Day 29/ 365 – Preparation for Mumbai Marathon Begins

Finally got my confirmation to participate in the Mumbai Marathon 2014. With less than 60 days left for the race, it is about time I start practicing for it. I ran the Vasai Virar half marathon last month and was seriously not prepared and it showed in my race performance wherein I finished in 3 hours and 17 minutes. In the last edition of Mumbai Marathon, I finished in 3 hours and 1 minute (here I was also trying to help a friend run his first marathon). However, in this edition I intend to finish the race in less than 2 hours 30 minutes. And with this goal in mind, I seriously need to start training and running. Also, we now need to finish the race within certain time limits to participate in the next year’s event and hence I really have no other option but to prepare seriously. Every year I start preparing for the marathon and then half way give up or in some instances, just don’t prepare and run and it really used to show up on my race day performance. So this year I am not going to procrastinate and ensure I practice. The good part is I have lost quite a bit of weight since I have joined my new workplace, as I have been working nights and have reduced my food in take. However, not sure how much of that is really going to help me prepare for the race. The 8 week training plan begins from today!!!


Day 12/ 365 – Vasai Virar Marathon

This year I have registered for Vasai Virar Marathon, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, 27/10. I have never participated in this marathon, though I have been running the Mumbai Marathon since last 5 years. I remember running my first half marathon when me, and my best friends spent an entire night talking and then took an early morning train from Kharghar to CST to participate. I participated through a NGO then. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but at the same time was very enthusiastic for running in the event.  The encouragement that people provided while running has been really great. Since then, every year I have been running Mumbai Marathon and get very excited to run. However, this time it is different. While I have gone ahead and collected the bib for the event, I am not sure if I am going to participate in the event. For this race, I haven’t been able to practice at all, due to change in the sleep cycle, and thus not very sure that I should be running for such a long distance.  I tried running in the National Park over the last 2 weekends, but was not able to run more than 6 kms. So I am guessing, running a half marathon is going to be a huge struggle. Still in two minds about the race. Will probably decide if I am going or no.


Mumbai Marathon

Warning Long Post

As you know from the previous post, I was running late for the Marathon. The train finally arrived at the CST station at 6:40am, just 4 minutes before the event starts. We got across the street and started to look for the holding area at Azad Maidan. To our surprise, we had to go all the way towards Metro station and then enter the grounds from Gate 3. By the time we got there, it was already 6:50am. I put on my number “5200”, gave my bag to Sid, who was of the opinion that we should carry our bags and run. Finally better sense prevailed and they decided to keep the bags at the counter. After giving them the bags, I decided to start running. As soon as I got near the start line, there were plenty of people still ahead of me, behind me, music playing loudly and a lot of people cheering us runners. Before I get going, I want to let you know that I have not practiced running since the time I have left Kolkata which is 6 months back. So anyways, I started running from CST at around 7:05am. Initially I was very much ok..reached Flora Fountain in like 2-3 mins, then the Pizzeria and then Trident, took a U turn from there and kept running until I got to Chowpatty. I decided to stop running and then walk for a few minutes since I felt I was getting tired. The lack of practice had started to show up. After walking for a few minutes, I ran until Kemps Corner flyover and then walked up the flyover.. started to run, going downhill. The footpaths were full of people cheering us on.. clapping for us. It really felt good. All these people taking time out of their normal Sunday morning, coming down and cheering common people like me running/ walking for a cause. I kept running until I reached Heera Panna, assuming that I will be going back very soon. I soon went past by Race Course and reached 10km mark. It was there that I realized I was cramping up big time. So I started stretching my legs and walked until flyover at the Atria Mall, turned around and started running. After 12km mark, every step that I was taking was actually amplifying my pain. With my legs cramped, I wanted to give up. I don’t know what kept me going. May be cheering of my friends, with whom I was in constant touch with, may it was my cousin who asked me not to give up or maybe it was me.. I dont know. On reaching the race course on my way back I started running and ran until I reach Pedder Road flyover. There again there were people who gave us Parle G biscuits and water. I had a couple of biscuits and got a few pats on my back and encouragement to keep running. I walked up the flyover and started to run on reaching the midway part and kept running until I hit Wilson College at Chowpatty. I think there I had breached the 16km mark. It was then that I realized that my body cannot take it anymore. I was very badly cramped up. I did a few stretches again and settled down at a chair where I was given an icepack. I kept the icepack on my legs for a couple of mins and started to walk again. The next 2.5kms were a mixture of walk, brisk walk and run in total agony. On reaching the 19km mark, I started to run again. A lot of people were telling, that it is just 2 more kms, you can do it. Finally on reaching the 20 km mark, I slowed down, kept running and finished at 10:15am. A total time of 3hrs 10 mins. I know it is not great.. but I am really proud of this feat.

I finally realized how much stress I had put my body under when I was standing to collect the certificate of participation. I could barely stand. I took my certificate and looked at it with a certain amount of pride and satisfaction. I know what I had endured to get that, the amount of pain I went through (still going through), the way I pushed myself to my limits.. so considering all this.. I was really happy.

On a side note, I don’t want this to sound like sour grapes.. I read a lot of news reports about the Marathon and almost all of them carried news about celebrities. I feel the Marathon should not about the celebrities who just come out to support or do whatever they are there to do. It should be about common people. While I was running, there was this 65+ yr old lady who was carrying the Indian flag and ran all the way through the half marathon. There was this girl, was extremely tired and exhausted, but kept going. This old uncle, who was way in his 70’s running the senior marathon. These are the stories which people need to be told, instead of flashing celebrities to sell the paper.

Azad Maiden at the end of the Marathon looked like a ‘Kachra Maiden’. There were so many orange peels, banana peels etc on the ground..people just throwing them anywhere instead of the garbage cans, which I didn’t see much of.

All in all it was an awesome event. I really enjoyed running the race and look forward to running it next year again.