Monday, January 21, 2013

SCMM 2013

The splurge on 31 dec and the continued stress at work was not doing me any good. The key is to switch off work as you enter home was not working. Perhaps it was not just me. My entire team was facing this.

Easy to say.. Hard to practice. Running had often provided me with an avenue close to meditation, but something did not work this time. It showed up when I gave up Pune Marathon at 32KM-Leg pain! Then I timed 3:30+ on a Pune running event to prepare for SCMM. The leg pain came back.

Bottomline. I was not mentally or physically prepared for SCMM. I started tapering on the racecourse with 10 km runs at weekend. I stepped on the weight scales and noticed the battery had drained.

One of the things that worked: we now had a large team from our company that was participating in SCMM 2013. This was something I dreamed of, but it had seemed so hard to realize. The positive spirit/ companionship were back.

We collected the bibs on 19th from WTC. Lunch at nearby Kamat hotel. My bib read the number as 703 and category Veteran! I felt older than my age but I met more senior and better timers at the expo. I had joined the veteran group of super performing old (by age) runners. We travelled back to Hotel Manama and had a nice afternoon nap. Evening snacks at Suvidha (The famous Kamat place) and Lassi at Cannon.

We took some time loitering around CST to find a banana vendor for early morning snack.

Woke up at 2:45AM for the natures call. I dreaded the Hyderabad marathon post 32 km in case I did not find any loos when time was pressing. I ate two bananas, a cup of coffee and a slice of bread at Manama canteen. Tied the timing chip to my foot. There was a slight throb in the thumb and I tried to tape it. The feeling was not comfy as the thumb slipped on the smooth floor. I removed the plaster. We were set to go. Nitin negotiated with the Manama manager to buy in an extra hour. We were to vacate the hotel at 1PM.

We walked to Azad maidan at around 5AM. I could see lot of vibram 5 fingered runners; occasionally few barefoot runners as well. The tribe is increasing!

I was in group C. I joined the crowd to give way to the finer runners. 5:40 and the race started. I walked to the start point and then started off with a small jog. The group was slowing me down and I feared treading on my bare feet so I increased pace to needle my way to the front.

It was a cold morning. As cold as Mumbai can permit. I started looking for a cubicle to relieve the bladder. The night watch at Oberoi was pleading the runners to not use the sea side and there was a booth ahead. It was another 2 kms and I found a public place. The first time I joined a queue of men in front of a “Ladies toilet” and my bare feet entered the yucky place.

The run along the Churney road was easy and the small “dreaded” flyover was easy. I started to see half marathoners on the other side of the road. I ran along the sea link to meet two other bare foot runners. We had a common view. Barefoot always attracts attention and barefoot runners often do not feel heroic about it. It’s the runners with boots that astound us with their stifled and hot feet with added weight.

I crossed the 20km point at Bandra. Another cubicle and I rushed to empty my bladder again. I was overhydrated. The 25 km point was no big deal. But after this I had developed some pressure and it was not the bladder this time. No cubicles. Crowd cheers, “ You are doing well Mr Veteran.”

Cadbury bars appear..Almonds /raisins/ dates..Why do Mumbaikars spend so much for the marathon crowd. They are not watching. The crowd on the side is a part of the marathon.
I should do the same for my city?

A small girl chirps, “ Look that man does not even have slippers.”

“Cheer up Mr 703.” Mumbai crowd is very good at cheering! Point 28km. The pressure is now causing pain and I must find a loo. Ahh..There is one between 28 km and 29 km

Split@27 Km 02:53:45 at an Avg Speed of 9.32 Kmph

Mr 703 enters the loo . Barefoot adventure. The scene is not to be spoken abt for the readers benefit.

I come out and run to the 28 km line.

Split@28 Km 03:02:55 at an Avg Speed of 9.18 Kmph

I was still in positive mode as Neepa who headed the 5 hr bus is still long way from me. Sub 5 is the target! The route is known and I continued to run fine till the flyover near churney road.

Everyone around me is walking. I pulled out the energy gel pack and squeezed the coffee like fluid. It helps! I start off into a slow jog. As I descend the slope I look back. Neepa is right behind me. Oh no! I cannot do a negative split on slope as my ankles and knees rebel. I try to take it easy.

Neepa overtakes followed by sub 5 team. I start my run/walk/run.

The Navy band is playing at the Choupatty sea shore. The road is not so good and I have some pain due to the unevenness. The road is not hot and that is a blessing. I do feet stretches to relieve taut muscles. An helicopter roars and I start running again. I take the left to CST station. I am still on the walk/ jog schedule. A bit of lost hope at completing sub 5 as the truth sinks into me during last 3 kms retardation. I do not feel like to challenge my feet as I need their help when I get old. “No Injury” is the goal.

As I run towards the finish line someone in the crowd cheers “Run Parag”. It must be a mate from Pune running. I ran through the photographers into the maidan to pick up my goody bag and finish medal.

As I SMS my time to Sujit (its been a tradition, as he always finishes before). Then I join him in the shade. Sujit has made a great progress as he completed it in 4:25 his PB.

We see an old sardar, none other than Fauja singh. Young marathoners have their arms around him. To me he does not look 110 but around 80+.

The source of my inspiration is from the older mature runners beyond my age.

-Mr Veteran (703)