km stretch started and I felt pretty good. I was maintaining my pace at the Rhythm of my snapping fingers. Soon I was on the Main street. School children held their arms stretched to cheer and I waved back. Almost as if they lent me power to continue.

I felt myself reeling into a transcendental state, separating myself above the crowd. Man and superman. Thoughts come and go. I am different. So are few select. I am doing well as I deserve to. There are better candidates of course. I should look at them and not look back. Few are dropping of into a walk. I should not think of them. It is easy to give-up..Nearing 10 kms... The Koregaon park bend.

It is so easy to run.. why should it take so much more time in my car.. 10 kms done. This is just half of it and I can surely do more. I curse my decision to tie the shoe laces tight. I got painful blisters on both feet and they are giving me a bad pain. I look around for waterspots but there are none. I arrive at the bridge. Is Sujit around? I remember his accident. I pass by my office take the left turn and continue on the Kalyaninagar road. Yes. A water spot. Another empty bottle to dissipate the heat. Feels fine. Is the “Wall” another myth? That does not apply to a superman? A “gori” races ahead of me. Another “Motivation”. As I cross the Nagar road, I see Sujit waiting with his camera. Feel so good to see him, so bad that he cannot run this time.

I hit the Jail road, at around 16 kms a strange thing happens. I have never encountered anything like this before. Strange feeling of dizziness. The world spins around slowly as if I downed 5-6 pegs of hard liquor in single go. Body shivers as if I have a fever. There is a strange sensation as if someone has hard gripped my wrists. I slow down my pace to a fast walk. Fill my lungs with air. Feels better and the feeling passes. The body rebels and the superman vanishes from my thoughts.

The painful blisters remind me that all is not well. The sun is scorching and I start feeling all the agony I subjected my body to. I am comparing this with my Himalayan expeditions and I tell myself, there is no load on my back. I start into a slow run. I have passed the “Wall”.

I reach the Finis point and I see an older dude. We nod to each other. First among equals?
I consider my ill training and the only 2, 8 km runs with Zero physical activity for several months.

The Superman in me returns.