16th Jan (or was it a day or two earlier?) was the day when my name was registered for the half marathon (Organised by Hiranandani Estates, Thane) by my husband which was to happen on 16th Feb 2014. He wanted some purpose to our routine monotonous life. My panic mode was set on. The overworked mind came up with numerous reasons on how we cannot complete the run in the stipulated time. I was not ready. Forget physically, mental preparation was a block. 21.097km in 3hrs 30mins i.e. 210mins, which meant an average pace of less than 10mins per km was something that I was not able to make up my mind on.
I spent the entire next day searching internet on the possibilities of training for the half marathon in 30days and I went bonkers when all the searches resulted in stating that one needs approximately 14weeks to train for the run. How much did we have? 4 weeks. The impossible had to be made possible. And the training had to be started right away.
So it began. We started our practice. The first week was way tough than I had ever imagined. The obstacles on hand had to be tackled; the sleep, the waking up, the muscle stiffness and above all the building of the will power. If it wasn’t for my hubby I would have given up in the first week itself. But I continued and to my greatest surprise my body was getting aligned to the goal. My stamina started showing improvement and my will power started gradually building. With each passing day when the final run day was coming near, I was taking leaps towards attaining the goal. What I was capable of was amazing and beyond belief.
My day would start at about 5 – 5.30 am with a minimum of 5-7km walk + run. Gradually the walking reduced and the steady run increased. I would return home happy with a sense of that little achievement each day. The day did not end there. I had work to attend to and the cooking in the evening and the occasional skipping and squats routine too. When you have a purpose, that little misery is easily forgotten.
By the end of first week we completed a 10km walk + run and entered the second week with a bang. The routine was set and being followed. The additional benefit of this workout routine was that I had started loosing the extra inches of my waist and tummy. What a win it was. Indeed enthralling. This week was yet again passing by witnessing the progress.
When things were going great, my dear husband announced that we should do a 21km run through on Sunday, 2nd Feb 2014. Ha. This was a blow to my happy routine. I tried persuading him against it stating how wrong the idea is just less than 2 weeks before the final day and that the body will need a recovering time and all that. All my reasons failed to make any impact and that Sunday we did run the 21km in 3hrs and 7mins time. Staggering, isn’t it? Well it was for me at least. The whole run thing was worth it, since now we were sure that come what may we could complete the run in 3hrs 30mins.
The next week was very slow and lazy. We were still recovering from that 21km run. And in no time we were just 6 days apart from the final day. We decided to take that week slowly as we wanted all our energy to be restored for the ultimate run.
Saturday evening was spent is preparing the gear and wear for the next day. We did shop for some funky arm bands for our mobiles and a bottle + belt for the energy drink and the running shorts and tee shirts. We were all set and ready to seize the day.
I was nervous and excited and pumped up and all that lethal heady combination of the adrenaline rush. It was Sunday the 16th. All that month’s practice was to be put into action. My nervousness had spiked with like thousand butterflies going nuts in my stomach.
We reached the venue which was all festive. We geared up and pinned the BIBs on our tees and were about to proceed towards the start line when at a distance we heard the fire crackers go off. It was the sign that the run had begun and we were not yet at the start line. Something took over me and I dragged my hubby towards the start line, running like crazy. Yes he sure was super annoyed with me. Finally we began the run at 6.08am well 8mins late. Hell yea, there was nothing to stop us, stop me.
The weather Gods had decided to test the tolerance of each runner by dropping the temperature too low than it was during the entire Bombay (India) winters. It was foggy and it was cold. But our spirits were too high to have been deterred.
The route was taxing with all its highs and lows. It was such a happy sight to see people come and cheer us up and the fellow runners enjoying too. The water, the energy drinks and oranges were given enroute. Some residents from nearby building were distributing energy bars to the runners and cheering us up loud. There were runners with their own personal cause and there were runners with the common cause of reviving the spirit of our national game Hockey.
The excitement bar was raised to the sky when at 6km mark we saw a runner on the opposite side crossing the 15km mark. Yes he was the winner, completing the half marathon in 1hr 15mins time. Crazy. My little dampened spirits were revived at that sight and there began the run towards the final goal with a newly acquired focus.
The time passed by and so did the kilometers until I finally saw the last km to finish sign board. I realized it then that I had totally forgotten what my feet felt like and what my knees felt like and what my any other body part felt like. All I could see was the finish line at the distance.
My body may had been on the verge of giving up but my spirit held it by the arm and dragged it to the point where the finish line was about 200mtrs apart. There came my husband’s voice asking me to sprint and yes I did sprint mighty fine those last meters clocking my final time at 2hrs 44mins 57secs.
Huh! That’s it. All the effort, the practice, the pain, the focus was worth it.
(That’s how my timing certificate looks like. 🙂 )