It was quiet a quest to keep myself away from long distance running. I used to keep myself telling that “no man, you don’t need to run so far distances like 21 or 42 kms to prove your fitness.” I used to think I am fine with this Taekwondo, it makes me feel good and I am kicking around the trees but without goal…I needed some goal so that I can train specific and put all my training to use to achieve that goal. Hence started training for Full Marathon, in May…not a very perfect time to start training for marathon in Hyderabad.
I thought of changing my training to run a full marathon…what a good decision it was, to start training for full marathon…42 kms…the king of long distance running…and I learnt very good lessons about life and running. So, I started training for full marathon from the month of May…hoping that I will run my first full in September but along came the announcement of Hyderabad Marathon, being organized by own people – Hyderabad Runners. I got registered for it thinking that I will take it as a practice run. No matter what I will run the full in my city with the support of my own people. Along with running the marathon, also took small responsibility of taking care of pace groups for the half and full marathon.
Over the next three months, I was able to increase my mileage and increase the number of kilometer per week. In the world of distance running, they say….its all about mileage. A professional marathoner runner runs somewhere around 100-120 miles per week. I started from 60 kms per week and was able to increase it around 70 kms in few of the weeks. The major problem for the training was my liking for Taekwondo and also for cross-training. So never really trained like a pro-does. But anyway no more excuses, I tried to train my best, with all the responsibilities and juggling around my work. Nobody pays me to keep running and doing all this madness, I wish I could get paid to do all this.
So, in came the week when I am going to run my marathon. First scary moment, pain in the right heel on the Tuesday evening, send me the warning signals of keeping myself safe until marathon. So I kept myself away from running for the rest of the week, hoping that I will be able to run better on 28th of August. The day before the run I started carbo loading and all that stuff to make sure that I will have enough energy to run through 42 kms. Till about 9 pm in the night I was roaming around to get the pace setters group work done. Actually, it was a busier day than the usual week days.
Anyways, then came the morning of the run, it was perfect weather, no rains but very cool breeze for my first full marathon. It was great to have My wife, Mukul at the starting point. Then came the flag-off and I started my first quest to conquer this long time dream of running 42 kms. Honestly speaking, I thought of taking it as my training run and hope to finish somewhere around in 3 to 3.15 hours. I was pretty confident to making the 42 kms in that time…but 42 kms is a kind of distance, which will destroy all your myths and assumptions. The distance of 42 kms will tell you…boss…I am the king…and you need to do something special to run over me in quick time.
But then came the two flyovers and the 3 kms uphill run from Punjagutta to KBR park. I was running at decent pace, till 25 kms…but then came the Gachibowli flyover, which took kind of my energy off. Then the ISB hill…and hill after hills keep coming on this dreaded route…crafted by own people from Hyderabad Runners. Around 32 kms, I was still running at decent pace…trying to hold by my pace and dream together of finishing fast. But man…this 42 kms is a killer of a distance and on a terrain like Hyderabad marathon route, it become doubly difficult. I kept running confidently into the HCU campus, but man….they had planned another crazy thing inside the HCU campus. All those twists and turns really took my patience off and after running so long one kind of looses his ability to think. The only thing I kept thinking was to finish and only hope I had that when I will get on that highway…..I knew finish line is not very far off from highway…..! the route inside HCU really fried my brains off..!
Then came the highway and the 40 kms mark….good sign…i would say God Sign…so I kept running…steady. On the way, I was able to get past some of the professional runners….some of them walking and I was shouting at them….chalo…chalo….lets keep running. It was also very nice to see some of the policemen encouraging the runners. Then came the stadium and the last few meters…inside on to the track. Thanks…to Ram and Sunita for accompanying me for the last few meters….it will go down the memory lane for the rest of my life…!
It was amazing…to finish in the presence of my wife, parents and my 6 month old baby boy…! The most precious moment of my life…indeed came through running. All the friends and well-wishers from Hyderabad Runners have made it possible..thanks to all of them for motivating me to run a full marathon.Special thanks to Rajesh, Satish, Gupta, Vinay, Ram, Ravi, Sunita and everyone from Hyderabad Runners to motivate on the way to first full. Special thanks to everyone at home to support me in all this madness.
It was tough…but I was tougher….hence I conquered it….it gave me the one of the best lesson of life that 21 + 21 is not equal to 42 kms….! Believe me it is not equal in the world of distance running…! Your body and mind behaves differently at these long distance…! Full marathon is the truest test of one’s mental and physical abilities…it when your un yourself in the unknown and unsafe zone…you will understand more about yourself. I will train better to beat myself next time. This is what is amazing about the distance running, you get to beat yourself and that is what matters…there are many more miles to be run and many more kicks to be thrown…and I will keep running to conquer myself.
Lesson learnt….21+21 not equal to 42…this blog is all about this magical distance of 42 kms and endurance running.
“It does not matter how slow you go so long as you do not stop” – Confucius